How Much Does an Air Handler Replacement Cost?
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Your air conditioner is composed of two main parts: the outdoor unit and an indoor unit, or the air handler (also known as the air handling unit or AHU). The purpose of the air handler is to circulate the cool or hot air, depending on the season; it can also help prevent condensation that normally builds up and can cause damage to the unit. These air handlers are connected to ductwork that then distributes the warm or cool air throughout the home or building. If the air handler in your system fails for any reason, the entire HVAC system will fail.
How much is it?
- Depending on the size, the costs of an air handler can vary anywhere from as little as $3,000 to as much as $6,000 installed. For instance, a basic 13 SEER system could cost as little as $3,000, while an efficient unit could cost anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $10,000.
- Since every situation is going to be unique, consider getting multiple quotes for free from HomeAdvisor.com. Without the installation, most units can range anywhere from $600 to as much as $2,800. If the entire HVAC system has to be replaced, the costs can be more than $5,000; again, it will depend on the SEER rating, brand and contractor installing the unit.
- According to one member of Google Groups, he was quoted around $8,000 to $10,000 for a 2.5 air handler.
- On DoItYourself.com, the forum member stated that she was quoted $3,200 to replace the air handler and add an electric sensor.
What is going to be included?
- The air handler is a device that is used to circulate the air as part of the HVAC system. This device is usually a larger metal box that contains the blower, heating or cooling elements, dampers, sound attenuators, and filter racks. This handler is going to connect to the ductwork to distribute conditioned air throughout the building. A good handler can increase the HVAC system’s SEER rating by more than three points.
- The air handler will include the following: filters, heating/cooling elements, a humidifier, mixing chamber, controls, a blower and heater recovery device.
- Popular brands include Trane, Rheem, Lenox, York and Grainger.
- Newer units today may feature remote monitoring, programming options, and a quieter operation.
What are the extra costs?
- Depending on the contractor chosen, the installation costs alone can be anywhere from $1,100 to $2,300.
- If the handler has to be moved to a new location, additional fees can come into play, such as a new electrical box, new refrigerant piping, and control wires.
Tips to know:
- When an air handler is matched up to the right heating and cooling equipment, the performance of the entire system can be greatly improved. The more efficient your air handler, the more efficient the entire system will be. This means that while purchasing a higher-end air handler may be more expensive up front, it could help you save money on energy in the long run.
- The contractor you chose should be trusted, have a valid license, and be registered.
- Replacing an air handler is not something that you should try to do yourself unless you have experience in the industry.
How can I save money?
- At the time of purchase, ask the sales representative if there are any current incentives or promotions going on.
- If you purchase a high-efficiency handler, you may be able to take advantage of federal or local state tax incentives.
- Since installing a new air handler can increase a system’s efficiency, it is ideal to go ahead with the install since you can save on your utility bills in the long haul.
- Try to get as many quotes and opinions as possible. Some contractors may say to replace the handler, while another contractor may recommend something else. Keep in mind that some places may charge a small service charge to come out to your residence.
- Try to weigh the options of getting a new air handler or an entirely new system. The overall costs may not be that far off, so you may want to just get a new system so that the entire thing is brand new and under warranty.