Replacing an HVAC is not the most affordable home improvement project. But the actual figure for an HVAC installation project seems somewhat of a mystery. Most HVAC contractors are hesitant to provide a number without visiting the home themselves. And searching the web isn’t helpful either – the numbers vary by thousands of dollars. How is any homeowner supposed to budget for a project without knowing the cost of a new HVAC system?
It’s not your imagination. There’s a reason you’re struggling to get a straight answer, and we’ll be explaining why in this blog.
Why You Can’t Get a Straight Answer
Replacing your HVAC is not like replacing a refrigerator. Although both are appliances, a refrigerator is a direct replacement – just plug in the new equipment and haul away the old.
Heating and cooling systems have many more elements that contribute to installation cost. Depending on the type and size of equipment, difficulty of installation, and other considerations, you can expect an HVAC replacement to cost between $8,000 to $16,000. We know – that’s a wide range. We’re going to explain each of the factors that go into an HVAC installation quote so that you’ll feel confident discussing quotes with any contractor.
Included Costs for Heating and Cooling Replacement Projects
Equipment – The largest cost for a heater or AC installation project is the equipment. As a certified contractor with specific manufacturers, we get special dealer pricing unavailable to the public. HVAC units come in many versions – with unique features, sizes, and types. Higher-end equipment will be higher in energy efficiency and offer more in the way of technology. Remember – this equipment will serve your home for the next decade or more, so it’s important to choose equipment that will meet your needs today and in the future. The specific equipment you decide to install can have a major impact on the final price of your project.
Additional Services – Sometimes extra work is required to get the job done right. For example, cutting in a new attic access point, adding a new thermal zone, or changing out a thermostat are all non-standard services that increase the cost of a project. Not all projects will have these requirements, but we rarely know until we walk the home ourselves.
Materials – There are also material costs included in any quote. Some of the more common materials or add-ons include ductwork, refrigerant piping, drain piping, and wiring. Every piece of material has a cost to acquire, transport, and install. We also stock our technician’s trucks with all the little extras needed for the finishing touches, like sealant and lubricant. The materials, whether they are project-specific or everyday items, add to the cost of your project.
Labor – We hire NATE-certified technicians and pay them a competitive salary. Most HVAC installation projects take at least one day to complete, but sometimes they span multiple days or require several crews. Your quote for a heating and cooling replacement includes the salary of several technicians over many hours of work.
Truck Costs – There’s also a cost associated with the trucks that carry your equipment, materials, and installation team to your house. The cost of fuel is a major expense for us as we drive around the San Fernando Valley. We also account for repair and maintenance costs for our trucks.
Other Overhead Costs – Then there are the general costs to operate a business. Although the portion of this on your install quote may be small, we want to mention it because it’s one difference in working with a larger, more reputable company. Built into our costs is the salary of our super-friendly office staff. We also offer health insurance and other benefits to our employees. We are bonded and insured, and there’s a cost to keep these active. Then there are our other business tools, like our phone system, website, and email.
Discounts, Coupons, and Rebates for HVAC Replacement
One thing that’s often not factored into most quotes is the savings from rebates or other special programs. The most common way of saving money on an HVAC replacement is via a rebate. With rebates, you pay the full price of the qualifying equipment upfront and then receive a check or deposit for the rebate amount. Depending on the rebates that are currently active, you can save many thousands of dollars. Not all contractors research rebates or offer these to customers, and it’s a big savings – so it’s very worthwhile to look for a contractor that will help you cash in on these deals.
What about Wholesale HVAC Equipment?
Everything is just a web search away! We’ve had many homeowners take a quote for an HVAC equipment and try to research the “true” cost. Certainly, you can find wholesale HVAC equipment providers that seem to offer quotes on the equipment cost. Even though equipment cost is a major portion of your quote for a new heating and cooling system, it’s not all of it. You’ll still need a licensed team to install it, a truck to deliver it to your home, extra materials, removal of old equipment, and other overhead costs.
Comparing HVAC Quotes
When comparing quotes, you’re really comparing apples to apples! Make sure the equipment in the two quotes is truly comparable. Also, consider whether rebates or discounts are reflected in the final quote. Finally, consider the company you’re working with – at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning, we employ the very best technicians in the area.
Since there are so many factors that are a part of an HVAC replacement quote, we encourage all homeowners to start the buying process early. Even if you’re not ready to replace today – there’s no harm in getting quotes now. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re under pressure to install a new system because your current system is failing. We offer free second opinions for HVAC installation projects as well. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote on your new home comfort system.