“How long does it take to install an HVAC system?” asked Emre Yurttas on Quora (paraphrased). Former HVAC design engineer Tiberius Kraemer replied by saying the question was too “nebulous” to answer.
To figure out the time for a job, Kramer explained, it was first necessary to have answers to additional questions. Example questions to ask are the following:
- Is it a single-family home or a mobile home?
- Was the home built as a basement or concrete-slab construction?
- Are you retrofitting the system or installing a new one?
- Is the project comprehensive – incorporating cooling, heating, ductwork, humidification, filtration, natural gas supply, and electrical supply?
Drill-down questions such as those get you closer to a reasonable timeframe.
Installing A New AC Unit: What You Need to Know
Estimates may be so short that they should make you suspicious. For example, a customer on HVAC-Talk.com said that he was getting his furnace replaced and had been told it would take 2 ½ hours. Four workers would be performing the work. AC professionals were very critical of this projected timeframe, saying that the work would involve corner-cutting if it was to be completed in less than a full eight-hour day.
Factors Involved in Installing a New Air Conditioning Unit
The above scenarios are just a of couple examples of people wanting to get an answer to that question. In fact, “How long does it take to install an HVAC system?” is one of the most common questions our customers ask.
Several key factors will influence our answer. Knowing the size of the home and the place within it where the unit will be placed will guide us in determining a reasonable timeframe. HVAC installation time will differ based on the following:
- Whether it is a simple AC replacement or includes a ductwork changeout
- How big the building or home is where it will be installed
- What specific type of unit it is
- Where the unit will go
1. How long does it take to install a new AC unit or system? It depends on what type of installation you are performing.
Full replacement of the HVAC system: 3-5 days (Typically)
Expect a longer time frame if you need a complex AC installation, whether a complete HVAC system job or ductwork replacement. For example, if you live in a home built 100 years ago, you may be replacing an HVAC system installed in the 1960s. In that case, the ductwork will be asbestos. It needs to be replaced, given its incredible toxicity.
Another element that increases the amount of time a technician needs is thermostat re-wiring. In the case of a complete replacement, it will usually take approximately three days — two days for the ductwork and one day for the changeout. However, since problematic issues may be encountered in these broader projects, it could take longer. Allow three to five days for these more complicated projects.
A simple change out: one day (typically)
On the other hand, if you do not need a comprehensive installation or to replace ductwork, technicians will need much less time to complete the work. If all the equipment that goes along with your existing system will remain and you are simply replacing the HVAC system with a newer model, that is called a changeout. Generally speaking, labor should not take more than a single day.
2. HVAC installation time & size of a building
Larger buildings are simply more complicated. If your home is a 10,000-square-foot mansion, the job will be more time-consuming than if you live in a 1500-square-foot bungalow. Essentially, the larger a home is, the more AC and heating units that you will need to install.
Size is so closely linked with the time of an AC installation that square footage should be your first consideration in answering the question, “How long does it take to install an HVAC system?”
3. How long to install a new AC? It depends on the type of unit.
The amount of time technicians will require to finish their work will differ based on the AC unit type. For instance, if you need a comprehensive system installation, a mini-split system will not take as long to install as a traditional central AC.
4. Influence of specific installation location on the time it takes to install an AC
Location is a huge factor in installation time, and location is partially determined by the previous factor: HVAC system type. The timeframe will be longer if a packaged HVAC unit needs to be lifted with a crane onto your condo’s roof than it will to simply replace a condensing unit. With projects that do involve placing units in more difficult-to-reach locations, high-quality contractors will typically have additional technicians on-site to expedite the process.
Even if there are more people there to perform the replacement, the element of location will affect how long the project takes. If the equipment is in your garage and can be accessed readily, everything will be faster. On the other hand, if your furnace is in the basement, it will take a little longer to complete the job. Of course, if it is on the roof, the timetable becomes longer still.
Contact An AC Company for Your AC Installation Needs
Without talking specifics, it is impossible to determine the amount of time it will take to install an HVAC system. Key factors include:
- the type of installation (changeout or full replacement),
- the size of the property (which in turn influences the number of units, number of thermostats, and amount of ductwork),
- type of HVAC system (e.g., a traditional or mini-split system), and
- exact location of installation (e.g., a roof, garage, or basement)
How long does it take to install an HVAC system? Considering all these elements, a typical installation will take 1 to 5 days.
To zero in on a more specific timeframe for your job, speak with a professional. The more experienced and straightforward the contractor, the likelier that the time estimate you get will hold true when the work is performed.