⭐ How To Get a Fair Price on a New HVAC System
Most of our article topics come from customer questions in the field.
Few questions are asked more often than about a fair heating and cooling system cost.
The combined cost of a new furnace and air conditioner can vary greatly depending on the brand and model chosen and a few other factors.
As such, today, we will discuss a couple of factors that affect your HVAC system cost.
Then we’ll take a look at some of the more common prices for a furnace and AC combination.
finally, we’ll show you how to make sure you get the best value on your new installation.
⭐ Furnace Air Conditioner Combo Cost – The Factors
There is a multitude of factors that can affect the cost of an entire HVAC system installation.
This section will discuss a few main ones and help you get on the right foot.
Just remember that the furnace and AC combination cost of your specific installation will have multiple variables, so the best thing you can do is to pick one (i.e., which HVAC unit brand that you want), research it to death until you figure out which one you want, and then move on to the following variable.
If you start trying to figure out all the variables at once, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed and having flashbacks of differential equations from school…
Don’t worry; I’ll do my best to keep that from happening (and hopefully avoid a flood of emails from loyal readers).
If you’re already bored, don’t worry…my articles exponentially increase in sarcasm as you continue reading…
📋 Factor 1: What HVAC System Brand Should You Choose?
The brand of a residential HVAC unit can highly affect your combo cost.
Some brands are significantly more expensive than others.
Still, it is important to note that all modern air conditioners and furnaces (from major brands) are equally reliable, so long as they are installed and commissioned properly.
Knowing which brands provide the best value – at the lowest price – is a significant factor in keeping costs down.
Let’s take a look at some average prices for central air conditioners by brand:
Average HVAC Cost by Brand, From Lowest to Highest Price:
Please note that this list is not extensive and is based on average national pricing across the United States.
- Day & Night
- American Standard
The cost of the furnace and AC combination for your installation can be quickly decreased by as much as 40% just by picking the right HVAC unit brand for your home.
But, you might be asking, why is Day & Night less expensive than Lennox?
Well, Day & Night is a sub-brand of one of the other more expensive HVAC unit brands.
They are made by the Carrier Corporation.
The same company owns Arcoaire, Beretta, Bryant, Comfortmaker, Day & Night, Heil, Keeprite, and Tempstar in the HVAC space.
However, sub-brands like Day & Night are usually made in overseas factories that operate with lower overhead expenses.
Most models are made with the exact same internal components as their Carrier counterparts, including internal coils made by Aspen Coils.
Another example is Goodman, which is manufactured by the same company as Amana.
Knowing these little marketing tricks is the key to getting a good deal on your HVAC installation. Food for thought.
✅ PRO TIP: I will say that from my experience, I would recommend going with a brand that sits in the middle of the “marketing” pricing structure. The low-cost tier of HVAC units is usually made overseas, whereas the top two tiers are manufactured in North America.
Before deciding, research what furnace and AC brands are offered by the contractors in your area.
One of the most important variables in your decision is whether the brand is supported locally by an HVAC parts supplier.
For instance, Goodman might be your favorite brand, but it doesn’t really matter if no one in your area installs them or if there’s a parts supplier to provide repair components.
As such, researching brands is one of the key ways that you can keep your HVAC unit costs down.
📋 Factor 2: What Energy Efficiency and Features Should You Choose?
The efficiency and features you choose for your new ac unit and heating system will affect your costs.
In most cases, paying thousands of dollars extra for a 21-SEER AC unit doesn’t make sense, but there are many scenarios where it would.
Make sure to talk to multiple HVAC contractors before making your decision.
We rarely recommend investing in air conditioners above 14 or 16-SEER efficiency for average-sized homes because the monthly energy efficiency savings wouldn’t add up to the additional expense.
Plus, lower SEER units are typically simpler and have less of a propensity for breakdowns and service calls.
They are also significantly cheaper to fix when they do break.
As such, when you factor in the additional price of repairs on high-SEER air conditioning systems, the lifetime price-to-own one actually ends up being more expensive.
Delving into the differences between different SEER values is outside the scope of this article, so here is an article on SEER ratings that will help explain what they are and which air conditioning system you should choose for your home.
⭐ What SEER Value is Best for My Home?
Likewise, furnaces have various energy efficiency ratings and are measured in Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or “AFUE”
As with air conditioning systems, AFUE should be taken with a grain of salt.
Unless you live in a region that regulates minimum AFUE requirements.
An 80% AFUE furnace can typically be more than enough if you live in a southern state.
If you live up north, you probably want to consider a furnace that is 90% AFUE or greater.
Unlike an AC system, however, furnaces are less likely to break down.
Therefore, it is worth spending the extra money on higher efficiency… but only if you need it!
If you live in Alabama, for instance, buying a 96% AFUE furnace isn’t needed and will only increase the HVAC system combo cost you pay for your installation.
Related Reading: What is AFUE? Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rate Explained
⭐ How SEER & AFUE Can Affect Your HVAC Installation Cost
🔋 Basic SEER and AFUE Rating
A basic 80-90% AFUE-rated furnace combined with a 13-15 SEER combo system installed would start around $7,000 and go up to $12,000, depending on your geographic area.
You might think this is a large price range, but you need to consider the cost of living variances across Canada and the United States.
🔋 Better SEER and AFUE Rating
The next step up would be a 94-97% AFUE-rated furnace combined with a 16-20 SEER combo system installed would start around $9,000 and go up to $15,000.
Some of the benefits of a system like this might be a variable speed blower motor on the furnace and a lower decibel rating on the outdoor AC condensing unit.
🔋 Best SEER and AFUE Rating
The top-tier system would be a furnace with an AFUE rating of 97-99%, which matches an AC system with a SEER rating of 19-26.
The cost of this system would range between $11,000 and $20,000.
✅ PRO TIP: the British Thermal Units (BTU) rating of the furnace and the AC’s tonnage rating will also significantly impact the system’s price.
Related Reading: EER VS SEER: How to Use EER and SEER to Compare AC Units
📋 Factor 3: Choosing the Right HVAC Contractor
We’ve shown you how being well-informed on the brand and efficiency values you choose can affect the installation costs of your new furnace and AC combo, so now let’s talk about contractors.
Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch…
So let’s talk about how selecting the right HVAC contractor can affect your combo installation costs.
Let’s assume you’re a responsible shopper and will get at least three quotes on your dual fuel system replacement.
Now, after you get your three quotes, you’ll need to determine the winner by more than just the price.
So, let’s take the three quotes below as examples and then work through how to determine which one to choose.
- 1st Contractor: $12,300
- 2nd Contractor: $7,790
- 3rd Contractor: $9,113
First, assume all three quotes are for similar AC and furnace combo brands with the same SEER and AFUE ratings.
So, aside from the price variable, what else should you consider?
- Reputation: always check their ratings and reviews online. Whether it’s Google, Yelp, or a similar platform.
- Warranty: The parts warranty should be similar for each brand and at least cover you for 10 years. The labor warranty is what sets apart the good from the bad. Shoot for a contractor with a standard labor warranty of at least one year.
- Schedule: This is only based on how soon you need the system installed. You might choose the more expensive option because the HVAC company has sooner availability.
- Features: You should confirm that each quoted system has the same features, like variable speed technology or a single-speed blower motor.
- Add-ons: Is one contractor providing a new WIFI thermostat and one isn’t? Or is one contractor installing a new duct seal on the plenums while the others aren’t?
- Price Accuracy: Make sure to get it in writing that everything that is required to complete the installation is included in the quote.
- Insurance: Always confirm that all of the HVAC companies have active insurance.
- Licenses: Always confirm that licenses are up to date and that dues are paid.
- Experience: This doesn’t always mean that the most experienced contractor is the best, but if the contractor has a great reputation and tons of experience, you can feel confident that they’ll look after you.
- Years in Business: Again, this isn’t a deal breaker, as new businesses can provide great service and value. The only concern with new businesses is whether they’ll be in business to support you in the future.
- Customer support: this is something that you’ll definitely be paying for. If a company can afford 24/7 support staff, their overhead prices will be higher, and thus their pricing will be as well.
Average HVAC Replacement Cost – Fair Prices
You’ve seen in our examples above how addressing these main factors can save you thousands on your air conditioner and gas furnace.
Now, for impatient people, let’s look at some fair prices for your installation.
Keep in mind that all we can give you in an article are estimates and general guidelines from across the country.
There are too many variables to provide exact prices for every job, like your geographic location, square footage, required SEER and AFUE, how many stories you have in your home, average temperatures, etc.
⭐ AC Combo Cost Factors for Expensive States
Look, places like California and New York are some of the most expensive places to spend money.
Why not? They are nice once you get over the morning interstate traffic.
Unfortunately, that also means they are more costly to do business in due to higher taxes and more red tape, permits, and fees.
📋 Typical Combo Cost for a 14 SEER, 80% AFUE System:
Average Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost: $5,121
Materials and Other Miscellaneous Expenses: $1147
General Liability Insurance, Workman’s Compensation Insurance, etc.: $767
Total Cost to Contractor: $7,767.00
Profit (40% average, out of which they still have to pay taxes and administrative fees): $3,106.80
Total Combo Cost of Installation: $10,873.80
📋 AC and Furnace Combos for the Red States:
I’m not making a political joke (well, I am).
Still, doing business in the red states is typically much less expensive.
As such, you can expect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost to be slightly less. Let’s take a look:
Typical Combo Cost for a 14 SEER, 80% AFUE System:
Average Combo Cost: $4,287 (fewer taxes on equipment)
Materials & Other Miscellaneous Expenses: $817
General Liability Insurance and Workman’s Compensation Insurance, etc.: $501
Total Cost to Contractor: $6,293.00
Profit (40% average; the red states still have to pay taxes and administrative fees): $2,517.20
Total Combo Cost of Installation: $8,810.20
⭐ Analysis of the Average HVAC Installation Costs
As you can see, the furnace and AC costs can vary significantly by region.
As an additional note, if you are considering starting your own HVAC business, you should probably consider moving to a low-tax state like Texas, as there are fewer taxes.
The moral of the story should be that by controlling which brand you choose, the SEER and AFUE values purchased, and which contractor you prefer, you can significantly affect your installation price.
However, as you can see in the examples above, some things are outside your control, like where you live.
The example above used average data to calculate a fair installation price.
It was about $800 cheaper by separating some of the more expensive states.
You may also be interested in an article that compares heat pumps to a gas furnace.
Heat Pump vs Furnace in 2023 – The Pros and Cons of Each Heating Type
⭐ Final Thoughts on Getting a Fair AC & Furnace Combo Cost
In the end, do your research and choose a reputable contractor.
Then, decide what brand and efficiency you want for your new HVAC system.
Doing these three things can greatly decrease your combo cost and possibly save thousands of dollars.
But remember that money is not everything, and the first point – choosing a reputable contractor – is one of the most important.
Your total combo cost is not just what you pay for installation but the sum of all of the expenses you incur over the lifetime of your new air conditioner and gas furnace.
Not skimping (but not overpaying) for your contractor is essential, as it will ensure that your job is done right and your system runs properly for years to come with minimal repair costs.
Hopefully, this article has helped you, and we wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.
So if you are looking for an affordable and reliable HVAC contractor and live in the Okanagan Valley, call Phyxter Home Services.
Want to learn more about your home’s heating and cooling systems? Feel free to check out our other HVAC articles!