How House Size and Project Complexity
Affects HVAC Installation Costs
HVAC systems are not a one-size-fits-all prospect. At a basic level, the size of the building itself determines the size and complexity of the ideal HVAC unit. Larger homes typically need a larger HVAC system, and larger systems are typically harder and more expensive to install. A larger, more complex system translates to higher installation costs.
However, size isn’t the only facet in this equation. Insulation is also important. A house with subpar insulation may need a more powerful system than an identically sized but better insulated home. This means that the two houses would likely have different installation costs.
The overall difficulty and duration of the project can have an additional impact on cost. If you want to start from scratch and have your HVAC contractor rip out an old system, your labor expenses will be higher. Other factors, including the location of your current HVAC system components and how easily accessible they are, can make a job more complex and lead to higher costs.
How Ductwork Affects HVAC System Cost
The availability and quality of existing ductwork also impacts HVAC System cost. A harder, more complex job usually means higher labor costs. For example, a vintage house that has no existing duct system requires more prep work than a home with vents and ducts already built into its structure.
Even if you do have ductwork currently in place, that doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing to a low-cost finished product. Ductwork is often subject to code standards, and if your HVAC contractor finds flaws that require repair, you may be obliged to carry out those repairs. However, better ductwork means more efficient heating and cooling, so while you’ll pay more upfront for the installation and repairs, you’ll save money over time with lower monthly bills.
How Equipment Type Affects HVAC Installation Costs
The choice between a roof-mounted or on-ground system is significant when it comes to HVAC installation cost. Your HVAC contractor may need to do riskier and more intensive prep work to determine whether your roof is strong enough to hold the system in the first place. If the roof is too weak, you may have to pay for additional work to bolster it.
On top of that, rooftop installations are both more dangerous and more difficult for installers. Roof-mounted HVAC systems cost more to install even on strong roofs that require no additional preparation. Other factors, such as whether you choose a split HVAC system in which heating and cooling equipment install in different locations, can also lead to increased labor expenses.
How SEER Value Affects Installation Costs
High-SEER air conditioners are generally more expensive than other AC units. This makes sense; a more efficient heating and cooling system has more complex engineering and design overall than its lower-efficiency counterparts.
Perhaps more importantly, proper installation can determine whether your high-SEER AC unit actually functions up to its full potential. To make the most of an already expensive purchase, highly experienced, competent contractors should handle high-SEER unit installations. Improper installation may mean that your expensive AC unit fails to justify your initial investment in efficiency. While a more experienced HVAC contractor is likely to charge higher labor costs, spending more on equipment and labor is likely to pay off in the long run, especially if you use your AC system frequently.