Colton Deck

By: Colton Deck on September 29th, 2022

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HVAC Installation Cost

Heating | Air

Dipping your toes into the HVAC world can be daunting, and figuring out what installing a new HVAC system will cost can be just as confusing. But you can consider several key factors to better gauge how much installing an HVAC system in your home will cost. 

We’ve serviced many different-sized homes with all sorts of custom wants and needs. We can confidently tell you that there is no one set cost to install HVAC. For this reason, we look to secondary information about your home and your needs to determine pricing. 

Some factors that impact the cost of installing an HVAC system:

  • Home layout and size
  • Capacity
  • Efficiency
  • Materials
  • Features

To provide some visibility into price, we can give you the most common ranges of cost you can expect to see: $6,000 to $35,000. 

Let’s unpack these factors to see what they mean for your home. After touching on the following points, you’ll be able to better judge where your installation cost might sit within the larger price range. 


What Factors Impact HVAC Installation Cost

      1. Home size and layout

Your home size and layout will be the most significant factor in determining the cost of installing an HVAC system. Because homes are different from each other, they have different cooling and heating needs. 

Larger homes will require heating and cooling elements with larger capacities to serve the home well. Because of this, you can count on an increased cost going into your quote appointment. 

On the flip side, smaller homes won’t require the same capacity as larger homes and will be relatively cheaper to install unless there are any unforeseen roadblocks. 

The layout of your home also impacts the cost of installing an HVAC system. Homes with many rooms or multiple stories will require more heating and cooling capacity but also need more ducting and potentially multiple thermostats. 

Even high ceilings will affect what you need to cool and heat your home. 


      2. Capacity

Capacity refers to the tonnage or capacity of an air conditioner or furnace that make up the backbone of an HVAC system. These two components must be appropriately sized to maintain adequate performance. 

Tonnage is not an indicator of weight in this case. Instead, tonnage measures the heating and cooling elements’ capacities. Capacity refers to each unit’s ability to remove or put out heat. Capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).

A ton equals 12,000 BTUs, meaning a 1-ton unit has a cooling capacity of 12,000 BTUs, while a 5-ton has a capacity of 60,000 BTUs. Yes, it’s a lot to take in, but stick with it!

Ready for part 2? Here we go! The higher the tonnage, the more expensive the unit will be. On the low end, a 1-ton air conditioner runs around $1,000 without installation. Looking to the high end, a 5-ton air conditioner can cost about $2,100 and up. 


      3. Efficiency

There are two efficiency ratings to keep an eye on, SEER and AFUE. SEER is used for air conditioner units, and AFUE is used for heating. 

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which measures the cooling output of a unit divided by the energy used. Simply put, SEER measures a cooling unit’s energy efficiency. 

The minimum SEER rating is 13 but will bump up to SEER 16 as of January 1, 2023. The more efficient a unit is, the more it will cost. 

A 2.5-ton air conditioner with a SEER rating of 16 runs about $1,800, depending on the brand. On the higher end, a 5-ton air conditioner with a rating of 20 can cost almost $8,000.

On the other hand, Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is used to measure furnaces. This rating is gauged by how much fuel a furnace converts into heat. 

AFUE ratings differ by being presented as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the furnace. 

The standard AFUE is 80%, meaning anything less than was made before 2015. An 80% AFUE furnace runs around $1,500 without installation. Meanwhile, a more efficient 95% AFUE furnace can reach up to $2,600.

External factors can take these ratings down a peg, though. Things like damaged ductwork, a poorly insulated attic, or even wonky windows can affect the SEER and AFUE ratings and lower efficiency. 


      4. Materials

The materials needed will vary from home to home. The layout and size determine the materials needed. 

If you have a larger home, you can count on your estimate being larger than a smaller home due to the amount of materials. Expenses include air conditioning and heating components, air ventilation or ducts, and the labor it will take to install the HVAC system. 

It’s essential to have a realistic expectation of the price difference between a smaller home and a larger one. Estimates will be covered toward the end of the article when discussing costs for different sizes of homes. 


      5. Features

Despite having seemingly straightforward functionality, some furnaces and air conditioner units are loaded with additional features and compatibility. Everything on top of the standard functionality will cost you a few extra dollars. 

Want an ultra-quiet air conditioner? That’ll tack on to the price. The same goes with variable speed technology, which allows the air conditioner or furnaces to run at multiple stages below their maximum capacities. 

As mentioned above, efficiency ratings are also features that can add a pretty penny to the cost of your HVAC installation. 


Jumping Off Points for HVAC Installation Cost

No home is identical to the next, meaning HVAC installation costs vary greatly from home to home. But there are still average costs to determine the right jumping-off point for you. 

For a smaller home of about 600 square feet that needs a minimum 1-ton system, you’re looking at about $5,000-$9,000 round trip. This number may go up or down depending on the equipment and materials needed to get the job done. 

If you’re in a larger home of about 3,000 square feet that requires a 5-ton system, the cost jumps to $10,000-$15,000. This increase includes extended ductwork and the likelihood of additional features on the 5-ton unit. 

At the top of the range, the installation cost can hit up to $35,000 with all of the bells and whistles like variable speed technology. 


Ready to Get to the Bottom of What an HVAC Will Cost for You?

We’ve talked about the factors that contribute to the cost of HVAC installation and some average estimates based on what we’ve seen in the field. With these touchpoints in mind, you can now better understand what your HVAC installation will cost. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the installation cost for your home and live in the Los Angeles area, go ahead and give us a call at (310) 853- 8690 or visit our HVAC services page to book a consultation. We’ll walk you through what you need to know before investing in a new HVAC system.

Before we wrap up, it’s important to consider the additional costs down the road regarding maintenance and tune-ups.

Likewise, you may also need to upgrade your thermostat for your new system. Check out our list of the best smart thermostats of 2022 to get an idea of where to start.