“How Much Does a Furnace and an Air Conditioner Cost?” Asks Lisa in Roseville, CA

Lisa in Roseville, CA had a tragedy befall her this summer. Her AC broke down and is no longer with us, may it rest in peace. Lisa says:

“I don’t think I have to tell you that this has been a hot summer here in Roseville. Like any sane person, I used my AC…a lot. Until recently, it was chugging along just fine. Last week, though, it started blowing hot air and now it won’t turn on at all. My HVAC system is about 20 years old (maybe even older!), and I’m told this is long past the usual lifespan for both my furnace and my air conditioner. They’ve been very good to me over the years, but I’m ready to put them to rest and invest in replacements.

So, my question is, how much does a furnace and an air conditioner cost to replace at the same time? I’ve heard that replacing both at once is a cost-efficient way to handle a situation like mine, but before I went ahead and did it, I wanted to ask the most knowledgeable HVAC pro I know. What do you think?”

Well, Lisa, first of all, flattery will get you everywhere; I appreciate your kind words about our residential heating and cooling services expertise. It has been a hot summer in Roseville, and throughout Northern California, and situations like yours are not unusual. In fact, 20 years is a long life for any HVAC system, especially around here, so I’m guessing you’ve been good about your regular maintenance check-ups.

Anyway, your suspicion is right: it is a smart move to get both replaced at once. It will cost in the range of $2,500 on the low end to a shade over $6,000 on the high end to replace your furnace and air conditioner. The reasons for the large price discrepancies are nuanced but definitely worth looking into below.

How Much Does a Furnace and Air Conditioner Cost? Basic Price Estimates

calculating furnace and ac replacement costsLet’s start with going into a bit more detail about the real heart of Lisa’s question: how much does a furnace and an air conditioner cost to replace? There are a lot of choices when it comes to HVAC brands, but, as I said, the general range goes from about $2,500 on up to around $6,000, including labor costs. Costs are not static, though, so many other factors could influence the price you pay for your new HVAC system including:

  • Smart or standard options: Another question I hear a lot is are smart thermostats worth it? And while, yes, they generally are over time, investing in this kind of energy-efficient tech will make the initial price of your new HVAC system go up.
  • The size of your home: Getting both a new furnace and an AC unit at the same time is a great chance to make sure you have a unit calibrated to the exact size of your home. For bigger houses, though, this could lead to a price bump. A trained HVAC professional is an invaluable resource when it comes to getting the right size unit for efficiency and effectiveness.
  • The brand: As with any other product, the brand you choose can affect your new HVAC system’s price. Another natural question, then, is whether some brands are worth the money or not. Again, like any other product, the answer is that all brands have their strengths and weaknesses. The key is finding the right fit for your individual home, which a trained HVAC tech can help you do.

 The Cost Advantages to Replacing a Furnace and AC at the Same Time

As a Roseville resident, Lisa lives in a Mediterranean climate, as do the rest of us here in Northern California. That means that our summers are warm, hot, and dusty, but our winters are cool and damp. This is relevant to our AC and furnace cost discussion because we generally have to use both in any given year, meaning homeowners in our area are often in the position of having to replace their entire HVAC system at the same time. As I said above, this is actually a good situation to be in—in the long-run.

Here are some of the biggest cost and efficiency advantages to replacing both the furnace and air conditioner at the same time:

  • Matched systems complement each other: Lisa’s furnace and AC share many of the same pieces including the blower, thermostat, and ducts. By replacing both at the same time, you can make sure that you’re investing in maximum efficiency across the board, rather than mixing and matching old, inefficient parts with modern high-performing one. In the long run, this can save you money because maximizing energy efficiency lowers your monthly heating and cooling costs. A more efficient system is also less likely to need repairs and more likely to have a longer lifespan as it won’t have as many miles on it, to put it in car terms.
  • A single installation cost: Installing either a furnace or an air conditioner is a complicated job that’s nearly impossible to do yourself. Basically, you’re going to need to enlist a trained and experienced HVAC professional to get this job done right, and part of the cost for a new furnace or air conditioning unit is the installation fee that a technician will charge. Getting them both installed at once is a great way to save on this fee compared to two individual installations.
  • Easier to track your HVAC system’s age: Lisa was fortunate: she knew both her AC and furnace were about 20 years old, and this made it easy for her to decide to replace them at the same time. She’s not left playing a guessing game, making call after call for repairs. I’ve talked in the past about how to break a cycle of costly HVAC service calls, and one of the easiest ways is to know when it’s time for a replacement. Life is busy, and I know you don’t think about your HVAC nearly as much as I do. Having a furnace and an air conditioner that are the same age will make it so much easier for you to easily keep track of when they need to be replaced again in the future.

So, there you have it. It’s definitely the right cost-effective move to get your furnace and AC replaced at the same time, going for an all around new beginning with your HVAC system. While I offered a general cost range, an experienced HVAC professional will be able to give you a more exact number. In fact, if you suspect you’re in a similar situation to Lisa’s, I’d highly recommend getting in touch with your local HVAC pro as soon as you have time.

In general, techs are happy to come out to your home and give you an estimate for your new investment, often free of charge. Go ahead and mourn your old, faithful system—it’s only natural after all you’ve been through together—but once you’re done, reach out to an HVAC technician and get ready for your fresh, energy efficient start.

Learn more about the costs—and ease—of replacing both your AC and furnace at once. Contact the trained professionals at Bell Brothers for a free in-home estimate today.

Image courtesy pixabay.com