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The typical price range for a heat pump installation is $4,200 to $7,600, with an average of $5,900.* A heat pump is a sleek, efficient, and cost-effective way to heat and cool your home. Instead of generating new heat like traditional heating systems, a heat pump works by transferring heat from the air or ground outside into your home.
Heat pumps lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. We’ll go over various cost factors and installation options below.
*Article cost data sourced from Angi, Fixr, and Home Advisor.
Average Heat Pump Cost
The cost of a heat pump depends on several factors, including the pump size, type, and efficiency rating.
- Size: The system size you need depends on your home’s square footage and how much energy is required to heat it. Smaller heat pump systems usually cost less than larger ones.
- Type: Heat pumps come in several models, such as geothermal, mini-split, and ductless. Geothermal systems (sometimes called ground-source heat pumps) tend to be more expensive than others because they’re more complex, but they also have higher efficiency ratings. Air-source heat pumps are generally less expensive and easier to install. Geothermal pumps typically cost $6,000 to $20,000, while air-source systems run between $4,500 and $8,000.
- Efficiency: Heat pumps are much more efficient than traditional heating models like baseboard heaters or gas furnaces. A heat pump’s efficiency rating is determined by its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Higher SEER ratings mean more efficient systems. A pump with lower efficiency will cost less to install than a high-efficiency model, but will save you less money long-term.
Cost by Size
A heat pump’s service capacity is determined according to how many British thermal units (BTUs) it needs to operate. An 18,000-BTU system weighs about 1.5 tons while a 60,000-BTU system is about 5 tons.
The system needs about 15 to 30 BTUs for each square foot it heats or cools. The larger your home, the more BTUs needed. A typical home of 2,000 square feet requires 30,000 to 60,000 BTUs. Many other factors affect your system’s performance, so only use these numbers as a guideline.
Your area’s climate, your home’s age, and many other factors also determine how large your heat pump unit needs to be. For reference, a small system of 1 to 2 tons can cost $3,500 to $5,500 while a 5-ton outdoor unit might cost $8,800 just for the unit, plus more for installation.
Cost by Type
Residential heat pumps come in three main types: air-source, ductless, and geothermal.
Air-source heat pumps are the most common type and usually the most cost-effective. They use refrigerant-filled coils to absorb heat from the outdoor air and transfer it into your home. Prices for air-source heat pumps range from $4,500 to $8,000, depending on brand, size, and efficiency. The installation costs also vary, depending on the setup’s complexity.
Ductless heat pumps are a type of air-source pump specifically engineered for homes without a duct system. They’re often used in room additions, hyper-energy-efficient homes, or houses built with a non-ducted system. Ductless heat pumps cost $2,000 to $8,000 on average, but can run as high as $14,500 for larger models.
Geothermal heat pumps use a ground loop to draw heat from the earth or a body of water. These systems are more expensive than air-source heat pumps, costing between $6,000 and $20,000. Installation costs may also be higher due to the need for ground loop construction. However, geothermal heat pumps are typically more efficient than air-source pumps and may be eligible for energy tax credits.
In addition to these three primary types, you can find hybrid heat pumps that combine an air-source system with an electric furnace. There are also solar-powered systems, which tap into the sun’s energy through solar panels. These systems are usually more expensive than traditional air-sources at around $6,000 to $12,000.
Cost by Efficiency
Heat pumps are designed to move heat from one place to another, so the colder the region, the harder it is for the heat pump to work. Consequently, heat pumps are often more efficient in warmer regions.
A heat pump’s efficiency is measured by its SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit will be in extracting energy from the air, and the lower your energy bills will be. A heat pump with a SEER rating of 16 or higher is considered to be energy efficient. Heat pumps with higher SEER ratings cost more up-front, but can save you money long-term.
Pump efficiency is also determined by the unit’s Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rating. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates HSPF by dividing the total electrical energy consumed by a heat pump (expressed in BTUs) by the total heating required during the heating season (expressed in watt-hours). The EPA awards an Energy Star label to heat pumps with an HSPF of 8.2 or higher. A good HSPF rating falls between 8 and 10.
Labor costs to install a heat pump vary by the type of heat pump and the job’s complexity. For example, a ductless mini-split system is often more expensive to install than a traditional central air conditioning system because of the additional components and installation complexity. Additionally, a heat pump that has special features such as variable-speed fan motors or advanced thermostat capabilities may require more labor. On average, labor costs $75 to $125 per hour.
Additional Cost Considerations
Heat pumps come in various materials and quality levels, which affect the total project cost. Average heat pumps cost $4,200 to $7,600, while high-end systems can cost up to $10,000 or more. Higher-end systems are typically made from better materials and offer advanced performance, efficiency, and durability.
Brand can have a big impact on heat pump cost. Some of the top brands include Trane, Carrier, American Standard, Rheem, Bryant, and Goodman.
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If you have existing ductwork that fits your new heat system, you can dramatically reduce your overall project costs. Heat pump installers can almost always use existing ductwork unless it’s damaged or poorly designed. Ductwork may need repair or cleaning, which could add to the project cost slightly. Adding new ductwork will increase the installation cost by an average of $2,000 to $3,000.
Larger homes typically require larger heat pumps to properly heat and cool them. For example, a two-bedroom home may require one unit, while a four-bedroom home will likely need two. The number of square feet in the home also matters. A 2,000-square-foot home may need two or three units, whereas a 5,000-square-foot home may require four or more.
In addition to your home size, consider how many people will use the system. More people usually means more demand for heating and cooling, so the system must be able to handle a heavier load.
Location and Climate
In extreme climates, heat pumps may require additional components such as auxiliary heating systems or insulated refrigerant lines to ensure proper performance.
Geothermal heat pumps often provide more efficient service than air-source pumps in these environments. However, geothermal pumps can cost $6,000 to $20,000 more than other pump types. Installing a heat pump in a cold climate such as New York is often pricier because you may need additional components, larger systems, specialized labor, or repair of existing ductwork.
Installing a heat pump typically requires a construction permit. Different local governments require different permits, depending on the project’s scope and local regulations. Common permits required for a heat pump installation include electrical and plumbing permits, building permits, and zoning permits.
Depending on the municipality you’re located in, permit costs can run as high as $300. Rural areas with a low cost of living may charge less than urban areas where costs are generally high.
Obtaining a permit helps ensure your compliance with local regulations, thus avoiding fines or other penalties.
Professional vs. DIY Heat Pump Installation
If you are an avid do-it-yourselfer (DIYer), installing your own heat pump can seem like a good way to save money. However, DIY heat pump installation isn’t for everyone and can be quite risky if you lack the correct experience and tools.
Professional Heat Pump Installation
Professional heat pump installation means hiring a qualified technician or HVAC contractor who is experienced in installing, repairing, and maintaining heat pumps. A professional installation usually includes connecting the new heat pump to your electrical system, verifying proper refrigerant levels, and ensuring all components are functioning properly and safely.
Hiring a professional gives you access to a wide range of experienced contractors who will troubleshoot any problems that may arise during installation. It also guarantees safety and accuracy. Professional installers will advise you about the best heat pump type and size for your home and offer energy efficiency and cost-saving tips.
However, with these benefits come some possible disadvantages. Hiring a professional means paying for labor, operating according to their calendar, and proceeding at their pace. Professional installation usually takes longer than a DIY project, but is typically more accurate. You can also take advantage of a contractor’s guarantee and warranty.
The estimated cost of professional heat pump installation varies greatly depending on the size and type of heat pump, the job’s complexity, and other factors such as local labor rates. Professional installation of a basic heat pump can range from $6,500 to $7,500.
DIY Heat Pump Installation
Before attempting to install a heat pump yourself, consider the unit’s size, its maneuverability, any wiring requirements, and the safety of those involved. Heat pumps are usually very heavy—weighing well over 1 ton—so having extra sets of hands is always helpful.
Before starting the installation, ensure you have the necessary tools and supplies. This includes electrical supplies, mounting brackets, wire connectors, and ductwork. You’ll also need to prep the area for installation and ensure the necessary wiring is present and up to code.
The cost to install a heat pump by yourself depends on the unit type and its size. The price can increase if the installation is complex and you end up enlisting professional help for portions of it. If you’re comfortable with the installation process and have all the necessary tools and supplies, a DIY heat pump installation can be an effective way to reduce costs while still getting a quality system.
Remember, you’re only saving the $75 to $125 per hour labor charge. You’ll still have to pay for the unit, permits, supplies, and other heat pump costs. If you’re at all unsure about your ability to install a heat pump correctly and safely, it’s best to hire a professional.
How to Reduce Costs On Heat Pump Installation
Installing a heat pump is an investment, but there are some ways to keep costs low.
- Apply for heat pump tax credit: This tax credit is a federal incentive that encourages homeowners to invest in an energy-efficient HVAC system. You must complete Form 5695 with your taxes to apply.
- Install an air-source or mini-split heat pump: These pumps are relatively easy to install and don’t require major renovations. You’ll also avoid installing ductwork, saving time and money.
- Install the heat pump in the off-season: Contractors will sometimes lower installation prices during spring and fall, when they’re less busy. Discounts on equipment and material are also typically offered during slower periods.
- Pick the correct size heat pump: Picking the correct size heat pump will eliminate the need for extra home modifications and materials.
- Select a less expensive brand: Different manufacturers’ products have different levels of quality and efficiency, as well as warranty lengths and customer service support. Research brands thoroughly to ensure you’re purchasing the best product for your needs.
Heat pumps are a great way to keep your home comfortable while saving money on energy bills. However, they do require a significant initial investment and should be carefully considered before making a purchase.
We recommend investing in a high-efficiency heat pump for the best long-term savings and value. Depending on your home’s size and your local climate, you may want to opt for a larger unit than necessary to ensure year-round comfort. We also recommend a professional heat pump installation to ensure it’s done correctly and efficiently.
Heat Pump Cost FAQ
How often should I replace my heat pump?
You should replace your heat pump when it becomes less effective at keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. This is typically around the 15-year mark. Have a professional inspect your heater before replacing it.
What is the average cost of heat pump installation?
Heat pump installation cost ranges from $4,000 to $7,500, with an average of $5,500. A more cost-effective installation could be as low as $2,500, or up to $10,000 on the high end.
Is it worth installing a heat pump?
Despite their initial cost, heat pumps are a great, low-maintenance investment that can provide energy savings throughout the year. Heat pumps also don’t have risks for a gas leak, which can expose you to carbon monoxide.
What size heat pump do I need for a 2,000-square-foot home?
With an energy-efficient HVAC system, you need 30 BTUs for each square foot of living space. A 2,000-square-foot home requires 60,000 BTUs of heat. This is just a general rule. It’s always best to consult a professional before investing in a heat pump.
What should I consider when choosing a heat pump?
When choosing a heat pump, consider your home’s size and layout. How much power does the pump need to heat and cool your living space? If your heat pump is too small, your home will struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature. You should also consider the compressor type, noise, efficiency ratings, and performance in your area’s climate.