The Costs & Complications of Replacing an HVAC System In New Jersey
If you’re in an older home in New Jersey, there’s a good chance you’ll start needing HVAC maintenance more and more often. HVAC systems don’t last forever, and over time, they’ll start to break down frequently. Eventually, they can become a money pit – and that’s when it’s time to start thinking about upgrades.
Additionally, modern air conditioning and heating systems can be vastly more energy-efficient than older models. Anything manufactured in this century is going to be far better than systems that are more than twenty years old. It may take a while, but HVAC upgrades can ultimately pay for themselves through lowered energy bills month after month.
Plus, we’ve been seeing more and more extreme temperatures across the US. In some cases, such as the recent episode in Texas, the power grid itself can fail if too much demand is put on it. Upgrading to a better HVAC system can help ensure our power grids are always able to keep up with demand, even when temperatures spike.
Of course, installing a new HVAC system isn’t cheap – but it doesn’t have to break the bank either. In this guide, we’ll discuss your options, as well as the average costs involved.
What Is an HVAC System?
First, just to clear up what we’re discussing. HVAC stands for Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning. It’s a catch-all term for pretty much all forms of heating and air conditioning that rely on ducts, pipes, or other loops. An HVAC system, therefore, includes both indoor and outdoor units, as well as the air filters, ducts, and other components necessary for the heating and air conditioning units to function.
Broadly speaking, this will include:
The indoor and outdoor AC units
A heat pump, if used
Other filtration systems such as UV treatment
Ductwork, vents, or piping
Whole-house humidifiers or dehumidifiers which are directly connected to the ductwork
Control systems such as thermostats
The term HVAC does not include self-contained units such as window AC units or space heaters, or standalone humidifiers and dehumidifiers. There’s nothing wrong with these, and they can be quite useful, they’re just not what people mean when they talk about “HVAC systems.”
Factors affecting the costs of HVAC upgrades
There’s no single guideline as to how much your HVAC upgrades may cost. For that, you’ll want to contact New Jersey HVAC maintenance specialists to look at your current system and ductwork, as well as your home, and then make recommendations for upgrades.
In hot areas, air conditioners will be more expensive. In cold areas, heaters will be more expensive. This is simply because of the extra work they’ll have to put in to maintain the desired temperature. A good HVAC installation specialist will choose units based on the expected usage based on the typical weather.
If a home lacks central air and ductwork, it can be installed, but it will be expensive and require several days’ work. In these cases, the contractor may even recommend a different type of system – such as mini-split heat pump units – to avoid the difficulty of installing central air. This may also be the case if the ductwork is in poor shape and would otherwise require substantial repairs or upgrades.
Size of the home:
This one is pretty obvious. The bigger the home, the bigger the HVAC system will need to be to properly maintain temperatures.
The type of HVAC system:
Here’s where you really want NJ HVAC maintenance specialists advising you. They’ll be able to help you weigh the costs and benefits of each potential type of upgrade. The type of HVAC system you choose will dictate both the up-front costs, as well as ongoing costs over the years ahead.
Let’s dig into this further.
Typical Costs and Challenges For Major Types Of HVAC Systems
Broadly speaking, you’ve got two major types of HVAC systems you could choose: a traditional AC + Furnace combination, or a system based on one or more heat pumps. Here’s a brief breakdown of those options.
1 – Central air conditioning
A central AC system utilizes a single unit, usually placed in the basement or another out-of-the-way area, which produces all the cold air. This is then blown throughout the house through a series of ducts. There will also be a large outdoor unit, which is used as the heat exchange, blowing the hot air from your home into the outdoors.
Central AC units benefit from having robust filtration, as well as the option to add additional features such as de/humidifying or UV treatment. When well-maintained, they can effectively blow air throughout the house. However, they can be energy-inefficient, and there will be ongoing costs maintaining the ductwork.
At a bare minimum, expect to pay $3,000-$4,000 for even a basic central AC unit, and potentially as much as $10,000 or more for a particularly large unit. There will also be a few thousand for installation, usually around $5,000.
2 – Central furnace
Here in New Jersey, most people choose a natural gas-powered furnace if they choose to have a single unit. Like central AC, this is a large piece of machinery that generates large amounts of hot air, which is blown through the ductwork. It shares the same drawbacks as central AC, as well as potentially being quite noisy while in operation.
Prices are similar as well, ranging from $3,000 to $8,000+ depending on the size of your home. On the plus side, running on gas means fuel costs will be extremely low.
3 – Ductwork upgrades
As mentioned above, if your home lacks central ductwork, or that ductwork is too old to be maintained, you could be looking at substantial extra costs. Whole-house ductwork can easily add another $5,000 – $10,000 to the project, including materials and labor. This is why we often discourage ductwork upgrades if heat pumps are an option.
4 – Heat Pumps
The major alternative to traditional AC and furnace units is the heat pump. A heat pump is a single unit that handles both heating and cooling. This is a newer HVAC technology and is becoming extremely popular due to its lower long-term costs. Heat pumps are far more efficient than older AC and furnace combinations.
A single heat pump will cost more than either a central AC or furnace, often over $10,000. However, you’re only buying one unit, rather than two, so the overall cost is lower than installing a traditional system.
Another option are mini-split systems, where each room gets its own dedicated small heat pump + outside unit. These will typically cost in the area of $2,000 – $3,000 per room. This can get pricey, but it’s often cheaper than installing ductwork. Also, once you have the mini splits in place, you gain a lot of control over your home’s air conditioning, since you can dictate the temperature of each room. This can lead to even greater cost savings over time.
Count On Air Temp Service for HVAC Maintenance in NJ
In short, there are a lot of factors that can affect the cost of an HVAC upgrade. If you think it’s time for a new heating and cooling solution, your best move is to contact New Jersey HVAC specialists for a consultation on your upgrade options!