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How Much Does HVAC Installation Cost? (2024)

Image: Air conditioner near the new house. When it comes to HVAC installation, the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of unit, the size of your home, and the system's efficiency rating. From...

air conditioner near the new house cold fan install wall electric climate Image: Air conditioner near the new house.

When it comes to HVAC installation, the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of unit, the size of your home, and the system's efficiency rating. From window air conditioning units to geothermal heat pumps, the options are vast. In this guide, we'll break down the average cost ranges for different HVAC units based on various factors.

Average HVAC Installation Cost

Installing an HVAC system involves powerful and complex equipment like furnaces, central air conditioners, and ductwork. While it can be expensive, it is a worthwhile investment for your home. Let's take a closer look at the cost breakdown based on unit type, house size, and other considerations.

Cost by HVAC Unit Type

The choice of HVAC system depends on your heating and cooling needs and the climate in your area. Here are some popular options:

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning systems, such as central AC, lower indoor temperatures and act as dehumidifiers. This type of system requires ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout the building. While it is expensive to install and operate, there are also portable and window AC units that offer more affordable alternatives for cooling smaller spaces.

Boilers and Radiant Heating

Boilers are heating systems that use fuel, like gas or heating oil, to heat water that runs through pipes in the home, providing radiant heating. Some boilers also act as water heaters, creating hot water for everyday use.

Ductless Mini-Splits

Ductless systems, like mini-split air conditioners, can cool multiple rooms without the need for ductwork. These systems offer greater control over temperature settings and are less expensive to install than central air conditioning.


Furnaces use blowers to distribute treated air throughout the home's ductwork. They can burn gas or use electricity as a heat source. Furnaces are typically installed alongside ductwork and can be costly to replace.

Heat Pumps

Heat pump systems transfer heat between indoors and outdoors, providing both heating and cooling. There are different types of heat pumps, including air-source and geothermal options. Air-source heat pumps are more cost-effective, while geothermal heat pumps take advantage of renewable energy but come at a higher cost.

Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers can be added to HVAC systems to control indoor humidity levels. These devices can improve comfort, reduce allergens, and prevent mold and mildew growth.

Packaged Systems and Whole-House Fans

Packaged systems combine heating and cooling equipment in one outdoor unit, while whole-house fans create airflow to make a home feel cooler.

For a detailed breakdown of the cost range for each HVAC unit type, refer to the table below:

Window AC: $70-$840
Radiator: $100-$2,500
Portable AC: $250-$1,800
Humidifier: $400-$2,500
Whole-house fan: $580-$1,270
Ductless mini-split: $975-$5,400
Dehumidifier: $1,300-$2,800
Boiler: $1,500-$15,000
New ductwork: $1,900-$6,000
Furnace: $2,000-$11,000
Heat pump: $3,700-$11,000
Central AC: $3,800-$7,700
Packaged system: $9,200-$10,800

Cost by House Size

The size of your home will determine the HVAC unit size you need. Larger homes require more powerful units, which tend to be more expensive. It's important to choose the right size unit to ensure efficient operation without unnecessary energy consumption. Online cost estimators can assist you in determining the appropriate system size for your space.

Cost by Efficiency

The efficiency of an HVAC system affects both its initial cost and long-term energy savings. Higher efficiency systems require less fuel for operation, resulting in lower energy bills. Look for systems with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings for air conditioners and heat pumps, and high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) percentages for furnaces. These energy-efficient systems may also qualify for tax credits or incentives.

Labor Cost

Labor costs make up a significant portion of HVAC system installation expenses. The exact amount depends on the project's complexity and scope. Hiring professional HVAC contractors ensures that the installation is done correctly and often includes warranties on labor. It's important to obtain quotes from multiple contractors to compare prices and ensure a fair deal.

Additional Cost Considerations

In addition to the factors mentioned above, other considerations can impact the total cost of HVAC installation:


Choosing a reliable HVAC brand with a good reputation and long warranty can ensure a quality system with a decent lifespan. Some brands also offer installation services.


If your ductwork requires repair or replacement, it must be addressed before installing a new HVAC unit. Leaky or poorly insulated ducts can decrease the efficiency of even the best HVAC system. Retrofitting ductwork in existing homes can be more expensive than including it in original construction.

Return on Investment

Installing an efficient HVAC system can increase the value of your home and lead to a higher return on investment when selling. Research shows that homes with central air conditioning tend to sell for more than those without. High-efficiency systems are particularly desirable to potential buyers.


Consider upgrading certain aspects of your HVAC system to improve efficiency and functionality. This includes adding features like whole-house humidifiers or dehumidifiers and installing smart thermostats that offer remote control and energy-saving features.

Professional vs. DIY HVAC Installation

HVAC installation is best left to professionals. Licensed HVAC contractors have the necessary training and expertise to handle the complexities of these systems safely and efficiently. Attempting DIY installation can lead to energy inefficiency, damage to your home, and voided warranties. It's always wise to hire professionals for this major project.

How to Reduce Costs on Your HVAC Installation

Here are some tips to help you save on your HVAC installation costs:

  • Explore tax rebates or green energy incentives for high-efficiency systems.
  • Choose the right-sized system for your space to avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Consider long-term costs and invest in energy-efficient options for greater savings.
  • Obtain multiple quotes from local contractors to find competitive pricing.
  • Regularly maintain your HVAC system to prolong its lifespan and avoid costly repairs.

In conclusion, HVAC installation costs can vary significantly depending on multiple factors. It's essential to consider the unit type, house size, efficiency, labor, and additional cost considerations when budgeting for this investment. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and choose a system that meets your needs while providing comfort and energy savings for years to come.