What is a Heat Pump?
Despite their name, heat pumps do a lot more than heating. They also provide air conditioning and humidity control. During the heating season, a heat pump moves heat from the cool outdoors into your home; then during the cooling season, it transfers heat from your house to the warm outdoors. Heat pumps move heat rather than generate it, so they can heat and cool for significantly less cost than other systems, such as furnaces and central air conditioners
Heat pump systems offer an efficient alternative to central air conditioners and other heating systems by providing conditioned air at approximately one quarter of the cost. They provide not only heat to a home, but can also can be used to cool a home and control humidity. Heat pumps are most popular in southern regions where winters are mild and the summers are hot. Areas of the country subjected to prolonged winters and subfreezing temperatures are not ideal for this type of system.
Types of Heat Pumps
There are three main types of heat pumps to choose from depending on your home’s needs. There are air source heat pumps, mini-split ductless heat pumps, and also the more expensive geothermal heat pump. Each heat pump is suited for a particular home’s heating and cooling needs discussed below. It’s a good frame of reference that many heat pumps will need help from an alternate heat source if your area’s winter temperatures regularly drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you need help deciding which type of heat pump to install talk to one of our local heat pump installation contractors today.
1. Air Source Heat Pump Cost
Air-source heat pump systems are the most common option a homeowner will choose to install in their home if they currently have ductwork in place. An air source heat pump on average will cost between $3,625 and $5,200 for each indoor air handler unit you plan to install in each room (or zone). Total installation of a ducted central air source heat pump system can cost between $10,500 and $18,975.
An air source heat pump has an indoor air handler unit and also an outdoor heat pumping unit. They use the same vents and ducts that a furnace or central air conditioner would use. They are great for reducing your home’s heating costs compared to similar heating units such as a gas or electric furnace. They are often suited for climates that are found in the Northeast and Midwest regions. Many homeowners choose to use a heat pump in combination with a central ac unit or furnace since they are much cheaper to operate and only utilizing your furnace during times above average cold temperatures.
2. Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump Cost
Ductless mini split heat pumps are set up similar to a regular air source heat pump with an outside compressor unit and inside air handler that helps maintain your home’s temp. The cost to install a ductless heat pump can range from a low cost of $1,800 to a high cost of $7,542 for the average size single story home. They are perfect for homes that have no ductwork installed. Ductless heat pumps can offer full home air conditioning with multiple zone units installed in different rooms throughout the house. If you were to install a multi-zone ductless heat pump system with 4 different air handler units (AHU), you could expect to pay around $10K to install four units.
3. Geothermal Heat Pumps Cost
A ground and water source heat pump, also know as geothermal heat pumps, are another option for heat pump replacement. Geothermal heat pumps are better suited for bigger home’s that need a heating and cooling unit that can perform at maximum capacity for a large home. Geothermal heat pumps are the most expensive heat pump installation and can cost up to $22,000 to install due to added land excavation costs. It’s best to speak with a local contractor to see if you need this type of heat pump for your home or if you could install a cheaper option that would work just as well.
Heat Pump Labor Costs to Install
The average labor cost to install a heat pump will always depend on which heat pump type you are installing. The average labor cost ranges from $68 to $150 per hour. A ductless mini split heat pump would be the most affordable labor cost because it requires minimal work to install.
An air source heat pump would need to funnel in from the outside compressor unit and will need existing ductwork in your home. The labor costs will be more expensive if you need to replace your current ductwork or vents.
A geothermal heat pump labor cost will be the most expensive to install and take the most time due to the fact you may need to excavate your land in order to properly install a geothermal heat pump.
Additional labor costs may arise if the contractor needs to lay concrete for the outdoor heat condenser/compressor & fan unit, cut holes in exterior walls, run new electrical lines for the conduit, or perform other tasks as needed. Sometimes there will also be an old heat pump removal cost, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,300 and $2,000 for total labor costs. These costs will almost always be coupled into your original heat pump installation cost estimate. However, it’s always smart to thoroughly go through your cost quote to ensure these things have been reviewed.
What Factors Affect Heat Pump Installation Cost?
The total installation costs of your new home heat pump will depend largely on a few main factors. If you are only needing to heat a few areas of your home you will save money on in house air handler unit material costs. However if you are using a heat pump as your main heating and cooling system then these things will all affect your overall installation costs:
- Average Local Labor Costs in Your Area (cheaper in rural areas usually)
- Ductwork Installation or Replacement
- Heat Pump Brand Installed
- Home Size and Square Footage of Cooling Area
- Local HVAC Permit & Installation Fees
- Price of the Unit & Additional Materials Needed
- Time of Year Installed (more expensive during busy seasons)
Do Heat Pumps Save You Money?
Installing a heat pump will save you money, especially on future energy bills. Since heat pumps don’t use electricity to create heat they operate at a much higher energy efficiency. Each heat pump type saves you money at different rates anywhere from 20% to 80% in savings on energy bills which we will discuss below:
– Air Source Heat Pump Energy Savings
If you live in an area with mild climates and air source heat pump can be extremely helpful in lowering energy bills. You can expect to save up to 40% on your energy bills if you are used to utilizing a central air conditioner or furnace cooling and heating system.
– Mini Split Ductless Heat Pump Energy Savings
A ductless heat pump can will save you anywhere from 25% to 40% on your regular energy bills if you don’t require utilizing an alternative heating source when temps drop below a certain point.
– Geothermal Ground Source Heat Pump Energy Savings
A geothermal heat pump, though it is the most expensive to install, is the most energy efficient heat pump installation option. A ground source heat pump can save you up to 80% on your future energy bills and can operate fully in even the coldest temperatures.
What Size Heat Pump Do I Need for My Home?
To determine the size of heat pump you should install in your home, you’ll want to know the square footage of the areas that are needing to be heated or cooled. You’ll also need to use the climate map below to determine what climate zone you live in. If you lived in the southern part of the U.S. in Zone 1, you would need a heat pump that can handle 30 to 35 BTU’s per square foot. For a 2,000 square foot home you would want to install a 4 ton heat pump, with each ton being able to output 12,000 BTU’s an hour which would cost around $2,945 to $4,897 to install.
Ductless Heat Pump Size Needed
|Ductless Heat Pump BTUs Needed||Room Square Ft.|
|6,000 BTUs||150 to 250 sf.|
|7,000 BTUs||250 to 300 sf.|
|8,000 BTUs||300 to 350 sf.|
|9,000 BTUs||350 to 400 sf.|
|10,000 BTUs||400 to 450 sf.|
|12,000 BTUs||450 to 550 sf.|
|14,000 BTUs||550 to 700 sf.|
|18,000 BTUs||700 to 1,000 sf.|
|21,000 BTUs||1,000 to 1,200 sf.|
|23,000 BTUs||1,200 to 1,400 sf.|
|24,000 BTUs||1,500 sf. +|
Heat Pump Prices by Brand
If you are looking for a more affordable heat pump brand you may be interested in installing an Aire-Flo brand heat pump. A 3 ton Aire-Flo 4HP14LI8 Heat Pump with an 18,000 BTU capability would cost as low as $1,200 + labor and installation. If you were looking to install a high quality brand 3 ton Carrier Performance Heat Pump with a 15 SEER rating, then you could expect to pay around $2,634 for the unit alone and $7,985 in total installation costs.
|Heat Pump Brands||SEER Rating||Unit Price|
|Aire-Flo||14||$950 to $1,500|
|Airtemp||16||$1,000 to $1,675|
|Amana||15 - 18||$1,250 to $3,200|
|American Standard||14||$1,285 to $3,995|
|Ameristar||14||$1,055 to $1,450|
|Armstrong Air||14 - 20||$1,165 to $3,700|
|Armstrong and Ducane||15 - 20||$1,100 to $3,175|
|Bryant||14 - 20||$1,255 to $4,275|
|Carrier||14 - 20||$1,350 to $4,265|
|Coleman||13 - 20||$1,100 to $3,675|
|Daikin HVAC||15 - 18||$1,150 to $3,150|
|Day & Night||14 - 19||$1,135 to $3,925|
|DiamondAir||14 - 15||$900 to $1,760|
|Ducane||14 - 20||$1,150 to $3,150|
|Goodman||15 - 18||$1,150 to $3,500|
|Heil||14 - 19||$1,135 to $3,925|
|Lennox||16 - 23||$1,425 to $4,400|
|Luxaire||13 - 20||$1,200 to $3,675|
|Maytag||15 - 19||$1,245 to $3,720|
|Payne||14 - 17||$1,075 to $3,050|
|Rheem||14||$1,200 to $3,750|
|Ruud||14||$1,200 to $3,750|
|Tempstar||14 - 19||$1,135 to $3,925|
|Trane||14||$1,285 to $3,995|
|York||13 - 20||$1,250 to $3,675|
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
So how exactly does a heat pump system maintain your home’s temperature. How a heat pump works is primarily by transferring outside heat to the inside of your home during the winter months. During the summer months it transfers heat from inside your home to the outside. Which is the simple way of explaining it.
During the heating cycle, as liquid refrigerant circulates through the outside condenser coils, it absorbs heat and transforms into a gas. As the gas travels through to the indoor evaporator coils, it releases the heat which is dispersed into the home via the air handler and duct system and converts back into a liquid. During the cooling cycle, the process is reversed. This type of heat pump system is commonly referred to as an air source heat pump.
Heat Pump Parts:
- Reversing Valve
- Air Handler Unit (Indoor)
The condenser, compressor and reversing valve — make up the outside unit. The evaporator and air handler — are part of the inside air handler unit.