Category Archives: HVAC

Heat Pump Prices 2017-2018: Air Source Heat Pump Installation Costs

The Ultimate Guide to Air Source Heat Pumps for Homes

Air Sources Heat pumps (ASHPs) are rapidly gaining market share because of their proven efficiency advantage over gas and oil furnaces. Modern high-efficiency air-source heat pump can deliver up to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes. — This is possible because a heat pump absorbs and moves heat (both heating and cooling are delivered via forced air distribution) rather than converting it from a fuel like combustion heating systems do.

Trane 14 SEER Package Heat Pump Installed by American Cooling And Heating

This air exchange heat pump buying guide will help you decide whether a heat pump is the right heating and cooling option for your home. Let’s start with the bottom line: Heat pump prices and the cost of installation.

How Much Does a New Heat Pump Cost?

Heat pump split systems include a heat pump and an air handler or gas furnace and evaporator coil. Here are your potential equipment and installation costs:

Heat pump only: Here are the three cost tiers based on efficiency and performance, factors explored in detail below:

  • Basic heat pumps: $1,200-$2,100
  • Better heat pumps: $1,850-$2,900
  • Best heat pumps: $2,750-$4,200

Air handler costs: Split system heat pumps are usually paired with an air handler, but many work with a gas furnace, too. Here are air handler costs in two basic grades:

  • Basic air handlers and coil: $550-$975
  • Better air handlers and coil: $800-$1,750

Heat pump installation costs:

Your total cost installed will depend on the size of the unit, since the larger it is, the more refrigerant is needed, the complexity of the installation and whether an air handler is being installed too.

  • Heat pump installation, no air handler: $1,200-$1,700
  • Heat pump and air handler installation: $1,900-$3,200

Pro Tip: Make sure your contractor gets a permit to install your new heat pump. The permit includes a mechanical inspection to ensure the unit is properly installed.

Did you Know?

Heat pumps cost far less to operate than gas furnaces because they are two to three times more efficient.

In fact, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships found that ASHPs offer a legitimate space heating alternative in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions; when the old heating units are completely replaced, the annual ASHPs savings are around 3,000kWh (or $459) as compared to electric resistant heaters and 6,200kWh (or $948) as compared to oil systems.

When displacing oil (i.e. the oil system remains, but operates less frequently), the average annual savings is near 3,000 kWh (or about $300).

While furnaces burn fossil fuel to create heat, heat pumps heat and cool using electricity to circulate refrigerant.

When heating, the refrigerant captures heat outside and dumps it inside, and it does the opposite when cooling (heat pumps are air conditioners too).

Yes, the electricity used to power a heat pump is often created by burning fossil fuel, but far less energy is required to produce the same amount of heat pump BTUs as furnace BTUs.

While you’ll pay more for a heat pump than you would for a gas furnace, the extra cost can be recouped through lower utility costs in 5-7 years.

Top 6 Reasons to Get a New Heat Pump

It’s possible you’re still considering your options, so here are the top 6 reasons to buy a new heat pump:

  • Repair costs to an existing heat pump are mounting (see Pro Tip below).
  • You’re not moving. The longer you plan to stay in your existing home, the more it makes sense to replace the heat pump rather than pay for even minor repairs. This is especially true if the new unit is significantly more efficient. You’ll start saving on energy costs from the first day of use.
  • Your current heat pump is running, but it’s getting older and has had repair issues. A preemptive decision to replace it before the next summer or winter can prevent you being without AC or heat when you need it most.
  • The old heat pump is losing efficiency with age – it costs more to run, even after having it cleaned and maintained.
  • You want improved energy efficiency and/or indoor comfort.
  • You’re building a home and deciding between a heat pump and a gas furnace.

Pro Tips: When repair costs of an old unit reach 50% of the cost of a new unit, it makes sense to put your money into a new heat pump. This is especially true if your heat pump is 10+ years old or you don’t plan to move soon. Even if you move, a newer heat pump will be more attractive to potential buyers than an old one with a history of repairs.

Also, beware of heat pump technicians that push repair of an older unit. This is a technique sometimes used by unscrupulous contractors. Their goal is to gain your trust, encourage you to pay for one or more repairs over the course of a few years and then sell you a new heat pump when it becomes clear that the old unit is too far gone to repair.

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New Furnace Cost – Gas Furnace Replacement vs. Repair – Furnace Buying Guide 2017-2018

Furnaces remain the most common way for homeowners in North America to heat their homes. This furnace buying guide has all the research needed to understand your furnace purchase and make a buying decision you’ll be happy with in the next 15-20 years. The focus is on gas furnaces, since most furnaces are fueled by natural gas (NG) or, with a simple gas valve change, liquid propane (LP). However, we also briefly discuss oil furnaces.

New Furnace Cost

When efficiency, size and performance are factored into the equation, expect these cost ranges for:

  • Basic furnaces: $750 to $1,475
  • Better furnaces: $1,000 to $2,150
  • Best furnaces: $1,850 to $2,800

Furnace installation costs are based on the complexity of the furnace, sheet metal work required to connect it to the ductwork and how difficult it is to access the installation location such as a crawlspace or attic. Expect estimates for installation in these ranges:

  • Basic furnace installation: $1,400 to $1,900
  • Better furnace installation: $1,750 to $2,200
  • Best furnace installation: $2,000 to $2,400

Reasons to Get a New Furnace

New Gas furnace and Duct Work

via Holliday Heating

If you are in an exploratory mode and wondering if a new furnace is the right move, here are the top seven reasons to buy a new furnace:

  • Repair costs on an existing furnace are 50% or more of the cost of a new furnace (33% for a furnace 12-15 years old; 25% of a furnace that is 15+)
  • You’re staying put – the longer you plan to live in your current home, the more it makes sense to put the money into new equipment (and conversely, if moving soon, repairing the furnace might make more sense)
  • It’s a preemptive move – your furnace is running, but you don’t know for how long due to age and/or past repair issues (worth considering where winters are harsh!)
  • Your gas bills are rising because the furnace is losing efficiency due to age (though you might want to have it cleaned and maintained to see if it significantly improves efficiency before deciding whether to replace it)
  • You want to improve efficiency
  • You want to upgrade climate control
  • You’ve built a home or addition that needs heating

Furnace repair vs. replace:

Some of you may have heard from an HVAC contractor that it is time for a new furnace, and perhaps you think the contractor is trying to sell you something you might not need. Well, skepticism is healthy in the repair vs. replace discussion when it is informed skepticism. Here’s a secret: HVAC contractors often make more money with a both/and approach. Repair it now; replace it later.

Charlie Greer is a seasoned HVAC contractor who owns a website called HVAC Profit Boosters with the motto, “Helping plumbing, HVAC, and electrical contractors become millionaires every day.” That tells you whose side he’s on. Speaking to HVAC contractors, Greer says:

Repair vs. Replace scenarios are tricky, because, once you bring up the topic of replacing the customer’s equipment, you stand the risk of the customer deciding to get bids, meaning that you could wind up getting neither the repair nor the replacement sale. In the long run, you make more money when they (homeowners) opt for the repair anyway. You get one repair now, possibly a few more down the road, then a higher price (due to inflation) when they ultimately replace it in the future.

Greer’s advice might be great for HVAC contractors, but not for homeowners. The bottom line is that if an HVAC contractor recommends replacing your furnace rather than repairing it, the person might be giving you sound advice, especially if the rationale involves some of the reasons from the above list.

Pro Tip: Make sure your HVAC contractor pulls a permit to install the new furnace, and that the job is properly inspected following the installation.

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Beat the Heat: Central Air Conditioning Cost – 2017 Buyer’s Guide

Staying cool during the sweltering heat of summer takes power. A fan helps, but doesn’t quite cut it. Portable air conditioners and window units are decent for single room use.

For a whole home, you’ll want a central system that can maintain steady temperatures in multiple rooms. Central AC delivers on power, yet there are many units to select from in the current market. Our buyer’s guide will walk you though the primary considerations such as appropriate models, installation costs, and other relevant factors to help you make to make the most informed decision.

via DiversePower

Basic Costs

In the current market, you can plan to spend between $3,500 and $7,500 for full installation of a central air conditioning system. The national average cost for a basic installation is just under $5,500.

These numbers translate to a licensed HVAC contractor installing the most feasible unit for your home. Installers’ expertise draws upon many factors, not the least of which is evaluating your current ductwork strengths and weaknesses, along with how well your home is insulated and will therefore retain the cool energy in your home.

via US Veteran Home Services Inc.

Did you know? When added to an existing forced-air heating system with the existing ductwork in place, a new central air unit for a typical 2,000 sq. ft. home will cost between $3,500 and $5,500 to install. However, if your home needs new ducts fabricated and put in place, then your total installation cost will range between $5,500 to $11,000 depending on the extent of work required to lay out the appropriate ductwork for the new central air conditioning system.

The ROI Factor

Part of what you pay for with most HVAC contractors are warranties. Modern units will typically run well for 7 to 15 years before needing replacement. Great units that are well maintained can operate for up to 18 years.

Generally, the return on investment, or ROI Factor, for central systems is a bit low. Contemporary home buyers have come to expect central air in their new home. At best, you’ll recoup 50% of the value you put into the central system at the time you sell your home. Compared with other home upgrades and improvements, such as updating insulation or installing a new roof, this is low.

With that said, the reliability of the system and how well it is maintained are arguably the most important factors for returning on the initial investment you make. Which is why warranty info matters. A contractor’s warranty will spell out how repairs are handled, in terms of cost, during the warranty period. Additionally, the manufacturer’s warranty covers the hardware and system parts that will be replaced should the need arise.

While extended warranties are tempting, they can add several thousands to the cost. Their value is debatable, as repairs may be actually less outside of these extended versions.

Plus, if you realize 10+ years is actually a good value for your system, a full replacement probably makes more sense than say $2,500 on repairs at that time. Ideally, the manufacturer of the unit includes a lifetime warranty on the original product.

Selecting The System – AKA Familiarizing Yourself With The Technical Nuances

While there are many features in the modern central AC units, some of that is bells and whistles, while others are the basics. The basics include:

  • BTU – this will determine size of the unit
  • EER – standard value noting energy efficiency, more obscure notation for central systems, less obscure for those in hotter climates
  • SEER – popular variable for noting energy efficiency in seasonal climates
  • Single-stage vs. two-stage – single-stage is the historic norm, two-stage offers power saving and noise reduction

Size and energy efficiency are generally the two main factors that govern most consumers when it comes to purchasing a new central AC system. With both BTU and SEER, the higher the number, the better the unit. However, and this can’t be emphasized enough, bigger isn’t always the most appropriate for every home.

Square footage of the rooms to be cooled in a home, will relate to the BTU calculation. So, say there is 1,000 sq. ft. of space to be cooled, then the general rule is that it will require a unit that powers at roughly 20,000 BTU’s per hour. If it were instead 2,000 sq. ft. of space, the number of BTU’s requried would be about 34,000 BTU’s per hour.

Did you know? If you were to take a central AC unit that has a capacity of 34,000 BTU’s, and install it for a smaller, 1,000 sq. ft. space, it would be detrimental and counter-productive to your overall energy efficiency. In fact, the AC unit would cycle on and off frequently, which would ultimately require greater energy than continuous operation, as well as lead to an increased operational wear-and-tear.

SEER is the variable that will drive decision between models as much as BTU’s. In fact, some model names among the top brands are based solely on the SEER factor, such as Goodman’s GSX13 (with up to a 13 SEER capacity).

In today’s world, the SEER range on the market is from 13 to 26 typically. A decade ago and earlier, finding models under SEER 13 was common, but U.S. standards in 2006 have lead the industry to adopt a minimum of 13 SEER for all manufactured products going forward.

Did you know? The bigger the SEER number, the more cost savings you’ll likely see on your energy bills over the course of a year. 😉

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