If you are planning to buy an HVAC system for new home construction or to upgrade or replace an existing system, you should know that it is a costly project. Knowing an approximate of what your Cost to install HVAC system with ductwork is going to be ahead of time can help save you money and ensure that you buy a system that will adequately accommodate the area of your house.
How to Calculate Your HVAC Installation Cost:
Heating and AC can provide you comfort but when it comes to replacements, it can be hard to know where to begin and how much the Cost to install HVAC system with ductwork will turn out to be. You never realize how much you rely on your HVAC unit until you need a new system. With HVAC, it’s vital to purchase the right size unit for your house, because a system that’s too large or too small can have a real impact on your electricity bills. And even then, not all products are created equal. Your unit’s efficiency, expressed as its SEER rating, can also affect your overall utility spending significantly.
Your HVAC installation cost results will indicate the dimension and what you can expect to spend. You can get three different estimates: one for the most popular unit in your area, another for a high-efficiency system, and third an economy price, if you’re hoping to save money upfront. You can also consider the SEER efficiency rating for each price. Remember, the higher the SEER rating of your system, the more money is saved on the electricity bills, so purchasing a slightly more expensive unit with a higher efficiency can really save a lot of your money in the long run.
In many cases, a new HVAC unit can last 10 years or more, so you need to make the most informed decision you can to calculate the Cost to install HVAC system with ductwork. After you find your cost estimate, you need to find a good HVAC technician who can help you set up your system within the estimate.
If you buy a system that is too big, it will cost you more for the initial purchase plus your monthly bill will be higher. If the HVAC system is too small, your home won’t be cooled or heated efficiently.
Methods to calculate the Size of HVAC Equipment
There are several methods available to estimate the size of the HVAC equipment for your home. Each of these methods has its own advantages:
Manual J calculation – The manual J calculation technique is known as the top-of-the-line when it comes to sizing a system. It requires the ability to understand how to use tech-savvy software. This method should only be used by certified HVAC contractors with the knowledge and experience to use it precisely.
Square feet alone – This method only gives you the basic estimate on the cost and the cooling requirements. It isn’t very accurate for determining heat requirements. In order to get an accurate estimate, some additional information is needed along with the square footage of the house. Other considerations that factor into the equation include the type of weather where you live, if the house is shaded or if it receives continuous direct daylight, how much insulation is in the home, does the home have double-paned windows, and how “sealed” is the home in terms of not having cracks, crevices, holes, and leaks that would let the air or heat escape.
Square feet plus climate – With both, square footage and regional climate as main factors, we can get an approximation of both heating and cooling needs. With heating, along with the weather, the region in which the house is located must also be considered. For example, what’s needed to sustain comfortable temperatures in Michigan during the winter for heating will be less than what’s needed in Florida and vice versa in the warmer months.
Sizing to existing system – Planning to buy it for replacement purpose? The current system can serve as a gauge for the size of the equipment needed. In order for this method to work, you’ll need to know if the current system has also been sized accurately. A tip to keep in mind is that if your system runs continuously in spite of of outside temperatures throughout the year, consider it an adequate system. If it runs in spurts, cutting off and on, regardless of temperature, most likely the system is too big for the home.
Things to Consider
Before purchasing a new HVAC system, there are a few areas where you can help optimize the cost with some easy check-ups as well as by making learned decisions. The same factors also come in play when you are calculating commercial hvac system cost per square foot.
One factor that should be evaluated before any work is started is the efficiency of the ductwork networked throughout your home. Problems happen with ductwork over the years that make the ducts less efficient due to age and deterioration. Another problem is wildlife and pests finding a way into your attic. These critters can make holes in the ducts or cause the ducts to become unattached. Dirt and debris can also be an issue not only with blocked vents but also in affecting air quality so it’s a good idea to have the ducts cleaned and maintained to ensure your new system will distribute air economically.
If you’re considering relocating the indoor or outdoor system to a more appropriate spot, know that it is a big responsibility that will have an impact on the original calculation of price for a new system due to rerouting ductwork and electrical rewiring.
Upgrading the base or pad that the outside system is kept on is also an alternative particularly if the new unit needs a larger area. The cost of removing and replacing the original pad must also be calculated into the original price.
Insulation plays a huge role in how powerfully a new HVAC system operates. If this is a new home or a room addition, you’ll want to have the suitable amount of insulation installed based on the size of the area. For an older house, it may be time to have the existing insulation changed and/or upgraded with high-quality insulation.
Other things to consider are upgrading the service panel circuit breaker box, breakers, and wiring. If the contractor is not licensed to do this work, you may need to factor in the cost of an electrician.
If you’re fitting the home from window units that use a ductless mini-split or central system, you can use the same sizing methods used to decide a new or replacement HVAC system.
Basic Cooling Formula
A fundamental formula used by some contractors and homeowners to arrive at an estimate goes like this: every 600 square feet in the home needs 1 ton of cooling. An easy calculation example is that a 1200 square foot home x 1 ton/600 square feet equals 2 tons. A 2400 square foot house would require 4 tons and so on. If the home is new or comparatively new, chances are it is well insulated and doesn’t have any points of ingress for leaking. This type of house would be more in line with 1000 square feet per 1 ton.
Basic BTU Information for Heating and Cooling
Heat is calculated by BTUs – British Thermal Units – and knowing your BTU requirements is one more step in calculating the cost to install hvac system with ductwork. In order to gauge the size of a home heating system, calculations are essential to decide how many BTUs of heat are lost to the outside. To calculate heat, make use of the formula of one ton is equal to 12,000 BTU. If you’re to consider a 2.5-ton system, the formula would be 2.5 tons x 12,000 BTU/ton = 30,000 BTU.
BTUs can also be used for cooling to find out the amount of heat removed from a area. In other words, you’ll need to know how much heat enters the house and buy a system that is competent of removing it to get an accurate HVAC installation cost.
Upkeep and Maintenance Costs
As with any new appliance, if you don’t maintain it properly, the lifespan is radically reduced. While the system is under warranty and as long as the warranty and service agreement cover issues, you’ll only need to add the price of a warranty/agreement program to the original bill. As the unit ages and the warranty expires, repairs and replacement costs can add up. To cover yourself for potential issues, consider purchasing an extended warranty from a good HVAC company. It adds to the total calculation for the amount you’ll spend forthright but in the long run, comprehensive coverage can keep costs down and save more money.
For your part, doing a few simple maintenance jobs can also keep the system running smoothly resulting in long-term comfort, better efficiency, and reasonable energy costs. A couple of things to keep an eye on is to ensure there is nothing jamming the vents or impeding constant air flow. This can be as easy as keeping any shrubbery, vines, plants, and flowers away from the outside unit. Inside, keep vents unblocked with periodic dusting of the louver vents. You also should not place any furniture flush with the wall which can block the vent system. These are all significant factors in determining your HVAC installation cost.
Contractors and Online Cost Calculators
One of the first things a contractor should do is size up your home to determine how large the system needs to be to fulfill the needs of your home and figure your HVAC installation cost. With the assistance of lots of online calculators handy at local city government websites, HVAC retailers, local utility companies, and other free calculators, you can verify your daily operating cost to install hvac system with ductwork by just entering the information about the potential unit such as tonnage size, estimated hours of usage for the month, number of BTUs, electric rate for kilowatt hours (kWh), number of hours of the day unit will be in use, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – level of the unit, and the number of systems required in the home.
Doing the math and understanding the bottom line of all the factors that make up the HVAC installation charges of a new HVAC system before signing a check or handing over a credit card is the smart way to take. With calculations done by an expert contractor compared against your own info, you can evaluate and ask questions especially if your calculations aren’t in agreement with the contractor. This makes a huge difference when you are comparing the commercial HVAC system cost per square foot.
With this type of sizeable investment you’ll be making for the purchase of a new HVAC system, and the possibility of inadvertent miscalculations you want to make sure everything is accurate.
For the best and most precise HVAC installation cost, contact your local HVAC company and ask if they offer the service or you can hire an energy auditor to do the job to determine your correct HVAC installation cost or commercial HVAC system cost per square foot.