Air conditioners and furnaces are central components to any home. If you’ve experienced a sweltering summer or a chilly winter, you understand how important it is to keep your home comfortable.
Replacing your central air system may be part of home ownership, but a brand-new system can be expensive and the high costs of a new installation can be nerve-wracking.
Understanding exactly what makes up the cost of a new system and can help ease some of the worry and help you make a better, more informed decision when it comes time to purchase one.
What Determines the Cost of A New Furnace and AC Unit
There are hundreds of options on the market from a cheap, large, and inefficient central AC unit, to a smaller, quieter, high-efficiency model that was just released. In any air conditioning or furnace, there are four factors that determine the cost. Not all central air systems are created equal, and it’s important to understand what you’re buying.
The cheapest is not always the better option. You may save money now, but after costly repairs and a short lifespan, your “bargain deal” system will actually cost you more money in the long run.
There are four components that make up the new heating and air cost including quality, performance, efficiency, and size. But let us preface all this by saying, all these factors are dependent on the system being installed professionally and correctly. A bad installation can cause even the most expensive and efficient system to fail.
Selecting the right size ac unit is critical to the comfort of your home and the durability of your new system. Square footage and climate determine what size of central air system you need.
Square footage is best for determining your cooling needs, but doesn’t translate into heating. With your furnace, the region itself must also be considered. For example, what’s needed to maintain comfortable temperatures in the north during the winter for heating will be less than what’s needed in Texas and vice versa in the warmer months.
Choosing a brand of appliance is similar to choosing a car manufacturer. Certain companies make better, higher quality products, while others are geared to be budget friendly. Each brand offers something slightly different. This competition creates hundreds of products available on the market.
- Premium brands will last 18-25 years. They typically come with a more comprehensive warranty and also carry the higher new HVAC cost.
- Standard brands are what most homeowners will choose because they are the middle of the road. They aren’t the most expensive; they also aren’t the cheapest. They have a more average new HVAC cost and still decent reliability of 12-18 years.
- Budget brands are great for those looking for a basic model that won’t cost them as much. These models may only last 10 years or so, but will still get the job done without breaking the bank. With proper maintenance, their lifespan can be extended.
As we mentioned earlier, you can purchase the highest quality HVAC system you want, but if it is not professionally and correctly installed then you just wasted your hard earned money. At Hassle Free, each of our installers is trained to correctly install each of the units we sell.
If you are not sure which quality level is right for you and your budget, give us a call or shoot us an email and we will be glad to answer any and all questions you have.
Within each brand, each unit is distinguished by a performance rating. This is similar to choosing the model of a car. Appliance performance is categorized by a “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating” or a SEER rating. This score determines whether they outperform other models by the same manufacturer.
- Basic SEER 13-15: These are usually single-stage AC units. In order to be efficient, they must run on their highest setting most of the time. This means that they are probably louder than others, and may create “cold spots” in your home. It’s still a basic ac, but it simply doesn’t perform to the level of a higher ranked model.
- Better SEER 16-19: These models are designed to run at 65 percent capacity. This means they aren’t working quite as hard to create the same results. They are often quieter and use less energy. They cool the home evenly and are effective dehumidifiers too.
- Best SEER 20-24: The best performing units are sometimes referred to as variable-capacity central ac. These units can function automatically between 25 percent and 100 percent capacity to create the results you want. They are the most quiet, most efficient, and best and creating a balanced temperature in your home.
Efficiency in an appliance is similar to gas mileage in a car. Rather than miles per gallon, it is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). It can feel like a balancing act to choose the right unit for your space without overspending or underestimating. If you choose a unit that is too big and overpowering for your space, it will overheat/cool your home, causing major temperature swings. On the other hand, if you try to save money and sacrifice on performance, the unit may work too hard and wear out faster.
Your BTU rating is likely determined by the area you live in. The hotter your climate is, the more cooling power you’ll need per square foot of your home. On the other hand, the cooler your climate is the more heating power you will need.
What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
According to PickHVAC, different climate zones correlate to different energy outputs required of their units.
- Zones 1 & 2 (hot): 22-30 Btu/sq. Ft
- Zone 3 (warm): 20-24 Btu/sq. Ft.
- Zone 4 (moderate): 18-22 Btu/sq. Ft.
- Zone 5 (cool): 16-20 Btu/sq. Ft.
- Zone 6 (cold): 14-18 Btu/sq. Ft.
- Zone 7 (very cold): 12-16 Btu/sq. Ft.
You also need to consider other factors of the home such as shading, natural light, insulation, double-paned windows, cracks, crevices, leaks, etc.
Generally speaking, you’ll replace your existing furnace with one of a similar size. However, a replacement AC may be larger or smaller than the existing unit if other changes have been made to the home.
If the home’s insulation has been upgraded or other energy-efficiency modifications have been made, you may need a smaller furnace and air unit. If you’ve added space such as a finished basement or converted garage, you may need a larger system.
How Much Does a New Furnace and Air Conditioner Cost?
The total cost of a heating and air system is made up of the actual new HVAC cost and the installation fee. It can also vary because of the size of the home, local costs of contractors, and the region where you live. On average, a new system is somewhere between $3,000 and $7,500. This represents a significant investment in your home. However, a new HVAC system, even a budget brand should last at least 10 years.
Balancing the cost of a new central air unit with the investment opportunity is an important decision. There are several online calculators you can use that factor in the size of your home, BTUs, electric rates in your area, the number of hours per day the unit will be in use, estimated hours for the month, SEER, unit level, and more to determine the new heat and air conditioning cost. Doing the math and then comparing it against contractors can ensure you’re getting the best price.
Let’s Get Comfortable
Adding a new furnace and AC unit to your home can be an exciting addition. Finally, you can come home after a long day at the office and relax in a comfortable home. No more hot nights or freezing mornings.
Choosing the best unit for your home is an important decision. We recommend doing some research or getting in touch with one of our Comfort Consultants before making your purchase. Installation quality is just as important as the unit itself. You can also look up tax credits and rebates that might be available in your area.
While cost is a major consideration, understanding what goes into the total new HVAC cost, can help ease some of the worry and guide you to a better decision. Do your research and choose Hassle Free HVAC to install your new unit and give you comfort you can rely on.