The Average Cost for a HVAC System

Heating and cooling systems can be expensive. Get multiple estimates.

HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These integrated systems make up what controls the temperature and air flow throughout a given home or place of business. A quality system may last for years with slight periods of maintenance and cleaning though initial costs can vary widely based on the state lived in, and the size of the building being heated and cooled.


The creation of the HVAC system went alongside with the Industrial Revolution as newer methods for streamlining multiple mechanical units were invented. The elements of heating, air conditioning and ventilation are integrated to the point that any development of one led to the improvement of the others as businesses looked to streamline costs by creating smarter heated and cooled buildings. Residential homes now benefit from this technology also.


Consumers receive a direct benefit from these more efficient heating and cooling systems in the form of lower overall cost to heat and cool the home. The advent of "central" heating and cooling allows for more even distribution of air quality throughout the home this lowering the overall expenditure of fuel or electricity needed to operate furnaces or air conditioners.

Residential HVAC Systems

The cost of a residential HVAC system depends on its quality, the area of the country it's being built in, and what fuel (oil, gas, electric) the system will be using. In addition, the initial cost of a HVAC system is not the complete cost of the system. Maintenance costs, monthly utility bills and efficiency ratings should all be considered. "For central air conditioners, efficiency is rated in SEER," according to "The heating industry uses a rating called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) to measure the efficiency of converting gas into energy for heating. Heat pump efficiency gets expressed in a couple of ways, either HSPF or COE."

The average cost will vary from brand to brand and state to state but the majority of homeowners can expect to spend at least $5,000 on purchase of heating, cooling and ventilation systems alone.

Commercial HVAC Systems

Systems designed for large office buildings, warehouses and schools obviously carry a much larger price tag than the smaller residential systems. Companies, including Lennox, are constantly refining construction methods to provide a cheaper and more energy efficient product. Lennox in particular has worked to produce an intelligent line of HVAC systems.

"The Energence rooftop unit is the industry's only RTU line designed to achieve a 17.0 SEER, more than 30 percent over U.S. DOE minimum standards," writes Lennox in the fall 2009. "For the widest energy impact, Lennox has incorporated exceptional advances into the most popular sizes of light commercial rooftop units."

Buyers for commercial can expect to spend at least $15,000 for the smallest units, not including installation and maintenance.


Heating and cooling systems must be cleaned periodically to maintain air quality and efficiency. Properly cared for equipment leads to longer machine life and lower costs to the business or consumer.

"In order to maintain acceptable indoor air quality levels, it is commonly recommended that mold, fungi, dust and other contaminants be cleaned out of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system," according to, "It lessens the likelihood of indoor air pollution in the building and may help to alleviate health and comfort complaints by occupants."