Having central heating and air conditioning and duct work is crucial for an investment property. Without them, your investment may not reach its profit potential when you eventually rent or flip the property. This issue is common when investors purchase an older property built prior to the existence of central HVAC systems. Here are a few things to consider if you need to add central heating and air conditioning to your investment property.
What you can expect to spend
The cost of installing central air conditioning with ductwork varies depending on your area, the appliance brand and its size, but you can usually expect to spend between $5,000 to $10,000, according to HomeAdvisor.com. That said, there may be rebates and incentive programs available that could lower your costs. To learn more, visit The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for a detailed list of rebates and incentive options in your area. Other helpful resources include Mass Save and energy.gov.
Retrofitting HVAC system for older properties
A reoccurring issue with older homes is they often require you to install entirely new ductwork or to adapt the existing ductwork of a forced-air furnace. A central cooling system can be retrofitted to work with a forced-air furnace system’s existing ductwork. The project can typically take several days and has an average cost of $3,500-$4,000.
After you determine the best installation approach, you should confirm that you buy an appropriate size unit for the space and for the square footage of the property. A common mistake some investors make is purchasing a larger or smaller system than what is necessary. It could lead to higher energy costs and may not work as efficiently as a system of the correct size. Avoid this by examining your current system and purchasing an updated appliance with the same specs. Another concern is that some older homes can’t accommodate ducts or need strenuous and expensive work to make them fit. In situations like these, consider ductless air conditioning.
Types of HVAC systems
The type of HVAC system you install relies on several factors like the property’s climate zone, its ability to retain cool air, the total square footage, as well as any other recommendations your contractor may have. Here are a few common types of HVAC systems:
• Split systems: Split systems are the most common type of HVAC system used in residential applications. Their two main components are an indoor air handler and evaporator coil, and the outdoor condensing/compressor unit.
• Ductless mini–split system: Ductless mini-split systems are ideal for homes missing the necessary ductwork, as they do not require them. Their ease of installation, adaptability and control options has led to a rise in their popularity. The average cost of a ductless mini-split system with a single indoor head can cost you between $2,000–$5,000.
• High-performance heat pumps: Heat pumps are highly efficient systems capable of providing both heat and cooling for your home. Their cost may be higher than standard central air conditioning systems, but you can normally recoup the additional costs in energy savings in about five years. Average costs for a three-ton whole house heat pump system range between $2,000–$8,000 for an installed system. High-efficiency, ground source heat pumps are much more, averaging between $5,000–$7,000.
Plan accordingly when installing an HVAC system and ductwork in an investment property
Installing central air conditioning and ductwork to an investment property can significantly increase its value and marketability to prospective buyers and renters. Speak with contractors in your area for an estimate of what you’ll have to spend, then take steps to ensure you stay within your budget.
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