When searching for a company to service your home’s heating, cooling, and ventilation, you’ll want someone reliable, but you also want to make sure you’re not being overcharged. While finding the lowest price shouldn’t necessarily be your priority (more on that later), you do want to make sure you’re getting a fair price.
But how do you know whether the prices being charged for HVAC work are fair? There are some guidelines to follow that will help you gauge your options.
The following sections give general guidelines for different types of HVAC services, ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive.
Low-Cost HVAC Services
A number of services take very little in the way of time, materials, and training, and as such, they are usually the least expensive. Often, these services are charged at a flat rate, though some service providers may charge an hourly rate as well.
It’s also worth noting that most HVAC service providers will charge a service call fee as a bare minimum cost. That fee is meant to cover the costs of dispatching a technician. Typically, if the services you need exceed that fee, it will be waived.
Basic tune-ups and routine maintenance ($75 to $150)
One basic type of service is a routine tune-up. These are performed on a regular schedule, typically twice per year. During a tune-up, your technician will perform the following services:
- Overall inspection
- Replace/clean air filters
- Remove dust and debris from the system
- Minor repairs/replacement on worn-out parts
In some cases, the technician may find other issues that need attention, such as refilling refrigerant in an AC system or replacing the pilot light in a furnace. In those cases, you’ll likely get charged a little more to cover the parts and labor involved.
Inspections ($50 to $125)
An HVAC service provider may need to inspect your heating and cooling system after installation and before any work that requires a permit. During that inspection, they’ll verify that it fulfills all requirements and fits the general needs of your home.
Minor repairs and replacements ($50 to $450)
If the technician finds any parts that need to be repaired or replaced, they’ll charge extra to perform that work. Minor repairs and replacements typically involve (relatively) inexpensive parts that are easy to access, such as:
- Blower motors ($150 to $450)
- Gas valve ($150)
- Flame sensor ($80 to $250)
- Furnace igniter ($300 to $400)
- Thermostat ($50 to $575)
- Circuit board ($50 to $350)
Mid to High-Range HVAC Services
Some types of service require more time or expensive parts. The following are a few examples of HVAC services that reach the middle price ranges.
Cleaning ductwork ($300 to $1,000)
It’s recommended that homeowners get their ducts cleaned out every few years. The price of ductwork cleaning is often calculated based on the number of ducts being cleaned, but the average cost comes out to between $300 and $1,000 for most homeowners.
Emergency repairs ($140 to $600 per hour)
Given the short notice and often odd hours involved, emergency repairs typically cost more per hour than regular visits. In many cases, the rate comes out to double or triple the usual rate, though some contractors will only increase after-hours service calls by a small margin.
Repairing leaks ($200 to $2,000)
Refrigerant leaks for air conditioning systems may range between $200 and $1,500, depending on the nature of the leak. Evaporator coil leaks are more expensive, ranging between $1,300 and $2,000 on average.
Major system component replacement
More intensive system repairs can run up the costs of HVAC services significantly, reaching over $1,000 in price. Fortunately, these types of repairs are often preventable with regular HVAC maintenance.
A few examples of major component replacements and repairs include the following:
- Heat exchanger ($1,300 to $2,050)
- Smart valves ($750)
- Condenser coil ($1,900 to $2,900)
- AC condenser ($1,300 to $1,900)
Expensive HVAC Services
The most expensive HVAC services typically require highly intensive amounts of labor, access to difficult-to-reach areas, and expensive components.
Unit replacement ($2,150 to $5,912)
Replacing an entire HVAC unit, such as your furnace or air conditioning system, can be expensive, depending on the model, the amount of heating/cooling your home needs, and any difficulties that may arise during installation (prolonging the number of hours spent).
It’s worth noting that you may not necessarily need the most expensive unit on the market, but often, it’s worth investing a little extra in a unit that provides more energy efficiency.
Replacing ductwork ($1,500 to $4,000)
Cleaning and repairing sections of ductwork is one matter, but replacing it is a task altogether more challenging. That will generally drive up the cost, with most homes ranging between $1,500 to $4,000 for 30 to 90 feet of ducting. Part of the driving factor for the price here is the need to tear out sections of the walls/ceiling, which will usually require a permit on top of the extra costs.
Fair Prices vs. Low Prices
When seeking HVAC repair services, you may be tempted to go for the lowest price available. However, doing so is not often the wisest choice. If a service provider is charging below $50 total for a visit, that’s usually a good sign that you’ll get subpar service, which could end up costing you more in the long run.
You want someone who is going to be completely honest with you while also providing the best service possible. For that reason, it’s all right to choose someone who charges a little bit more for their services—ultimately, you’re investing in prolonging the life and reliability of your system. When choosing between quality and price, you’re typically best served with quality.
Pricing information courtesy of homeguide.com.