HVAC Installation Time - How Long Does it Take to Install a New AC System?

People often ask us questions about their upcoming heating and air conditioning installation, and one of the more common questions asked is "How long does it take to install a new HVAC system?" As per usual, the answer is "it depends." But, since none of you are willing to accept that as an answer - sigh - I'll do my best to explain the various factors affecting furnace and AC installation times. Those of you who have read our articles know that we are a U.S. Veteran-Owned and operated company that built its reputation on giving honest, straight answers...this article will be no different. There are several factors that affect HVAC installation time (HVAC = Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning), such as the size of your house, the type of furnace or air conditioner being installed, ahem...how many stupid questions you ask...(joking), and other factors, such as ductwork replacement times and various other requirements. In this article, we will take a look at a few of the more common factors affecting how long it will take to install your new air conditioner, as well as some of the most common HVAC installation times.

Common Factors Affecting HVAC Installation Time 

There are typically three factors that affect how long it will take to install a new air conditioning and heating system: 

  1. The size of your home affects HVAC installation time.
  2. The type of HVAC installation (changeout vs ductwork replacement, etc.).
  3. The type/location of the air conditioner being installed affects HVAC installation time.

 Let’s take a look at each factor, in order:

HVAC installation time

1. The Size of Your Home Affects HVAC Installation Time.

 Do you live in a 1,500 sq/ft. home, a 3,500 sq/ft. Santa Clarita box-home, or a 10,000 sq/ft. mansion? One of the biggest factors affecting HVAC installation time is the size of your home, or more specifically, how many heating and air conditioning units are being installed. 

 How many air conditioning units you have will affect your HVAC installation time.

 Generic Whiny Californian Voice: “But Tim, how much will this affect my AC installation time?” 

 Oh just wait, baby bird…I’ll feed you…in the meantime, take a look at this article and see what size air conditioner is right for your house:

What Size AC Do I Need for My Home?

2. The Type of Job Affects HVAC Installation Time.

 There are generally two types of heating and air conditioning installations: a changeout, and a full system replacement

 Changeout Installation Times

 A “changeout” is when a furnace or air conditioner is being replaced, but all of the other equipment is staying the same. So, for instance, if your air conditioner is getting up there in age, and the HVAC techs are removing the old air conditioner, replacing it with a new one, and keeping the existing ductwork, then this would be referred to as a “changeout.”

  • Installation Time: A changeout typically takes one day, or 8 hours of labor.

HVAC Installation Time for a Full System Replacement

 A full HVAC system replacement takes longer than a changeout because the HVAC technicians will be replacing everything, including all of your ductwork, rewiring the thermostats (if needed), and any other things that may be required. As such, having a full system replaced will affect your overall installation time, as well as your total HVAC installation cost.

Did you buy that beautiful California ranch-style home built in 1907? Well, the air conditioning installed in the 60’s probably needs to be replaced, and whereas they certainly don’t make them like they used to, it’s on its final leg. The ductwork…? It's Asbestos (which, by the way, will probably only hurt you if you pulverize it and snort it…a common weekend pastime, I know. It’s typically most dangerous to those who were around it in particle-form day-in, and day out…shipyard workers, miners, etc.) End tirade. 

  • Installation Time: A full HVAC system replacement will typically take 3-5 days.

Generally speaking, a full HVAC system replacement will take around three days to complete; one day for the changeout, and two days to do the ductwork. More extensive ductwork might require three or four days.

how long does it take to install a new HVAC system?

3. The Type and Location of the Air Conditioner Being Installed Will Affect Your AC Installation Time.

Are you having a condensing unit replaced or crane-lifting a packaged unit onto the roof of your condo? (If you have no idea what I just said, try this article: Split vs Packaged AC Units; What’s the Difference?) Factors like this can drastically affect your HVAC installation time. If you have a good contractor, he’ll take this into account and put extra guys on his team to compensate for the extra time that is required.

Regardless, location is something you often can’t change…and if you do, it’ll take time. Is your furnace in your subterranean California basement, or in an easily-accessible equipment closet in the garage? These questions represent the “X-factor,” and should be discussed with your contractor once you choose one. This article will help:

How to Choose an HVAC Constractor.

  • HVAC Installation Time: 1 day to ∞

And yes...I just used a lemniscate in an article about heating and air conditioning… 


You may also be interested in: 

Tip: Avoid Overpaying for Your New AC System

As you get closer to buying your new air conditioner, it's important to know what a fair price should be.  Here's a short video about an online calculator that can help you get a fair price, and even show you what your HVAC installation time will be:


Final Thoughts on HVAC Installation Times

There are many factors that can affect how long it takes to install your new heating or air conditioning system. Hopefully, this article helped remove some of the ambiguity involved in determining your HVAC installation time, and if it didn’t…get off of Facebook, read it again, and please pay attention this time! At this point I typically say, “don’t be afraid to contact us with any questions you might have about your HVAC installation time,” but I really don’t want to hear from you, so…

Tim K.
About the author
Tim K.

The University of Virginia - 2005 / The Wharton School of Finance - 2016 / U.S. Naval Aviator 2005-2015. At All Systems Mechanical air conditioning and heating, we believe that the experience our clients have is every bit as important as the products they receive. Simply put, our results speak for themselves, and we'd be happy to help. If you're in the market for a new AC or furnace, make sure that you get a fair price! Try our online calculator; click the tab on the top of this page for more information.

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