Great question. Your HVAC system plays a big role in your daily life even though you probably ever think about it. In fact, the less you have to think about your HVAC system, the better. Its role is to keep your environment at the perfect temperature, which means you’re never too hot or too cold.
So, which HVAC system should you purchase to fit your space, price point, and needs? Well, we don’t recommend any single brand as a solution for every situation. But we can help you think through the important aspects of your purchase before you settle on a final decision. You may first need to know some HVAC system basics before getting to brand names.
How Much is a New HVAC System?
Having a new residential HVAC system installed costs anywhere from $1,500 to $12,000. It’s quite the range. On average, the cost is $7,000. Note that these are the prices to install an entirely new HVAC system. In many cases, unless you’re 100% set on purchasing a new system, HVAC systems can be repaired and maintained. Not to dissuade you if you do want a new system, but it is worth noting.
The cost of a new HVAC system itself ranges from $4,500 to $9,500. Then, you have to factor in labor cost to install the system. Most HVAC companies charge an hourly labor rate of $75 to $150, with a minimum total labor fee Not that the minimum labor fee matters much for HVAC installation, as you will certainly exceed the minimum value: it takes 4 to 8 hours to install a new HVAC system. Of course, you then have to factor in additional costs like taxes and shipping.
If your HVAC system – by design of your home of property – rests on top of your home, you’ll also have the additional cost of renting a crane service. There are some air conditioning (especially swamp cooler) units that can be physically lifted to a roof, as they average 60-180lbs. However, when you’re talking an entire HVAC system, the weight is often hundreds (or thousands) of pounds.
The good news is that a new residential HVAC system can be installed in a single day. The bad news is that HVAC system installation really does require advanced technical knowledge, so you likely won’t be able to save cost by doing any work yourself.
How Long Does an HVAC System Last?
It’s also important to know how long an HVAC system lasts before you invest in a new unit. Think of purchasing a new HVAC system in the same way as purchasing a new roof. The price is quite high, relative to other day-to-day purchases, but the improvement to your property lasts a long time.
Most HVAC systems last 15 to 25 years. Your purchase will either pay off in comfort for perhaps decades to come, or that it will raise the value of your property for when you sell. Either way, the long life of your new HVAC installation makes its price worthwhile.
One of the best ways to keep your HVAC system lasting to its full potential lifespan it to keep up with regular HVAC maintenance. Part of your HVAC maintenance can be quick checks to air filters, fans, and general external view of the system for any obvious signs of damage or leakage. The rest can be done often in a quick inspection by a trained HVAC professional.
You don’t need to call in HVAC technicians very often for HVAC maintenance. Even as little as a once-per-year check is often adequate to head off any major problems. It’s worth the small expense to make sure your system is functioning at full capacity, its parts clean, and any moving belts or mechanical pieces are in top shape. The entire idea of having a maintenance check is to keep repair costs as low as possible.
Size of Space and Segmentation
We don’t recommend any single HVAC brand as the solution for all situations. A lot of choosing the right HVAC brand and system comes down to preference. Of course, you need to take your home or property’s size into consideration when selecting your HVAC system.
You also need to consider whether or not a single thermostat will suffice for your home, or if you want/ need the ability to heat/ cool individual parts of your property, independently. For example, most office buildings have separate HVAC controls for each office space. You could do the same kind of thing if you have a larger home, with segmented spaces.
Major HVAC Brands
There are only 6 major HVAC brands that manufacture in the U.S. It may surprise you to learn, however, that there are over 150 brand names available. Basically, each of the major HVAC manufacturers sells their products under various brand names as part of their marketing strategy.
So, just in case you don’t know, here are the major HVAC brands in the U.S. today, along with some of their other well-known brand names:
- Carrier (Bryant, Payne, Tempstar)
- Goodman (Amana)
- Lennox (Armstrong, Concord)
- Trane (American Standard)
- York (Coleman, Lux)
Each HVAC manufacturer in the U.S. produces high quality systems. There isn’t really a single brand that stands out significantly more than the others, and there likewise isn’t one that substantially lags behind. Ultimately, brand is more a matter of preference, along with making sure the system is a good fit for your home or property.
Professional HVAC Help is the Easiest Way to Go
At the end of the day, the easiest way to make sure you get the right HVAC system for you is to hire a professional HVAC company or technician. There are so many variables that come into play for selecting the right system, even just based on system capacity. Professionals can also help you find a system that fits the right budget for you, and even help you create an ongoing maintenance plan.