Air handlers connect to heating and cooling systems and blow treated air into an indoor environment. An air heater or conditioner changes the air's temperature, whereas an air handling unit contains a blower that pushes the warmed or cooled air into your home.
The primary difference between an air handler and an air conditioner or furnace is that an air handler is only meant to move the air into and around your home. It doesn’t change the temperature of the air on its own.
|What you can expect|
|Range per handler:||$2,669.39||$3,143.20|
|Range for this type of project:||$2,669||$3,143|
Air Handler Cost
Cost of residential-grade, 220 CFM fresh-air exchanger to evenly transfer moisture and heat. 120V electrical connection required at installation site. Five-year limited warranty guarantees excellence.
Air Handler Labor, Basic
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete installation. Unit will be assembled, leveled, and secured. Discharge will be configured, and unit connected to condensation drain and ducting. Controller will be programmed, and optimal operation verified. Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Air Handler Job Supplies
Requisite supplies for the job, including fittings, fasteners, and mounting hardware.
Air Handler Cost
Air Handler Labor, Basic
|cost to install an air handler|
|National Avg. Materials Cost per handler||$1,048.17|
|National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 1 handler||$2,859.73|
|National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 1 handler||$2,626.62 - $3,092.83|
Air handlers range in cost based on their size and brand. The units on their own cost between $1,500 and $3,400, with an additional $800 and $1,800 for labor and installation. Labor costs vary based on your location, the cost of living, and the level of experience of your HVAC installer.
Three main factors greatly impact your air handler cost: ton size, type, and brand. Below are details of how each factor affects your overall project cost.
Ton size refers to the amount of space in square footage your air handler unit covers. At the small end, your unit covers between 600 and 900 square feet and costs $600 to $800. At the high end, your unit will cover 2,600 to 3,400 square feet and cost $1,300 to $2,100.
Aside from square footage, there are other factors to consider when you’re planning for the size of air handler you need. Overall, if you’re on the fence about what size you need, it’s safer to size up rather than go with a more conservative option. The last thing you want is for your home to be inadequately heated or cooled after going through the time and effort of installing a new air handler.
There are two main types of air handlers:
The brand you choose to go with for your air handler will impact the cost. Bigger name brands come at premium prices. However, they often boast better components and more extensive warranties. Lennox, Trane, and Carrier are some of the most prominent manufacturers of air handlers.
The cost to replace an air handler is generally more than installing a new unit because there are additional costs to remove and dispose of the old unit.
In terms of the total cost, budget between $2,200 and $3,800 for the replacement of an old air handler. The national average cost of a new air handling unit is $1,100, while the removal of an old unit costs $450, and the installation of the new unit averages $900.
If you’re planning on changing the location of your air handler, bring in an electrician to handle the new wiring. This will bump your air handler replacement cost overall, depending on the complexity of the new location.
When an air handler is connected to a heat pump, it’s common to replace both at the same time. Generally, heat pump installation includes an air handler, so it makes sense to do them together. The cost to replace a heat pump and air handler averages about $5,500.
When it comes to your HVAC system, it’s always your best bet to hire a licensed pro to tackle the installation for you. Not only will they be able to consult with you on the best size and type for your use, but they’re also likely to have plumbers and electricians that they routinely work with. Having tradespeople who are familiar with working together means your project can move ahead more quickly since communication may be smoother.
If you have a preferred electrician or plumber, let your HVAC installer know ahead of time and they’ll likely be happy to accommodate you.
Air handler installation is not a project for the average homeowner, even if you’re a DIY champion. It’s an essential system in your home, so the risk of mistakes and injury during installation isn’t worth it. With electrical and plumbing elements, this type of project is one best left to the pros.
What’s the best brand of air handler?
Can I do any part of an air handler replacement project myself?
What type of air handler is better?
How do I know what size of air handler I need?
What’s the best time of year to install or replace an air handler?