Controlling temperature and humidity levels in your home is the key to maintaining its livability. A functional air conditioner and heater do exactly that. Opting for an air conditioner and heater should be considered a priority, and not a matter of choice. Both your air conditioner and heater work round the clock to maintain a consistent and comfortable house temperature. So It makes sense to replace both units at the same time with a “matched” furnace and air conditioner designed to work together to deliver the energy efficiency and indoor comfort that matches your climate and/or budget requirements. This should be done when both Furnaces and air conditioners are approaching the end of their useful life. Most furnaces and ACs have an effective life of 15 years.
AC and furnaces can be classified into three groups – basic, better, and best depending on their efficiency and performance.
This guide gives complete details with the current heating (furnace) and ac unit combo costs for basic, better and best equipment. We have also completed a Furnace Prices Guide and a Central AC Prices Guide that provide more detail on current costs, properly sizing your HVAC system, brands and choosing the right size and efficiency for your purposes.
Let’s get right to the cost ranges for basic, better and best equipment. From there, we discuss cost factors and other details that will assist you in making an informed decision on a heating and AC split system.
Heating and AC Unit Combo Tiers
|Tier||Furnace AFUE||Furnace Type||AC SEER||AC Type||Installed Cost|
|Basic||80% to 93%||Single- Stage||13 to 15 SEER||Single Stage||$3,600 to $6,000|
|Better||94% to 97%||Single or Two Stage||16 to 20 SEER||Single or Two Stage||$4,500 to $8,250|
|Best||97% to 98.5%||Variable – Capacity||19 to 26 SEER||Variable – Capacity||$6,300 to $ 11, 750|
The category consists of single-stage furnaces and ACs. The AFUE of basic furnaces is usually between 80 and 93 percent, whereas basic ACs provide 13-15 SEER. The installed cost of a basic system is usually between $3,600 and $6,000. Though the initial cost of a basic system is less, their operating cost is quite high (due to their low efficiency). Basic systems offer very few performance features. While many basic furnaces have a single-speed blower motor that runs at maximum speed when on, some come equipped with a multi-speed motor that speeds up and down in multiple steps.
Two-stage furnaces and air conditioners offer a combination of moderate cost with improved performance that appeals to homeowners. They run on low up to 65% of the time to maximize efficiency and climate control. Two-stage systems run on high when a significant boost in heating or cooling is required due to rapidly changing outside temperatures or an adjustment to the thermostat.
Variable-capacity blowers slowly speed up and slow down as the furnace heats up and cools off during the cycle.
Thermostat must support two-stage heating and cooling. Any brand can be used including nest, ecobee, Lux, etc.
Best furnaces and ACs are variable-capacity systems. Best ACs provide 19-26 SEER. Known for their high efficiency, best furnaces provide 97-98.5percent AFUE. Their installed cost is usually between $6,300 and $11,750. Though their initial cost is the highest, expect to save more in the long run. These systems are famed for their superior efficiency and are designed to deliver the best climate control.
Furnace and AC Combo Cost Factors
These are some factors that will impact your furnace and AC combination cost.
- Efficiency and performance: The higher the efficiency of your system, the more its cost.
- Capacity: The more heating and cooling capacity the system has, the more it will cost. Central air conditioners range in size from 1.5 tons (18,000 BTU) to 5.0 tons (60,000 BTU) capacity. Furnaces start at about 45,000 BTU and range up to 150,000 BTU.
- Ease of installation: Expect to pay more to get a furnace installed in difficult areas such as a tight crawlspace or attic.
- The cost of living in your city: People living in expensive cities may have to pay more to get their system installed.
Sizing your Furnace and AC System
The benefits of having a perfectly sized furnace and AC cannot be emphasized enough. It’s crucial that your furnace and air conditioner are sized properly to adequately heat and cool your home.
A perfectly sized furnace and AC will work the way you expect it to. An undersized AC and furnace, on the other hand, will fail to deliver optimum comfort. Additionally, undersized furnaces and air conditioners have to put in a lot of work, which means high heating and cooling costs for you. And if you think bigger is better, think again!
Some common problems caused by an oversized furnace or AC include:
- Improper cooling/heat distribution
- Heat exchanger problems
- Reduced efficiency and system lifespan
How to Correctly Size Your Furnace and AC
Calculate the Square Footage Area of Your Home
Measure the length and width of your rooms (exclude the ones that do not have vents or the rooms that you do not intend to heat or cool). Multiply these measurements (length X width). To get the total square footage of your home, add up all measurements.
Calculate a Rough Estimate
Most AC’s and furnaces have their capacity rated in BTUs (British Thermal Units). To find out what capacity furnace you need, multiply the total square footage of your home with BTUs per square foot. If, for instance, you decide to allow 30-45BTUs per square foot (for say a 2,000 square feet home), your furnace size would be 2,000X30/45 BTU =60,000-90,000 BTU.
Consult an Installation Expert
Remember that this is a rough estimate. Even if your calculations are accurate, there are several factors such as your local climate, your home’s layout, and the amount of insulation that must be considered. An HVAC expert can help you account for these and other factors.
Types of AC and Furnace Combos and Their Costs
Apart from the furnace and AC combo, you have two other central HVAC choices– heat pump and air handler, and heat pump and gas furnace.
Heat pumps and dual fuel systems (heat pump and gas furnace) like furnaces and AC’s can be classified into three categories – basic, better, and best.
Heat pump and air handler: These systems are growing in popularity in warm and moderate climates. Newer ultra-efficient heat pumps are also suitable for cold climates.
Heat pump and gas furnace: Also called a dual fuel system, the heat pump in this type of HVAC system handles the heating duties when temperatures are above freezing. The system switches to furnace heating in below-freezing temperatures, the range where heat pumps lose efficiency and can become ineffective.
The cost of replacing a basic heat pump is between $3,850 and $6,400, whereas dual fuel system replacement can cost you between $4,150 and $6,825.
Expect to pay between $4,925 and $8,785 to get a better heat pump replaced. Getting your better dual fuel system replaced can cost you between $5,250 and $9,100.
If you want to get a high-performance heat pump replaced, expect to pay between $6,775 and $12,100. Best dual fuel system replacement usually costs between $7,150 and $12,450.
How to Get the Best Furnace and Air Conditioner Prices
- Firstly, keep in mind that installation quality is always the most important thing for residential HVAC project. So never sacrifice contractor quality for lower price.
- Secondly, remember to look up the latest tax credit and rebates as we talked above.
- Thirdly, ask for at least 3 bids before you make the decision. You can click here to get 3 free estimates for your local contractor, and this estimate already takes rebates and tax credit into consideration and filter unqualified contractors automatically.
Never settle for an amateur. A self-proclaimed know-all expert will charge you less, however, it’s highly likely that they will commit a mistake, and you will end up spending more on maintenance. No matter how complex your HVAC replacement project, our team at Leonard Splaine will come up with a tailor-made solution. To talk to an HVAC expert, call at 703-494-2855