HVAC Replacement Cost and Installation Cost Guide

Looking to get a new HVAC system and want to estimate HVAC replacement cost? The replacement cost and installation costs of a HVAC system is determined by the size of your house.

On average, the replacement cost of a HVAC unit is between $2,500 and $5,000. Take note the replacement cost and installation cost can go up if your home heating and air conditioning unit requires extensive new ductwork.

The cost of replacing the heating and air conditioning system is also determined by the HVAC system you choose.

The typical replacement cost of a full HVAC system is between $4,000 and $20,000. The higher price range for the new system with central air heating and cooling is inclusive of extensive ductwork for your HVAC unit.

central heating
An external central HVAC system with HVAC unit. Photo by Theen … on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Factors Affecting HVAC Installation Costs

The primary factors affecting the replacement cost and installation costs of a new HVAC system are:

  • Efficiency
  • Size
  • Features
  • Noise level

Efficiency 

Energy efficiency is one of the main factors you should consider that affects replacement cost. Select a central air conditioner unit with the highest efficiency rating. In the long run, with your air conditioner operating many years, you will save money while reducing your carbon footprint from the air conditioner.

All central air conditioner and heating and cooling units have an energy efficiency rating label. Although most energy-efficient units may cost more, they will save you money in the long run.

Size

The size of a central heating or new HVAC system is another key factor affecting replacement cost that you should consider. A large air conditioning unit will easily keep your home warm or cool. Unfortunately, it will not be able to remove the humidity in your home.

On the other hand, a small HVAC unit will not warm your home on cold days, nor will it cool your home on hot days. To get the best HVAC unit for your home, contact a professional local HVAC service. They will advise you on the best size HVAC unit and replacement cost for your house.

HVAC System Features 

The majority of heating and cooling units have special features that improve efficiency and performance. For instance, some have a built-in filter light to alert you when the filter needs to be changed.

Another crucial feature to look for is a switch that only turns the fan on. It can be used on hot days to cool the house. Such features mean getting a higher priced central heating unit. The replacement cost of the high end units will be on the upper end of the range we provided.

cost of installing central heating

Internal air duct, which is part of a central heating unit.

Photo by yewenyi on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Noise Levels

One of the main benefits of having a central HVAC system is reduced noise levels. Unlike window-based heating and cooling systems, a central system is quieter. Going through reviews of several central heating units will give you an idea of the sound ratings.

If you are uncomfortable with the replacement cost of central heating systems, there is a way you can save money on the same. Start by shopping around to try to lower your replacement cost. You can lower your replacement cost by comparing prices of online and local HVAC stores.

The best way to save money on the replacement cost is by purchasing the HVAC equipment and heat pump during the summer. Stores generally hike prices for the heat pump and heating systems during winter, increasing the replacement cost.

Major Types of Heaters

Halogen heaters, convector heaters, fan heaters, and oil-filled heaters are the different types of electric heaters that you can purchase.

When looking to heat a room for a short period of time the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) recommends the use of fan heaters. They are noisy and not as powerful compared to other types of heaters.

If looking to heat a room for a couple of hours or more the use convector heaters because they thoroughly heat a room.

One of the more reliable of the varieties is oil-filled heaters. They take longer to heat up than other models but they keep a room warm for long periods after being turned off.

Another option is halogen heaters which work quickly and are cheaper to run. They are also known to keep punters warm in pub gardens.

Different forms of portable heater come with different heat outputs. For example mostly common outputs are 2kW, 1.2kW and 3kW. The higher the kilowatt, the more powerful the radiator is but it will also be more expensive.

The table below shows the replacement cost associated with using different types of heaters:

Typical heat output Running cost

Per hour standard meter

Running cost

Per hour (Economy 7, night)

Running cost

Per hour (Economy 7, day)

Oil-filled radiator 1.5 kW 21 cents 10 cents 27 cents
Fan heater 2 kW 28 cents 13 cents 36 cents
Convector heater 2 kW 28 cents 13 cents 36 cents
Halogen heater 1.2 kW 17 cents 8 cents 22 cents
Radiant bar fire 2 kW 28 cents 13 cents 36 cents

Comparing the Types of Heaters

The cost of running a 1.2kW halogen heater, on average is 17cents on a standard meter, which is cheaper compared to other models as per the CSE information. It has less heat output than a 2kW fan heater that costs 28 cents per hour – a massive 11 cents more to run per hour.

The most expensive radiators to run are the convector heaters. They keep the room warmer for a long period of time. In the long run they are better than fan heaters.

A number of factors are needed to analyze whether an electric radiator would save you more money than central heating. It includes how well your house is insulated and the style of the house i.e. is it new, old, modern or leaky.

Central heating is of two types-electric and gas-which comes with cons and pros. The average cost of central heating in 2019 was $548. This is when the house consumed approximately 12,000 kWh a year.

This equates to a user spending about $1.50 a day on central heating. Take note there are plenty of times, mostly in the summer, where the heating won’t be needed. The cost is determined by individual heating usage.

Cost of Heating Different Houses

Naturally, the cost of heating a one bedroom house will be less than heating a four bedroom house. The following is an approximate breakdown of what to expect with replacement cost and HVAC installation costs: 

4-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks is a must $variable
  • Pipework – $variable
  • TRV valves – $250
  • 12 x radiators – $1600
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $250
  • Condensing boiler – $1,400

3-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks, optional as it is determined by water pressure-$variable
  • Pipework – $variable
  • TRV valves – $150
  • 9xradiators – $1200
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $150
  • Condensing boiler – $900

2-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks, optional as it is determined by water pressure-$variable
  • Pipework – $variable
  • TRV valves – $100
  • 9xradiators – $1000
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $100
  • Condensing boiler – $750

1-bedroom House HVAC System Cost

  • Water tanks, optional as it is determined by water pressure-$variable
  • Pipework – $variable
  • TRV valves – $50
  • 9xradiators – $800
  • Heating controls and thermostat – $50
  • Condensing boiler – $650

A heat pump cannot be effective alone to boost the pressure meaning a tank has to be installed first. Although they depend on mains water pressure, condensing boilers are the most efficient.

HVAC Installation Cost of Labor

  • For a 4 and 3-bed home, it will take between 4 or 5 days to install a new gas central heating system. 2 and 1-bedroom homes usually take 2 – 3 days.
  • Expect a laborer and a trainee to earn from $80-$120 in a day since this is a two-people project.
  • Subject to experience and location, a gas safe registered installer in a day charges between $150 and $200.
  • In addition to this, the company you choose may charge a fee for profit margins and overheads.
  • In addition to waste disposal and materials, a 4-day HVAC installation project may involve a HVAC installation labor fee of about $2250.

Additional costs

After the HVAC installation, walls need to be redecorated and this will be up to you. Your installer will make arrangements for this. The old materials i.e. heaters, brackets, and cables need to be disposed off.

Comparison between Gas and Electric Central Heating 

  • Shifting from electric heating to gas for a consumer living in a 3-bed home will allow them to save around $500 in a year.
  • The replacement cost you need to pay may increase up to $1950 for an electric system that uses electricity in peak hours.
  • In a year, the approximate cost you need to pay for hot water from electric central heating is $900 while for a condensing boiler is $550.
  • In conclusion, unless you have a heat pump, using electricity is a very expensive means to heat a home.

Grants 

  • These are given by the government though the entire system is a baffling mess of contradicting information.
  • Grants are money off tickets or vouchers that one can use to buy energy-saving products.
  • Some private institutions also give grants and discounts which are similar to promotions.
  • You can visit an energy saving trust in case you receive state benefits or go through the government’s energy grant calculator website.

Does Gas Central Heating Affect the Value of a Home?

Switching to a gas central heating system, if you had electric heaters, will increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to the next buyer or prospective renter. A new gas central heating system may increase the value of your home by up to 5.4%, so the replacement cost you need to pay is well-spent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Central HVAC Systems

installing central heating
Central heating HVAC system and cooling unit on the exterior of a building

Photo by digitearte on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Advantages of Central HVAC Systems

Logistically, heating the entire house using one unit makes things easier. A bonus for some homeowners is the possibility of isolating the heating unit from the living space.

Another advantage of central heating systems is the ability to provide climate control and hot water. Additionally, homeowners can adjust the temperature in different parts of their house by using area or room-specific temperature, or by closing vents in the new ductwork.

You can also program the system to increase, decrease temperature during specific times. All in all, central heating systems offer the best solutions with reduced environmental impact.

Disadvantages of Central HVAC Systems

The major disadvantage of central heating systems is the cost of buying and installing one. The cost is higher in homes that are more than a decade old. Dust and noise can also be an issue if you are highly allergic to dust.

Another disadvantage is special permits may be required for certain equipment and fuels. Take note central heating systems have limited flexibility in case of changed heating requirements. Also, there is a time delay when the heat is being supplied from the system to the living space.

How to Find an Affordable Central Heater Contractor

The first step to finding the best central heating contractor is by doing some offline and online research. Such a method will give you an idea of the units available along with the replacement cost, and the ones that best suit your needs.

For example, you may find a contractor in a different town with a unit that will best suit your needs. Some stores offer free installation when you buy a unit from them. Research is the only way you can find the best unit at the most affordable price.

Bottom Line

Finding the best HVAC system for your house is not a walk in the park. Using the above HVAC replacement costs guide will ensure you get the perfect unit for your home with the lowest replacement cost possible.