Are You in The Sacramento Area Looking for A New A/C, Furnace, or Heat Pump? Residential Air Conditioners and Heaters Sacramento County 2022-2023
If you ask someone who isn’t from Sacramento County what they think of when you mention it, you may hear things like “It’s the State Capitol” or “That’s where gold was discovered, right?” or, more notably, maybe “the American River Bike Trail.” Contrary to the slightly disappointing answers you might get (minus the American River Bike Trail, of course), Sacramento County is full of rich history, fun things to do, and weather that can be pretty predictable. With exceptionally hot summers being commonplace, though, Sacramento County can be the perfect place to get your old air conditioner and heater replaced if you’re not too keen on paddling through Folsom Lake. Let’s take a look at Sacramento new AC, furnace or heat pump information for 2022-2023.
Quick Fox Family Heating & Air Fun Fact: Another reason folks call us out is to have an air conditioning tune-up or furnace tune-up performed. Some of you have all-electric heat pumps – and of course, we can perform a heat pump tune-up. These tune-ups are preventive maintenance visits that take about 45 to 90 minutes to test and clean your HVAC system. But you’re here to find out how much it costs to put in a new air conditioner and heater in Sacramento. That is what we are going to talk about today for you. We’re going to discuss several things regarding buying a new heating and air conditioning system in Sacramento County, which includes seven cities – five of which we work in.
What HVAC system options are available for Sacramentans? What might you pay for installation and maintenance after you buy a new HVAC system?
Furnaces, Air Conditioners, and Heat Pumps available in Sacramento County + Costs
In Sacramento County, you will find a few types of HVAC system designs – split systems, package units, and mini-splits. Do you want to know which one is right for you? I’m going to take this opportunity to explain what the difference between them is.
Flexible installation – A split system – not to be confused with a mini-split system – can be installed in a few places. But typically, you will have an indoor unit paired up with an indoor unit. The outdoor unit is the condenser or heat pump. You may have seen it over on the side of the house. On the rarest occasions, you’ll find neighborhoods where the condenser is on the roof. The indoor unit is the furnace or air handler and can be located in the closet, garage, attic, or under the house in the basement or sub-floor. These two units are connected with a copper or aluminum lineset that carries the refrigerant. A low voltage wire also communicates when to turn on and off to and from those two units. Sometimes people will have a unit in the closet and want it moved up to the attic or other spot in the house. Sometimes a person wants the unit in the backyard moved around to the side of the house. And with the flexibility of a split system, you can move them around.
Central air – Central air conditioning units are attached to a ducting system that evenly spreads the air around the house. You’ll see those supply vents on the ceiling, sidewalls, or floor of the rooms in your house. That’s where the air comes out. And when you have one in each room, it distributes the air evenly throughout the home.
One or two main controls – Split systems have only one or two central thermostats to turn the system on and off. That alleviates having to go into each room to condition those rooms individually.
One drawback – When you have a furnace or air handler in the attic, servicing the unit requires going in and out of the attic access using a ladder. Not only does this require a nimble repairman, but it tends to dirty and bang up the access trim over time. You always want to keep up on your annual maintenance, so someone going up in the attic twice a year to do it increases the potential of this happening.
One surprise – The mini-split technology mentioned below is usually room-by-room conditioning. It’s very customizable. But if you really like your central airflow around the house, there are now “ducted” mini-split air handlers. If you remove your old gas furnace (or heat pump) and decide to move to an all-electric heat pump, the super-efficient variable speed ducted mini-split is a great choice. It simply reconnects to your existing duct system, and voila! You now have a variable speed system – at a way better price (about the same as a two-stage system.) Mitsubishi makes them up to 5 tons so that they can fit any residential house.
Generally, your typical split central air conditioning system will start at around $15,000 and be as high as $25,000. And that’s not including the ductwork! Ductwork alone can cost $5000 to $10,000 to install or replace. But do you have to replace your ducts every time you replace your HVAC system? No. Watch this video I made to explain better why you don’t need to replace your ducts every time you replace your HVAC system. If you have an existing HVAC system and would like to have one or both parts of it moved, of course, that will add some money to the job too. It could be up to $5000 with everything entailed in the project.
While you can DIY the replacement of your HVAC system, the EPA requires certification to handle the refrigerant that goes into the lineset between the indoor and outdoor unit. They actually fine people for handling refrigerant with that EPA 608 certification. But once you have it, it’s a lifetime certification.
Space friendly – Package units are the least expensive of the systems. If you are converting a house with a wall furnace and window air conditioner to a house with central air conditioning, a package unit may not only be your choice; it may be your only choice for getting central air. Package units are one combined unit that takes care of the heating and cooling portions – all in one “packaged” unit. They are always found on rooftops or the ground. Either way, they sit outside. When package units are placed on the ground, they usually sit against the house on the side or back side of the house. In Sacramento County, you’ll find 90% of package units on the rooftop. How does that 400 lb unit get on the roof? A crane lifts it up there! An adjustable sheet metal curb is flashed into the comp-shingled roof, and the unit sits on top of that.
Central air – Package units attach to a ducting system that spreads the air around the house evenly – pretty much the same as split systems. You’ll see those supply vents on the ceiling, sidewalls, or floor of the rooms in your house. That’s where the air comes out. And when you have one in each room, it distributes the air evenly throughout the home.
One control unit – Very rarely will you see a package unit system with two thermostats. Homes with package units are used mostly on single-story houses with just one zone controlling the air for the whole house. If you’d like more information on what a zoned house is, you can follow this link.
One drawback – Package units mounted on the rooftop are a bit noisier than split systems and mini splits for one reason – vibration. For some people who are used to it, it’s just white noise in the background while they sleep. But if it’s new to you, it could drive you crazy. The compressor kicks on and off every time it turns on and shuts down. Compressors are a heavy 80 to 100 lb. motor that sits on the bottom of the unit, which is connected to the curb it sits on, which is flashed into your rooftop, which is laying on top of the roof joist, connected to the walls of the house. This dull vibrational noise is one drawback of the space-saving package unit.
One surprise – The efficiency of package units used to be very limited. But Bosch now sells a variable speed heat pump package unit that reaches 20 SEER. Granted, its blower speed is more of a three-speed motor. The system’s true nature is still considered variable speed due to its ability to ramp up and down the compressor at micro increments. It’s also much quieter on vibration since it tends to run at lower speeds most of the time. Doubly awesome!
Generally, your package unit installation will start at around $14,000. The higher, more efficient ones, around 20 SEER, are about $22,000. And that’s not including the ductwork! As I said before, installing or replacing ductwork can cost $5000 to $10,000. If your current setup is a wall furnace and window AC, you can ditch those and modernize your home to central air conditioning via a “package unit cut in” to your rooftop.
What makes this system cheaper to install than a split system? You have extra components to add when modernizing your wall furnace setup to a split system. I have a good video explaining this as well. For instance, when you have a furnace inside, whether in the closet or garage, you need a particular setup, including upper and lower combustion air vents. A special return air vent and furnace stand must also be constructed. These extra little things need to be brought up to code to cut in a split system versus a package unit on the roof.
Once you place a package unit on the roof, you aren’t going to be moving it. I mean, you can. But some expert roofing will need to be done to cover the 4’ x 2’ hole that is cut into it.
While you can DIY the replacement of your HVAC system, the big issue is getting the unit up and down from the rooftop. Crane companies typically only want to work with contractors who are insured.
Customizable – Mini-splits, also known as variable speed ductless splits, are the most customizable of these three types of HVAC systems sold in Sacramento County. You can use a one-to-one or two-to-one setup (etc) if you just want to add supplemental heating or cooling to one or several rooms. One-to-one means one indoor head blowing the air into that room and one outdoor unit like the traditional splits system discussed above. You can also heat and cool the entire house if you want.
The quietest – Mini splits are by far the quietest units of the three compared here today. Talk about whisper quiet – you almost have to be right at the unit to tell that it’s even running. Its variable speed technology tends to run at lower speeds most of the day, which causes less noise, less rattling, less vibration, and less starting and stopping noise.
Space saving – Mini splits are super-efficient on space. You can choose from various indoor heads that blow the air into the room. You can choose the rectangular wall-mounted units that are so common with mini splits. But you can also choose between a couple of versions of ceiling-mounted units and even a floor-mounted unit that sits up against the wall.
One drawback – The upfront costs. Building out a system for your whole house gets pretty expensive. The reason is that the outdoor unit’s capacity needs to be higher the more heads are on the house. So while a one-to-one system might be around $6,000 installed, a small house with five conditioned rooms can be upwards of $30,000. But if it’s worth the system’s upfront cost, you can expect to see some great electric bills in the future for many years as these units are so reliable.
One surprise – Individual control of the rooms. One of the reasons you see lower electric bills with ductless mini splits is the ability to control each room’s temperature individually. You can do that if you want to keep an unused bedroom or two at 78 degrees, while the rest of the house is set at 72 degrees. Each room can be at a different temperature if you like.
DISCLAIMER: While some HVAC manufacturers sell indirectly (online stores) to homeowners, Fox Family HVAC systems are not available to purchase for DIY projects. For a turn-key installation, a complete Fox Family Heating and Air HVAC system could cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. And while you can DIY heating and cooling systems, we strongly recommend going through an experienced installer to avoid potential mistakes or having to throw way more money at your efforts later than you would have if you went through a professional. A licensed contractor with a conscious will pull your Sacramento County building permit for you and take care of the Title 24 documentation done through a HERS rater. It’s also regular practice for Sacramento HVAC companies to only work on the mini-split systems they install. There are so many DIY’ers of HVAC systems that the quality of installation is dicey at best. Companies usually don’t even want to touch these units to avoid any liability of it breaking down further due to best practices not being followed with the electrical and refrigerant piping systems.
When Getting an HVAC system In Sacramento County – Do You Need a Permit for a new heating and air conditioning system in Sacramento County?
Yes. You must pull a permit in Sacramento County whenever you have a major project that alters the house’s electrical, plumbing, or structure. Incorporated cities like Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, and the city of Sacramento have their own building departments, so you would go through them for your project. Fox Family completes this process for you when you want to replace your AC system.
What do you do with the old HVAC unit?
We have a contract with a salvage company that comes out to the job on the day of the installation and hauls it away. They capture the old refrigerant inside the system, which the Environmental Protection Agency requires. They also break down the system to recycle all the metal and copper in the system and repurpose it for future use on a new component, structure, etc.
Check out this blog – If you’d like to learn about 11 Red Flags to Look Out for When Buying A New HVAC System, check out the blog I wrote.
If you are in the market for a new A/C, Furnace, or Heat Pump in The Sacramento Area, I hope this helps with your venture. Most people simply replace the system they have now with a new version of the same. Others want to take the opportunity to try something different. The good thing about Sacramento County HVAC system installations is they let you make these changes. Some cities don’t. For instance, Sacramento city won’t let you cut in a new package unit on a rooftop unless it’s entirely not visible from the street – which can be hard to do with a package unit since they are around 40” tall.
We hope this quick overview was helpful in your HVAC system search. At Fox Family Heating & Air, our passion lies in servicing and installing gas furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and mini splits across Sacramento County. Want to get a quick estimate on what that HVAC system you’re envisioning might cost? Please fill out our contact form, and we promise to get right back to you today or on the next business day.