Any home can save money and have better air quality with an energy-efficient HVAC system. If you’re looking to add value to a house and your old AC isn’t cutting it anymore, it may be tempting to replace your existing system with a new one. But what’s the price tag on a complete overhaul?

Many factors are going to play a role when installing a new AC system. First, the actual unit itself can be quite expensive and will vary in price depending on the make, model, and your needs. For instance, a small window unit designed to cool one room will be much cheaper than a full-house central AC installation. Larger houses need to consider either a split or central AC system, often costing thousands of dollars. Finally, there’s the cost of labor, which will range depending on whether you’re replacing an old system or installing a new one from scratch.

The size of the air-conditioning unit is a leading factor in determining the cost of installing a new AC, with units becoming more expensive as they get larger. The size of an AC unit is in part determined by the size of the area that needs to be cooled; to work effectively, they need to be proportionate. If you’re looking at central AC units, you’ll have to keep in mind the ductwork that needs to be installed as well.

Labor calculations need to factor in the prep work before installation as well as the actual install time itself. Ductwork is very labor-intensive and hikes up the price.

Before going all-in on installing a new AC, consider alternative options. If you have an existing system that isn’t working as well as it used to, try troubleshooting and repairing that before jumping into a brand-new installation. Sometimes AC efficiency drops due to poor maintenance and a simple AC tune-up or repair job is all you need to have it running like new for a fraction of the price.

If you do decide that you want a new AC installation, do your homework. Prices in areas can vary depending on the contractors and individual needs. Beware of offers that sound too good to be true as they usually are. Look for reputable contractors that have plenty of positive references that fall within the price-range of your area, and get plenty of quotes from a number of contractors. Do research on the type of AC unit you want, how much it costs, and how effective and efficient it is. This will give you a good price base to start off with and will help you save money and grief in the long run.