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How Much Does It Cost To Install Central Air & Heat In A 2000 Sq. Ft. House

Adding an HVAC unit to your house can make it more comforting than ever. But adding separate units for cooling and heating sounds like a total bother. But what if both can be done with a single HVAC unit? A central air and heat unit can help you with that.

How much does it cost to install central air and heat in a 2,000 sq. ft. house?

The installation cost for a central air and heat unit is $3,000 – $28,175. The central air and heat unit itself is not very costly. You can get a 5-ton capacity central air unit for $1,500 – $4,000. But you’d still need to calculate the installation, labor, and ductwork cost. There are also several additional costs to count.

That was only a summary of the whole cost breakdown. We’ve included a detailed discussion about the cost for you. Read along to know more!

What’s the wait for! So, let’s begin!

Central Air & Heat Unit Cost Calculator For 2,000 Sq. Ft. House

A central air and heat unit is a great HVAC addition to your house. It completes the  HVAC requirements of the house. To add a central air and heat unit, you must calculate the cost first. The total cost mainly depends on the HVAC unit and its installation. 

But there are other additional costs as well. We’ll come to them one by one. An important pricing factor is the size of the house. The bigger the house size, the greater will be the installation cost. For example, a 2,000 sq. ft. house would cost you quite some money. The HVAC cost calculation for bigger houses is complex.

This is why we have made a cost calculator for you. It calculates the total cost of adding an AC to a 2,000 sq. ft. house-

AspectsSplit SystemPackaged AC SystemHeat Pump
Permit Cost$25-$125$25-$125$25-$125
Central Air & Heat Unit$1,400-$1,700$1,800-$3,000$3,200-$3,700
Installation & Labor cost$1,000-$2,000$1,250-$2,300$2,000-$5,000
Installing DuctworkN/A$13,000-$18,000$13,000-$18,000

Want to know in detail about the cost factors? Then keep on reading our next segments. We’ve explained each factor in the cost breakdown section for you. 

But before that, let’s get to know our available central cooling and heating options. 

Types of Central Air & Heat Unit & Their Cost

There are different types of central air and heat units available now. Thanks to the newer HVAC technologies they have both cooling and heating options. Depending on your house temperature, location, and size you can choose the most suitable one. 

There are three types of central air and heat units you can choose from. To know which one is the best for your house consult an HVAC professional. 

Split System Cost

Split system central air units are the most common among these days. It has three main elements: the condensing unit, air handler, and evaporator coil. 

The condensing unit is like the hardware part. It is a big metal container with a fan inside. It’s placed outside of the house. 

The air handler and the evaporator coil stays inside the house. The split AC system has a furnace as well. It delivers the heating solution just like the condensation unit provides a cooling solution. It is placed somewhere near the attic or closet.

If your house has a furnace then the split system is more suitable. Also, replacing the problematic inner parts for them is a lot easier. If the evaporator coil gets bad, you can simply replace it with a new one. 

Here’s our pick on the evaporator coil-

Product 1
Product 2

Split system central air units are economical, budget-friendly, quiet, and easier to maintain. Also, you don’t have to worry about the ductwork hassle either. 

The price range for split system AC ranges from $1,000 – $2,000. With the house size, installation, and labor price the cost will increase.

Packaged AC System Cost

As the name suggests, everything in this central air unit comes in a package. The function and the elements in this unit are all similar to a split system. Except they come as a package in a single box. 

This box is usually installed on the roof or near the foundation. It offers both heating and cooling solutions.

Packaged units are not widely used in residential areas. It is only used where the split system doesn’t fit. 

The efficiency level of both types of central units is not the same either. The average price of a packaged AC system unit is $1,250 – $2,300.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps are a popular choice for central air and heat systems. It works both as an air conditioner and a heater. They are most suited for mild climate areas. The heat pump unsheathes the warm air from your home and frees it outside. 

As a result, your home stays cool in the summer. In winter, it pumps the outside heat into the house in a similar process. 

The heat pump comes as a split or packaged unit. The evaporator coil is placed indoors when it comes in a split system. The rest of the heat pump unit stays outside of the house. 

The packaged heat pump is similar to the packaged AC system. It comes as a package and is placed outside the home.

Their efficiency gets higher if the house has a gas furnace system. It works the best in a mild climate. It’s also economical since it has both cooling and heating options. You can make use of it throughout the year. 

The average cost for heat pumps is $3,200 to $3,700.

Central Air & Heat Unit Sizing For 2,000 Sq. Ft. House

Sizing is the most important part when choosing a central air & heat unit. Air conditioning size will be different for houses with different sq. ft. areas. 

Air conditioning with less power can’t cool down the whole house. Similarly, an AC that generates more cool air than required can harm your building.

So as you can see, you must pick the right size AC for your home. You can calculate the AC unit’s size easily. We will help you with it. 

An average AC of 1-ton cooling capacity can cool down 400 sq. ft. area. It generates around 12,000 BTUs.

Let’s do the simple math for a 2,000 sq. ft. house:

A 2,000 sq. ft. house requires,  2000/400 = 5 times bigger AC unit.

That means you’ll be needing an AC of 5-ton capacity. A 5-ton AC can generate- 

12,000×5 = 60,000 BTUs. 

It is capable of removing 60,000 BTUs per hour.

Using an AC unit smaller or bigger than this size won’t be fruitful. Also, there are other components to look upon other than the sq. ft area. 

For example, a home’s floor plan, climate, and insulations matter when choosing a central AC. That’s why consulting with an HVAC professional before buying an AC is important.

Cost Breakdown Of Central Air & Heat Unit For 2,000 Sq. Ft. House

The total cost for installing a central air unit comes with many additional expenses. Just installing the device isn’t enough. You’ve to calculate the cost of the permit, installation & ductwork as well.

The following segment is the total cost breakdown for adding a central air system. Hopefully, this will clear out your confusion about this HVAC renovation project. 

Permit Cost

Adding a central air and heat unit requires home renovations in some cases. If your house is 2,000 sq. ft. it’ll surely need some renovations. Especially, when you’ll install ductworks in the house.

Installing ductwork may require making air vents in the drywall. Doing such work requires an HVAC permit beforehand.

Otherwise, your HVAC renovations won’t be legalized. That’s why for adding a central air & heat unit you’d need a permit. 

There’s an additional safety inspection that comes with the permit. The total fee ranges from $25 to $125.

Central Air & Heat Unit Cost

As we’ve discussed before, a 2,000 sq. ft. house requires a 5-ton AC. You can choose from three types of central air & heat units. Here’s the pricing list of each type of central air & heat unit for 5-ton-

Type Of Central Air UnitEstimated Price
Split System$1,400-$1,700
Packaged Central Air System$1,800-$3,000
Heat Pump$3,200-$3,700

Installation & Labor Cost

Installation and labor cost is one of the bigger portions of the total cost. The cost of buying a central unit isn’t that high.

But the cost for installation is relatively higher. HVAC installations are usually costly due to their complex functionality.

Here’s a list of the average cost of installing a central air unit-

Type Of Central Air UnitInstallation & Labor Cost
Split System$1,000-$2,000
Packaged AC System$1,250-$2,300
HVAC Packaged System$2,000-$5,000

The given cost above is the average of the usual installation fee. But the amount may differ depending on other factors. 

For example, a split-system unit doesn’t require ductwork. As a result, its installation cost is lower than the other two. It’s also less complex to install.

Installing Ductwork

Except for the split system, the other two types use ductwork. You can still install your central air unit without ductwork.

But using the ductwork fulfills your HVAC units. That means, using them has its own advantages.

You can use two types of ductwork for the central air & heat unit. They are exposed and hidden ductworks. 

Exposed ductwork costs $6.50-$17.50 per sq. ft. Hidden ductwork costs $6.50-$19.50 per sq. ft. Hidden ductwork costs more due to its complex installation process.

For a household central air system, you’d have to use both hidden and exposed ductwork. Exposed ductworks are installed through floor trusses.

Hidden ductworks, on the other hand, are usually installed between the walls. As a result, it doesn’t hinder your house’s outlook. Exposed ductworks are used in open areas like floors and trusses.

Let’s look at the pricing of ductwork for a 2,000 sq. ft. house now-

Ductwork TypePrice
Exposed $13,000-$35,000
Hidden $13,000-$39,000

The average cost of both types would be $13,000 – $18,000. But that’s not all. When it comes to ductwork the cost depends on many factors. 

House architecture plays an important role in this. A bigger house means more ductwork. And more ductwork means you’ve to count more money for the installation.

If the house is multi-storied then you may need additional features and devices. This will increase the total installation cost of the project. 

Moreover, the more vents you use, the higher the cost will be. Using existing vents will reduce the cost tremendously. But sometimes installing ductwork can bring change in your house framing.

Ductworks may need to run through between the walls and closets. In such cases, the total cost for installation increases. Installing ductwork over a wall is a complex job and requires more expense.

For houses that already have existing ductwork, the cost will be less. Maybe doing a little maintenance check will be enough. You’d only need to worry about the AC unit and the installation cost.


Apart from HVAC services you’d have to work on other parts of the house. As a result, it’s best to count those costs as well.

Adding a central air unit is gonna bring change to your home structure. You may have to cut walls to make vents for ductwork installation.

These changes might collide with the existing electrical and plumbing routes. In such cases, you’d need to include these renovation costs as well. Here is the estimated cost for such factors-

Plumbing $70-$200
Removal of existing HVAC system$150-$350
Modifying the framing of the house for installation$200-$550

Many houses don’t have any existing HVAC system. In that case, you don’t have to worry about the demolition cost. But the other aspects are applicable for most houses.

Central Air & Heat Unit Cost By Different Brands

Brands play a big role in the cost of the whole project. Central air and heat unit price differs by different brands. Some brands use the same evaporator coil with the same internal parts.

Yet, the price sometimes is higher or lower depending on the brand. This is due to reasons like warranty service or name recognition.

Some brands provide high-quality inner parts but of course with a fitting expense. There’s also the user service option to talk about.

Some brands provide good repair services when something goes wrong. Based on various factors like these the pricing is decided. 

That’s why before buying a central air unit, research the product’s brand. Don’t just buy it due to its brand recognition.

See all the services they offer and make your decision. Here’s a pricing list for a 5-ton capacity central air unit by different brands-

BrandAvg. Cost For 5-Ton Central Air & Heat Unit
Rheem $2,300-$2,700
Lenox $2,300-$4,400
Trane $2,300-$4,400
Goodman $3,500-$4,500
American Standard$3,000-$3,500
Amana $3,500-$5,700
Carrier $4,500-$5,700
Bryant $4,500-$5,700

How To Save Cost On Adding A Central Air & Heat System 

We all want to save money while buying something. Whether this is related to the cost of a second story house or a central heat unit. 

Adding a central air unit for 2,000 sq. ft. is not cheap. The price of the central unit may not be so high. But the ductwork and installation fee raises the cost by a lot. But you can try to reduce the cost if you follow some tips.

Consider Your Cooling & Heating Needs

If you’re an empty nester then considering the split system would be good. Since it doesn’t require ductwork the cost will be a lot less. The installation is also less complex and cheaper.

Another option is using a mini-split air conditioning system. The average cost for this is $1,500 – $8,000. But it can’t cover big areas. 

For example, a mini-split air can’t cover a 2,000 sq. ft. house. In such cases, you’d have to connect the central air to important zones only.

Time It Right

The hottest and coldest seasons are the busiest time for HVAC contractors. Because most people add or change their HVAC settings during those times. Due to less time and high demand for services, the contractors raise their fees. It happens mostly in the spring and fall seasons.

Avoid adding a central air system at those seasons to save the raised fee. Install the central air unit at times when the temperature is still mild.

Reusable Ductwork

Installing ductwork is expensive. Adding a central air system means you’ll be needing ductwork installation as well. But if your house already has ductwork installed try to make use of it. See if you can install them with the newly bought addition.

Reusing old ductworks can cut up a lot of extra costs. However, do make sure that those are still in good shape. Sometimes old ductworks have rust and holes in them. This can lead to water leaking from ductwork in the basement.


Don’t get it wrong, you can’t DIY your central air unit. This is a job for professionals. HVAC units are not easy to install, especially ductworks. Then where can you apply DIY? 

You can apply DIY to remove the existing ductwork in your house. Before adding a central air and heat unit, you must clear the existing ductworks. That is if those ductworks are not reusable. You’d need to make space for the newer arrangements. 

Uninstalling ductwork isn’t as hard as installing them. So instead of leaving it for the professionals, start removing them by yourself. That way you’ll save some installation costs.

Hopefully, the discussion was of use to you. Making a budget plan for adding a central air unit should be easy now. Don’t you think? 


Question: What is the time required to install a central air unit?

Answer: Installing a central air unit can take 5 to 7 days or more. It mostly depends on the complexity of the job. Houses with bigger areas take more installation time. Also, installing ductwork is a time-consuming job. It involves restructuring the house’s frame, electrical and plumbing routes of the house. 

Question: Does adding a central air unit raise the house’s worth?

Answer: There’s no guarantee that it will raise the value. But it’s a good feature that attracts the buyers. A house with installed central air is more likely to sell faster. As it keeps the house warm and cool at the same time. Also, living in an improved air quality house improves one’s health condition.

Question: What size HVAC is needed for a 1,300 sq. ft. house?

Answer: A house with a 1,300 sq. ft. area requires 23,000 BTUs per hour. That is, the HVAC unit should be powerful enough to remove 23,000 BTUs of air. A 2-ton central air is suitable for this job. Because it can handle 24,000 BTUs per hour.


That’s all from us about how much does it cost to install central air and heat in a 2,000 sq ft house? Hopefully, you’ve got your answer now. 

Making a budget for your central air and heat unit should be easier now. If there’s any confusion don’t forget to contact an HVAC professional. As they would know the best about it.

That was all food today. See you in another project!