Furnace & Air Conditioner Combo Cost | How to Get a Fair Price

Furnace & Air Conditioner Combo Cost | How to Get a Fair Price

Most of our article topics come from questions that we are asked by customers in the field, and there are few questions that get asked more often than those about a fair furnace and air conditioner combo cost.  Those of you who have read our articles know that we are a U.S. Veteran-Owned and operated heating and air conditioning installation, repair, and consultation company that has built our reputation on giving honest, straight answers; today will be no different.  The combination cost of a new furnace and air conditioner can vary greatly depending on the brand and model chosen, as well as a few other factors.  As such, today we will discuss a couple factors that affect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost, then we’ll take a look at some of the more common prices for a furnace and air conditioner combination, and finally, we’ll show you an online program that can help you get the best price on your new installation.

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Furnace & Air Conditioner Combo Cost – The Factors

There are a multitude of factors that can affect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost of installation.  In this section, we will discuss a few of the main ones, and help you get off on the right foot.

Just remember that the furnace and AC combination cost of your specific installation will have multiple variables, so the best thing you can do is to pick one (i.e. which air conditioner brand that you want), research it to death until you figure out which one you want, and then move on to the next variable.  If you start off trying to figure out all the variables at once, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed, and having flashbacks of differential equations from school…don’t worry; I’ll do my best to keep that from happening (and hopefully avoid a flood of emails from loyal readers).

If you’re already bored, don’t worry…my articles exponentially increase in sarcasm as you continue reading…

furnace air conditioner combo cost - multiple variables

Differential equation…don’t do it!

Factor 1 of Furnace & Air Conditioner Combo Cost – Brand Chosen

The brand you choose can highly affect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost.  Some brands are significantly more expensive than others, but it is important to note that all modern air conditioners and furnaces (from major brands) are pretty much equally reliable.  Knowing which brands provide the best value – at the lowest price – is a major factor in keeping your furnace and air conditioner combo cost down.  Let’s take a look at some average prices for air conditioners by brand:

Average Air Conditioner Cost by Brand:

  • Amana – $1,217
  • American Standard – $1,655
  • Bryant – $1,207
  • Carrier – $1,678
  • Day & Night – $1,055
  • Goodman – $1,076
  • Lennox – $1,737
  • Rheem – $1,213
  • Trane – $1,693
  • York – $1,403

As you can see, the air conditioner and furnace combination cost for your installation can be quickly decreased by $700 just by picking the right brand for your job.  You might be asking, why is Day & Night less expensive than Lennox?  Well, Day & Night is a brand we are particularly fond of.  They are made by United Technologies, the same company that makes Carrier and Bryant, but are a fraction of the price because they do not spend money on advertising!

In fact, most of the models are made with the exact same internal components as their Carrier counterparts, including internal coils made by Aspen Coils.  Another example of this is Goodman, which is made by the same company as Amana.  Knowing these little marketing tricks is the key to getting a good deal on your furnace and air conditioner installation.  Food for thought.

Before making your decision, do some research on what furnace and air conditioner brands are offered by the contractors in your area.  For instance, Goodman might be your favorite brand, but it doesn’t really matter if no one in your area installs them.  As such, researching brands is one of the key ways that you can keep your furnace and air conditioner combo cost down.  Here are some articles to help get you started:

furnace & AC combo cost - the factors

Factor 2 of Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost – Efficiency and Features Chosen

The second factor that will affect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost is the efficiency and features that you choose for your new system.  In most cases, to be honest, it doesn’t make sense to pay thousands of dollars extra for a 21-SEER air conditioner.  To be even more frank, when we consult with large companies on their commercial HVAC projects, we rarely recommend investing in air conditioners above 14 or 16-SEER efficiency.

Lower SEER units are typically simpler, and therefore have less of a propensity for breakdowns and service calls.  They are also significantly cheaper to fix when they do break.  As such, when you factor in the additional price of repairs on high-SEER air conditioners, the lifetime price-to-own one actually ends up being more expensive, in our experience.  Delving into the differences between different SEER values is outside the scope of this article, so here is an article on SEER ratings that will help explain what they are, and which you should choose for your home:

Likewise, furnaces come in a variety of different efficiencies as well, and are measured in Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or “AFUE.”  Just as with air conditioners, AFUE should be taken with a grain of salt.  If you live in a southern state, then typically, an 80% AFUE furnace will be more than enough.  If you live up north, you probably want to consider a furnace that is 90% AFUE or greater.

Unlike air conditioners, however, furnaces are less likely to break down, and therefore, it is worth spending the extra money on higher efficiency…but only if you need it!  If you live in Alabama, for instance, then buying a 96% AFUE furnace just isn’t needed, and will only increase the furnace and air conditioner combo cost that you pay for your installation.  Think of this as kind of like buying a Ferrari F-430 Spyder so you can drive it in the slow-lane at 55 miles-per-hour with your emergency blinkers on…it’s a waste of money.

How SEER & AFUE Can Affect Your Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost

Let’s take a moment to look at how much the efficiency features chosen will affect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost:

Air Conditioner Prices by SEER Value:

  • Goodman 4-ton 14 SEER Air Conditioner Cost: $1,425
  • Goodman 4-ton 18 SEER Air Conditioner Cost: $2,543
  • Price Difference: $1,118

Furnace Prices by AFUE Value:

  • Goodman 80% AFUE, 80K BTU Gas Furnace Cost: $382
  • Goodman 97% AFUE, 80K BTU Gas Furnace Cost: $1,701
  • Price Difference: $1,319

So, in theory, if you didn’t know anything going into this, by choosing Goodman equipment, and getting a 14 SEER air conditioner and an 80% AFUE furnace, I may have just saved you $3,137 on your furnace and air conditioner combo cost; you’re welcome.

Now, that’s not to say that you might not need a 97% AFUE furnace if you live in Bozeman, Montana, but you get the point.  Do your research on what SEER and AFUE values are best for your area, and you can save some serious money on your furnace and air conditioner combo cost.

Here’s an article on our online price calculator that will help you save money on your installation, show you fair prices, and recommend ideal SEER and AFUE values for your specific project:

furnace and air conditioner combo cost - main AC

York AC Condensing Unit

Factor 3 of Air Conditioner and Furnace Combo Cost – Choosing the Right Contractor

We’ve shown you how being well informed on the brand and efficiency values you choose can affect your furnace and AC combo cost, so now let’s talk about contractors.

Contractors are known for being completely honest (cough)…I mean, if you can’t trust an HVAC contractor, who can you trust?  It’s true…there are a decent amount of dishonest contractors out there, but we aren’t all bad!  Unfortunately, it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil to whole barrel…so let’s talk about how selecting the right HVAC contractor can affect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost.

Just last week we were asked to submit a bid on a new furnace and air conditioner installation.  The ductwork was in good shape and didn’t need to be replaced, so it was going to be a one-day change-out of the old equipment for the new.  After shooting the breeze a bit with the client, these are the numbers that he had received for their job:

Furnace and Air Conditioner Change-Out Prices:

  • 1st Contractor: $10,300
  • 2nd Contractor: $5,790
  • 3rd Contractor (us): $7,113

So, if you are a smart one – and I just know that you are – then you probably already asked yourself, “but Tim, what brands and SEER/AFUE values were these bids for?”  Look at you fly, baby bird!  You have been paying attention!  If you have a puzzled look on your face, then you probably just skimmed down the page and have no idea what I’m talking about.  Stop.  Go read the first two sections!

I will tell you that all three of these bids were submitted for comparably priced brands, and had the same SEER and AFUE values.  So what’s the catch?

The catch is that every contractor runs their company in a different way.  Although the $10,300 looks like a rip-off (because it is), let’s give this guy the benefit of the doubt and just assume that he messed up the math on his bid (I know, I know…but let’s stay positive here).  Maybe he has more advertising fees, and maybe he has a lot of administrative staff to pay for.  Regardless, the fact still remains that who you choose to install your air conditioner will have a great impact on your bottom-line furnace and air conditioner combo cost.  So, pay attention:

Get at least three bids when purchasing a new furnace or air conditioner.

Who do you choose?  Well, of course I’m going to say that this guy should choose us (and he did), but why?  You get what you pay for…as long as you don’t overpay.  If you are still paying attention, realize that there is a such thing as “too cheap.”  Did the third contractor have Workman’s Compensation Insurance?  You’d better hope so, or you might be held libel if a worker gets hurt on your property.  What about General Liability Insurance?

Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t…I don’t know, and that’s not the point.  The point is that if you skimp on your contractor, your unit may fail prematurely, or worse, you might not be covered if there is an accident on your property.  I won’t rant; you get the point…don’t overpay, but don’t skimp either.  Here’s an article to help you choose a reputable contractor in your area:

Some contractors will bid a job really high but still make a profit because, although they will get a few less jobs, they will more than make up for it on the jobs they do get.  Don’t be that guy (or girl)!  Know what a fair price looks like…here’s an online program that will help you by giving you the information you need to know to make the right decision:

Save Money on Your New Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost.  Watch This Short Video on How:

SHOW ME FURNACE & AC COMBO PRICES

Furnace & Air Conditioner Combo Cost – Fair Prices

You’ve seen in our examples above how addressing three main factors can save you thousands on your furnace and air conditioner combo cost.  Now, for those of you who are impatient, let’s take a look at some fair prices for your installation.

Keep in mind that all we can give you in an article are estimates and general guidelines.  There are just too many variables to give exact prices for every individual job, like: your location, square footage, required SEER and AFUE (see!), how many stories you have on your home, average temperatures, and so on.  If you are looking for a more exact furnace and air conditioner combo cost calculation, then scroll up two paragraphs, and click on the link to our online consultation program.  It will calculate all of these for you including a fair installation price, show you what contractors actually pay for your equipment, and more.

Furnace & AC Combo Costs for California, New York, and Other Expensive States:

Look, places like California are some of the most expensive to live in.  Why not?  They are nice, once you get over the morning 405 traffic.  Unfortunately, that also means that they are more expensive to do business in due to higher taxes and more red tape, permits, and fees.

So, we’ll take a look at furnace and air conditioner combo costs in these areas first…feel free to skip to the next section if you want…although I don’t know why you’d want to miss the opportunity to read more of my marginal writing.  If you’re a teacher, then sorry…I don’t write good, which is why I’m an HVAC technician and not a physician.

Typical Combo Cost for a 14 SEER, 80% AFUE System:

  • Average Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost: $3,121
  • Materials and Other Miscellaneous Expenses: $947
  • General Liability Insurance, Workman’s Compensation Insurance, etc.: $667
  • Labor: $432

Total Cost to Contractor: $5,167

  • Profit (40% average, out of which they still have to pay taxes and administrative fees): $2,066.80

Total Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost of Installation: $7,233.80

Furnace & Air Conditioner Combo Costs for the Red States:

I’m not making a political joke (well, I kind of am), but it is typically a lot less expensive to do business in the square states.  As such, you can expect your furnace and air conditioner combo cost to be a little bit less.  Let’s take a look:

Typical Combo Cost for a 14 SEER, 80% AFUE System:

  • Average Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost: $2,887 (less taxes on equipment)
  • Materials & Other Miscellaneous Expenses: $817 
  • General Liability Insurance and Workman’s Compensation Insurance, etc.: $501
  • Labor: $388

Total Cost to Contractor: $4,593

  • Profit (40% average; the red states still have to pay taxes and administrative fees): $1,837.20

Total Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost of Installation: $6,430.20

Analysis of the Average Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Costs

As you can see, the furnace and air conditioner combo cost can vary greatly by the region you are in.  As an additional note, if you are thinking about starting your own HVAC business, you should probably think about moving to a low-tax state like Texas, as there are less taxes, and the cost of living is significantly cheaper…which is why HVAC technicians in Texas drive Porsches, and I drive a Honda Civic…I digress.

The moral of the story should be that by controlling which brand you choose, the SEER and AFUE values purchased, and which contractor you choose, you can greatly affect your installation price.  However, as you can see in the examples above, there are just some things outside of your control, like where you live.  In the example above which used average data to calculate a fair installation price, it was about $800 cheaper just by separating out some of the more expensive states.

If you really want to get the most accurate results, and make sure that you are paying a fair price, consider using our online calculator.  It will show you fair installation prices for your specific project, labor rates, a full price breakdown, what contractors pay for your equipment, and it will even come with a guide on how to negotiate the best price from a contractor.  It’s worth a look; here’s another short video on how we designed it:

CALCULATE MY IDEAL INSTALLATION PRICE

You may also be interested in these related articles:

Final Thoughts on Getting a Fair Furnace and Air Conditioner Combo Cost

In the end, do your research and choose a reputable contractor.  Then, decide what brand and efficiency you’d like for your new HVAC system.  If you do these three things, then you can greatly decrease your furnace and air conditioner combo cost, and possibly save yourself thousands of dollars.  But, remember that money is not everything, and the first point – choose a reputable contractor – is one of the most important.  Your total furnace and AC combo cost is not just what you pay for installation, but the summation of all of the expenses you incur over the lifetime of your new furnace and air conditioner.  Not skimping (but not overpaying) for your contractor is an important part of this, as it will ensure that your job is done right, and your system runs properly for years to come with minimal repair costs.  Hopefully this article has helped you and we wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.  Remember that if you are in Southern California, then you may be in our service area…but that still doesn’t mean that we want you to call us…

SEE IF YOU’RE IN ASM’S SERVICE AREA

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Timothy Kautz
About the author
Timothy Kautz

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.