Sometimes HVAC replacement costs go over the quoted budget due to unexpected causes. This may sound like a bad thing, but with proper planning and communication, you can have your new heating or air conditioning system installed relatively hassle-free.
In this blog, local HVAC company J&M sets the record straight and provides insight on what these “surprise” costs might be, and why you should anticipate them.
What Causes Unexpected Costs?
A typical HVAC replacement quote or estimate includes the cost of the replacement HVAC system, installation, labor and materials such as fasteners and sealant. It helps to think of these quotes as a best-case scenario installation.Barring one or more of the following, the HVAC replacement costs should stay well within budget.
- Damaged Ductwork — The duct system distributes conditioned air throughout your home, and can spring leaks over time and compromise air conditioning system performance. If your ductwork hasn’t been cleaned or repaired in the past three to five years, talk to your contractor if duct cleaning and repairs are needed and can be included in the HVAC installation costs.
- Rotten Wall Studs — Wall studs, being made of wood, are susceptible to rot. Rotten wall studs and parts of the drywall may have to be removed by your HVAC contractor during installation. This may raise the final installation cost.
- Electrical Upgrades — Electrical systems in old homes may not have enough power to handle the new HVAC system’s energy requirements. Part of an HVAC technician’s job is to make sure that a new HVAC system won’t cause an overload, therefore, an update may be necessary. Equipment such as new wiring and breakers, as well as the labor to install them, will affect final installation costs.
How to Anticipate Unexpected Replacement Costs
The most important thing to remember is that you should always assume that an “emergency” budget will be needed. As a good rule of thumb, this budget should be equal to about 10% to 20% of the estimate, but you should discuss this with your HVAC technician for a more realistic figure.
A thorough pre-inspection can also help determine whether or not such repairs are needed at all. It will require a whole-home inspection, as the HVAC system covers the entire house, basement to attic. Such inspections can take time, and for some people, it may also raise privacy concerns. Whatever you ultimately choose, it’s always best to discuss such concerns with your contractor before committing them to paper.