How much does it cost to install a heat pump system?
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Heat Pump Cost Guide
Updated: November 23, 2022
If you want a more efficient way to heat and cool your home, a heat pump may be what you are looking for. Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to move heat into and out of your home. The heat pump is not actually generating any heat. It is just moving it from one place to another, making it incredibly efficient and results in a more comfortable home for less money spent on energy bills.
There are several types of heat pumps, which all come in different sizes and configurations. For this reason, there is a wide range of associated costs with a heat pump installation. The national average cost ranges from $3,700 to $11,000, with most people paying around $10,539 for a 3 ton heat pump with a central air handling unit.
Heat Pump Cost
|Heat Pump Installation Cost
|National average cost
Heat Pump Cost by Type
Heat pumps come in a wide range of specific types, which are loosely grouped into three categories - air-to-air, dual fuel, geothermal. Each has different considerations and costs for installation.
|Heat Pump Type
|Average Cost Range
|$5,000 - $20,000
|$6,000 - $12,000
|$12,000 - $30,000
Air Source Heat Pump
Air source is one of the most common types of heat pumps. These units are centrally installed and use the ducts in your home or are ductless, using a mini-split system that heats and cools individual rooms in your home. They work by taking the heat from the air outdoors and compressing it as they move it inside. They work very efficiently in temperatures down to 30 degrees F and work as a supplemental system down to about 5 degrees F. They also cool your home by running in reverse to move the hot air out during the summer. They have a wide cost range because of the different installation methods - ducted or ductless - and cost between $5,000 and $20,000 installed.
Dual-fuel/hybrid Heat Pump
If you live in a very cold climate, a dual-fuel or hybrid heat pump may be a better fit. These systems use an air source heat pump until the temperature drops to about 30 degrees F. Then, they switch to a forced hot air gas furnace. Because you use the air source heat pump most of the time, you still save energy and money on heating costs. These systems also work well to cool your home in the summer. They cost between $6,000 and $12,000 for most systems.
Geothermal Heat Pump
Geothermal heat pumps work in one of three ways. They take heat directly from the ground below the frost line, they take heat from water in an open loop, meaning that they use the water in the ground then return it to the ground, or they can take heat from water in a closed loop, running refrigerant through closed tubes located in water. Because of the need for a nearby lake or aquifer for the water source for geothermal pumps, most installations are done in the ground, using either horizontal or vertical loops depending on how much space you have. Vertical loops cost more to install but need less room than horizontal loops. Geothermal systems work well in nearly all climates, including those that are very hot or cold, heating and cooling the air efficiently. They cost between $12,000 and $30,000 on average.
Split vs Packaged Heat Pumps
Whether you choose a geothermal or an air source heat pump, you have a choice between a packaged system and a split system. Packaged systems come factory welded, including both heat exchangers and the compressor. They are less expensive and easier to install. However, if you do not have room for one and are putting your heat pump in a less conventional area like an attic, then you may choose to purchase a split heat pump. In this case, the heat exchangers and compressors are in three different packages. They need to be welded together on-site, so they cost more to purchase and install than a packaged system, but they give you more flexibility for placement in your home.
Expect the split system to cost about $550 more for the system itself and around $3,000 more for installation than the packaged system. Packaged system costs start at $3,500, while split systems have prices starting at about $3,850.
Single vs Multi-zone Air Source Heat Pumps
Whether installing a centrally sourced or ductless air source heat pump, you have choices for how to zone your home. In a centrally located heat pump, the system heats and cools the entire home equally if you have one zone. This means that it also heats and cools sections of the home that you may not be using, may not get as hot or cold, or has different needs. By splitting it into different zones, you have the option of controlling the different sections individually. Each has its own thermostat and makes changes accordingly. Doing so increases your costs by $3,000 to $5,000 to include the various dampers, zone control board, and a new thermostat.
If you have a ductless system, having one zone means that you heat and cool the room the system is in. This makes sense for additions and open floor plans but makes less sense for smaller rooms. In this case, having additional zones lets you heat and cool each room in the system. This means that you need to purchase a separate air handler for each room you want heated and cooled. They run off one compressor for up to 4 handlers. After that, you need an additional compressor. Each air handler is $2,000 to $3,000, which means that for each zone you add, you increase your costs by about that much for the system.
What Size Heat Pump Will I Need?
Like any HVAC system, your heat pump is sized based on several factors, including your climate, home size, and how well insulated your home is. Determine the basic heat pump size you need by finding your climate zone on this U.S. Climate Zone Map and your home’s square footage. Heat pumps are sold by the ton, with 1 ton equally roughly 12,000 BTUs. To find the pump size you need, multiply the number of recommended BTUs per square foot for your climate zone by the square feet of your home. Divide this number by 12,000 to calculate the tonnage you need.
Because heat pumps heat and cool, you need larger heat pumps for very hot and very cold climates. Air source heat pumps are not recommended for zones 6 and 7 by themselves, but they may be used with supplemental heating or as a dual-fuel system in those climates. Geothermal heat pumps are sized up to heat homes located in those climates.
|BTUs per Square Foot
|1 & 2
|22 - 30 BTUs per sq.ft.
|20 - 24 BTUs per sq.ft.
|4 & 5
|16 - 22 BTUs per sq.ft.
|20 - 24 BTUs per sq.ft.
|22 - 30 BTUs per sq.ft.
A 2,000 sq.ft. home located in zone 4 needs a 2.5 - 3.5-ton heat pump to adequately heat and cool the space.
Heat Pump Prices by Number of Tons
The heat pump size impacts the system cost. Below are the average costs for air source heat pumps based on tonnage. Your system may have a higher or lower price, depending on your needs.
|Number of Tons
|Average Cost Range (system only)
|$500 - $1,500
|$900 - $2,000
|$1,700 - $5,000
|$1,800 - $5,000
|$2,000 - $6,000
|$2,100 - $6,200
|$2,500 - $6,500
|$2,700 - $7,000
|$3,000 - $8,000
Heat Pump Prices by Brand
Part of the cost related to your heat pump comes from the brand that you choose. Some brands focus on making premium systems that are more efficient but also more costly. Others make basic or standard efficiency models, which cost less to purchase and install. Below are some of the top brands and their related costs.
|Average Cost (system only)
|$1,200 - $4,000
|$1,200 - $4,000
|$1,300 - $4,500
|$1,400 - $5,000
|$1,500 - $6,000
Heat Pump Installation Cost
The cost of your heat pump installation depends on the system type and where in your home it is placed. Geothermal heat pumps cost $7,000 to $22,000 because you need to have your yard excavated first, then the coils installed below ground before the system is installed and hooked up inside.
The cost to install an air source heat pump is between $2,000 and $3,000, assuming you have ducts in good condition. If you need modifications made, it costs another $500 - $3,000. Ductless systems cost between $800 and $5,000 to install, depending on the system size, number of zones, and position of the air handlers.
Cost to Run a Heat Pump
The exact cost to run your heat pump varies tremendously based on several factors, including the system type, whether you are heating or cooling, outside temperature, and system efficiency. Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to move the air, and the cost of electricity also varies widely from state to state.
According to Energy.gov, they save you between 30% and 60% on your heating costs and 20% to 50% on your cooling costs. A heat pump pays for itself in about 3 years.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Installing a Heat Pump
Many factors ultimately impact the cost of a heat pump installation. These include your climate zone, home size, how energy efficient your home is, system type, yard size, soil conditions, and whether you have a well on your property. Because there are so many factors impacting your system and its costs, it is always a good idea to speak to a knowledgeable HVAC technician in your area to get more information.
Heat Pump Replacement Cost
Depending on the type of heat pump you purchase, you may find that you do not need to replace it. Geothermal systems are designed to last more than 100 years. The internal parts of the system, such as the air handler, may need eventual replacement after several decades. If you have an older geothermal air handler, expect replacement costs of around $8,000.
Air source heat pumps do not last as long and may need replacement much sooner. Like geothermal pumps, however, you may not need to replace the entire system. Usually, only the outdoor compressor needs replacement because it is exposed to the elements. The heat pump compressor replacement cost is around $5,000 to $7,000. The cost to replace the heat pump compressor and the air handler is about $10,000 on average because, at this point, you need to make upgrades for the newer, more efficient systems.
High-efficiency Heat Pumps
Like all HVAC systems, heat pumps come in different efficiencies, including standard and high-efficiency. The key is that heat pumps both heat and cool a space, so they have two different ratings.
The first is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which refers to cooling efficiency. While a basic heat pump has a SEER of 13 - 14, a high-efficiency model has a SEER of 23 or 24.
For heating, heat pumps use the heating season performance factor (HSPF) for rating. A basic heat pump has an HSPF of 8 - 11, while a high-efficiency unit has an HSPF of 13 or 14.
Benefits of a Heat Pump
Heat pumps are extremely energy-efficient, producing up to 300 times the energy they consume. This means that you have much lower energy bills when heating and cooling your home. This also means a lower carbon footprint because you use less energy overall. Heat pumps are also installed in nearly every location. They run off electricity, so there is no need to worry about storing oil or propane or whether you have a natural gas line run to your home.
Geothermal heat pumps are very long-lasting, so this may be the last HVAC system you purchase for your home.
These systems also heat and cool. So rather than needing two separate systems, you keep your home a more comfortable temperature year-round with just one.
Heat Pump Thermostat Cost
Your heat pump runs off of a thermostat like any other HVAC system. To make the most of your efficiency, choose a programmable thermostat to lower your energy usage. The cost to install a programmable thermostat is between $145 and $230.
Cost to Replace a Gas Furnace with a Heat Pump
Many people choose to replace existing furnaces with heat pumps to lower their energy costs. This has the same cost as installing the new heat pump - around $10,000 on average for an air source heat pump and about $20,000 on average for a geothermal heat pump.
Heat Pump vs Furnace
Furnaces heat your home by warming air that it forces through ducts. They do so either by resistance (electricity) or combustion (gas, propane, and oil). They only heat your home and produce air temperatures up to 150 degrees F.
Heat pumps only move heat from one location to another. They also circulate warmed air through your home, but they do not produce the heat. They use ducts like furnaces but only reach air temperatures of 120 degrees F, so they may not be as comfortable on very cold days unless you use a hybrid system that switches to a furnace. Heat pumps cool the air in your home in the warmer months while furnaces do not.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
If you have ducts in your home and want to create zones to make heating and cooling more efficient, this adds between $2,000 to $3,000 for duct zoning.
Updating your home insulation improves the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. The cost to insulate a home is between $3,500 and $4,500.
Upgrading older windows to newer, more energy-efficient models makes your home more comfortable, while improving your energy efficiency at the same time. Replacement windows cost between $650 and $1,500 each.
Before you have any energy upgrades done to your home, it is a good idea to get an energy audit done first. This identifies the areas that benefit the most from an upgrade. Energy audits cost around $250.
Reverse Cycle Chiller
A newer heat pump type, called a reverse cycle chiller, uses a tank of water stored outdoors. Instead of using air, it extracts and deposits heat in the water. They cost around $12,000 installed.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Heat pumps are installed in all properties, including mobile homes. Given their size, a mobile home uses a much smaller heat pump, often costing around $5,000 installed.
- Heat pumps have very few maintenance costs, and many systems have very few repair costs as well. The average heat pump repair cost is around $250 to $650.
- It is important that your heat pump is within 10% to 20% of the recommended BTUs (size) for your square footage and climate. Having an undersized or oversized system means you pay too much in energy bills, and your system wears out sooner.
- Heat pumps use very little electricity, about 40% of the electricity used by the same-sized furnace.
- Heat pumps run nearly all the time, as they heat and cool your home.
- If your heat pump bill is higher than anticipated, it likely means that your system is too large for your home.
- The most efficient temperature to keep your home set is around 70 degrees F in the winter.
- Government credits may be available for making energy-efficient upgrades to your home, including installing a heat pump. These credits change yearly, so speak to a tax accountant for more information.
- Permits are required in most areas to have a heat pump installed.
- Heat pumps have long been used in more moderate climates, but newer technologies and high-efficiency heat pumps mean that they may now be used in zone 5, while hybrid systems may be used in zones 6 and 7.
- Heat pumps do not require covers, and they may be used in all climates and seasons.
- Look for a heat pump with on-demand defrost control, which reduces your energy usage during defrosting cycles.
- How much does it cost to install a 3-ton heat pump?
This depends on the heat pump type and is anywhere from $8,000 - $30,000.
- Do heat pumps save money?
Yes, they save you 20% to 60% on your energy bills.
- What is the best cold climate heat pump?
A hybrid or dual-fuel heat pump is best for cold climates.
- How many years does a heat pump last?
This depends on the heat pump type, but most last between 10 and 100 years.
- What size heat pump do I need for a 2,000 sq.ft. home?
This depends on your climate zone and how well insulated your home is. The average size is 3 - 5 tons.
- At what temperature do heat pumps become ineffective?
This depends on the heat pump, but generally, air source heat pumps start to lose efficiency at 30 degrees F.