Oftentimes the first question that comes to mind when someone is interested in purchasing a heating or air conditioning system is how much does a heat pump or air conditioner cost? While there are many factors that can cause the price to go up and down, today we will be breaking them down and giving you a good idea of what you can expect to spend on a new heating or air conditioning system.
The purchase of a heating or air conditioning system is much like buying a car. There is the base model which you can get add ons for that will increase the price. Or you can purchase the luxury model that has all the options already available. Also much like buying a car if you have had a heating system before (a trade in) and it’s a simple swap out for something new, that can bring the price down.
A few other factors that can affect the price of a heating and/ or air conditioning system are the size of the home, age, what type (if any) heating or air conditioning system you previously had, and what unit you choose to install.
And just like with buying a car, the decisions we make will stick with us for years to come. With this we want to make sure we are making informed and appropriate decisions based on what we need and want.
Unfortunately people oftentimes just look for the cheapest option when it comes to the type of system they choose as well as the company they choose to have install it. In the 19 years we have been in business we have seen time and time again people choose the cheapest company or the cheapest unit with no regard for why they are cheaper, or what they actually need.
With that said, just because a system is one of the cheaper options does not necessarily mean it is the wrong choice for what you need, and that is why we are here.
With this in mind we will now take a look at those factors (square footage, home age, previous system, and unit choice) that will help to give you an idea of how much you will spend for a heating and/ or air conditioning system.
How Home Size (square footage) Affects the Cost of A Heat Pump or Air Conditioner?
It may seem a little intuitive to some, but the size of one’s home can actually play a major role in determining how much you can look to spend on a heating or air conditioning system. Not only will one need a bigger unit to heat/ cool the entire home, but they will also need more materials to run that air throughout the home. On top of that you will also need more vents, thermostats (temperature control devices that sit on the wall) , and it will take longer to install.
When moving up in size of the unit being installed the price can rise quickly. The difference in price just for the heat pump and/ or air conditioner for a 1,400 sq. foot home and the price of a unit for a 2,400 sq. foot home is anywhere from a $9,000-$12,000 for the 1,400 sq. foot home, up to $14,000-$20,000 2,400 sq. foot home.
On top of needing a larger unit for a bigger home, we will also need to make sure that the air being produced is properly distributed throughout the home, this is done through what is called “duct work”, variably sized tubes that are typically ran underneath the home or through the attic so that the air can be directed to the different rooms within the home.
As one can guess the bigger the home the more duct work that has to be ran throughout, for a 1,400 sq. foot home the duct work will typically cost about $2,400-$3,000 and for a 2,400 sq. foot home one can expect to pay about $4,200-$4,800 just for the duct work.
As previously stated with a larger home one will also need more vents and thermostats throughout in order to control the air temperature as well as let the air go where it is intended to go. A vent is simply the little rectangular fitting on the floor that lets the air fill the room it is in, these connect to the duct work so that air can flow freely from the heating and/ or air conditioning system. A vent typically costs about $300 per. and for a 1,400 sq. foot home you will need about 8-10 vents, where as with a 2,400 sq. foot home one will need about 14-16 vents throughout the home so obviously the more vents you need the higher the price will be.
Thermostats are the temperature control devices that typically hang on a wall, these can cost anywhere from $250 per for the cheaper options up to $1,200 for the high end option. You will only need 1 thermostat for a 1,400 sq. foot home and 1-2 for a 2,400 sq. foot home.
One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of installing a heating and/ or air conditioning system is the cost of labor. Now this can vary quite a bit from company to company based on how much they usually charge, but one can usually expect to pay anywhere from $100-$150 per hour for labor.
It usually takes about 16-40 hours to install a heating and/ or air conditioning system in a 1,400 sq. foot home, and about 16-60 hours to install a heating and/ or air conditioning system in a 2,400 sq. foot home.
As previously stated how the size of the home can affect the price of a heating or air conditioning system installation may seem intuitive to some, it can be quite complicated so hopefully this gives one a better understanding of how and why price can vary so much depending on the size of your home.
What Home Age Has to Do With the Cost Of Your Heat Pump or Air Conditioner.
Another one of the biggest factors that can affect the price of a heating or air conditioning system is the age of the home. Now this may seem a little odd, one may be thinking “what does the age of my home have anything to do with how much a heater will cost me?” but that is the exact reason why we are here today to address your questions!
The age of one’s home can have a major impact on the price because in older homes there is not as much insulation within, as well as older windows and a lower overall construction quality which in turn causes lots of heat and/ or AC to be lost. For instance, a 1,400 sq. foot new home will need a smaller unit, then the same 1,400 sq. foot house that is 50 years old.
As one can see it is important to take the age of your home into consideration when a new heating and/ or air conditioning system is being installed to make sure that the home will be adequately heated and/ or cooled.
What Role Does Having a Previous Heating or Air Conditioning System Play in the Cost?
In most cases when installing a new heating and/ or air conditioning system the old system has to be removed before the new one can be installed. But not everything needs to be gotten rid of.
Remember that “ductwork” we talked about earlier and how it moves the air throughout the home, well in most cases if one previously had a heat pump, electric furnace, or gas furnace, then the duct work is already present within the home.
If this is the case all one needs to do is hook up the new system to the ductwork that is already present and we can entirely eliminate that cost! While you can elect to get entirely new ductwork most people just use what is already there with no issues at all! Along with that if one previously had a ducted system in their home they will also have vents throughout the home, cutting down on the cost even more!
While not every home will have had a ducted system in their home previously whenever that is the case it is always nice to save a little money on a new install.
Unit Choice and How it Can Affect Pricing.
Besides the size of the home, unit choice is far and away the biggest factor that will affect price. With so many different choices out there it can be confusing and hard to figure out what unit will work best for your home.
With that it is always a good idea to talk to a professional and have them advise you on what will work best for your home.
Most companies will provide you with 3 options starting with a base model, a value model, and a luxury model. See graph below for approximate pricing.
(Prices based on single unit swap outs w/ existing duct work)
So How Much Does a Heat Pump or Air Conditioner Cost?
In the end what may start off as a simple question “How much does a heat pump or air conditioner cost?” ends up with a very complex answer. And that isn’t a bad thing.
In order to fully understand how much a new heat pump or air conditioning system will cost, one must fully understand the factors that play a role in determining said price. As we have discussed, four biggest factors that affect the price of a heat pump or air conditioning are square footage, home age, previous system (if any), and unit choice.
Like we said it is very important to pick the right unit, over the 19 years we have been in business we have seen countless people choose the cheapest option only because it is cheaper and end up with a unit that does not fit their needs.
With that being said, the best thing you can do to find the right unit for you and what you need, and figure out how much it will cost to install is call a local HVAC company and talk to their team about what options may work for you!