As businesses, schools, government agencies and other operations seek to reopen after shutdowns, commercial property owners are starting to consider how indoor air quality impacts the spread of viral diseases.1
Experts suggest that high-performing HVAC units can help mitigate the spread of viruses in confined spaces.1 This point is made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).2,3,4
Once you complete HVAC training and enter the field, you could get a lot more questions about HVAC unit replacements and upgrades—and, of course, how much either could cost.
Let’s take a look at the average HVAC unit replacement cost, so that you can talk more confidently with customers as questions come up.
What’s the Average HVAC Unit Replacement Cost?
It’s important to note that an exact HVAC unit replacement cost can depend on several factors.5 But, some customers may request a ballpark estimate, so that they have something to wrap their minds around.
On average, it can cost anywhere between $4,820 to $9,350 to replace a standard HVAC system that comprises a new central A/C unit and gas furnace.5 If new ductwork is included in the replacement, the average price tag can rise to around $6,820 to $12,350.5
Is there a recent example?
In September 2020, Blount County, near Knoxville, Tennessee, received approval from the County Commission to spend $238,043 on failing HVAC units in schools that required replacement.6
The proposed funding would cover the replacement of 19 units spread across eight different schools.6 If you divide the total cost ($238,043) by the number of HVAC units (19), that comes out to a cost of approximately $12,528.58 a unit.
What Goes into Calculating the Cost of an HVAC Unit Replacement?
The precise HVAC unit replacement cost can vary.
In order for technicians to offer commercial property owners or homeowners accurate estimates, there are numerous factors that should be taken into account:
The personnel required to remove and replace an entire unit should be considered. Customers also need to think about the contractor’s profit margin, which usually hovers around 40% of the overall HVAC unit replacement cost.5
The overall complexity of the project can impact the final price tag. For example, it’ll typically require fewer techs and take less time if an HVAC unit is located on the ground level as opposed to being tucked away in a crawlspace.
The size of the property can determine the length of ductwork required to properly distribute air throughout. Bigger projects typically result in more ductwork. This can add to the overall cost.
Quality of Equipment
Although there are a number of brands from which to choose, the well-known names tend to be more expensive. However, some of the lesser-known models HVAC techs may be familiar with can deliver quality similar to the big-name brands but for a lower price tag.
How Can Customers Save Money on an HVAC Unit Replacement?
Once customers learn what their HVAC unit replacement cost could be, they might ask for tips on how to save some money on the project.
While they may not be able to lower the cost of the new equipment and installation much, taking steps to maximize energy efficiency could help them save money in the long run.
Here are some worthwhile suggestions you can offer to the owners of commercial buildings, schools, and even residential properties.
Improve Energy Efficiency
Perhaps one of the most important strategies for saving money on heating and cooling is to boost energy efficiency. When a unit works harder than it should or is left running unnecessarily, customers are essentially flushing money down the drain
You can recommend setting the thermostat to work only when people are in the home or building, so the HVAC unit isn’t running overtime. It’s also important for customers to ensure their systems are switched off when not used for longer periods of time, such as during a vacation.
Replace Air Filters Regularly
HVAC air filters can help improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by catching pollutants as the air passes through an HVAC system, but these components can hinder the unit’s functioning if not cleaned regularly.
When an air filter is full of dust and gunk, an HVAC system generally must use additional power to force the air through. This can result in higher energy consumption and, in turn, operational costs. Customers can avoid this problem by cleaning or replacing air filters on a routine basis.
Make Sure the Building Is Properly Insulated
Even the highest quality HVAC replacement can’t make up for shortcomings in the building itself.
In order to give the unit the best chances of working efficiently, building owners will want to make sure the space is properly insulated. Sealing openings where air can escape can limit potential energy losses and help lower utility bills.
Educating Customers about Energy Efficiency Ratings
One of the greatest benefits of replacing an HVAC unit can be the opportunity to upgrade to a newer, more energy efficient model.
When talking to your customers about HVAC unit replacement costs, be sure to educate them about HVAC energy efficiency ratings.
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