If you live in a northern climate and are looking for a way to make your heating system more efficient, while also adding the option for cooling in the warmer months, consider a hybrid or dual fuel heat pump. Hybrid heat pumps combine highly efficient heat pumps, which move heat into or out of your home, with a high-efficiency gas furnace. While not the best choice for every climate, dual fuel heat pumps provide greater heating and cooling flexibility and lower energy bills in some northern areas. Many sizes, brands, and configurations for hybrid heat pumps impact the project cost.
The national average cost for a hybrid heat pump installation ranges from $7,500 to $12,000. Most homeowners spend around $9,500 to install a 3-ton heat pump with a 120,000 BTU gas furnace for a 2,000 sq.ft. home that is well-insulated. At the low end of the price range, some people spend as little as $5,500 to install a 1.5-ton heat pump with basic features and a standard 50,000 BTU gas furnace for a home or apartment smaller than 1,000 sq.ft. At the high end of the spectrum, you could spend as much as $15,000 to install a dual fuel heat pump with new ducts and a gas-powered furnace for a home that measures 2,500 sq.ft. with additional insulation.
|Hybrid Heat Pump Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$9,500|
Hybrid heat pumps consist of two components - a heat pump, which cycles refrigerant between an outdoor compressor and an indoor air handler, and a standard forced hot air gas furnace. Heat pumps are more efficient at heating your home when the temperature outside is at least 30 to 40 degrees F. They are also very cost-effective, producing up to 300 times the energy that they use.
The heat pump is installed with the compressor outdoors on a pad and an air handler indoors. The air handler also accommodates a standard gas furnace, and the two systems share the same ducts. You can manually switch between the two if you notice that it is warming up outside and you want to save energy, or it is cooling down, and your heat pump is struggling to heat your home. Because they only produce heat up to around 108 degrees as opposed to a furnace’s 150 degrees, they tend to be most comfortable when heating homes in moderately cold climates. When the outside temperature is colder, the furnace can be used to provide more comfortable heating.
The cost of a dual fuel heat pump system based on the fuel source ranges from $2,000 to $8,000 for the unit only. These systems are typically comprised of an electric heat pump and a gas furnace, but some models may have propane as the fuel source for cleaner energy. Each has its pros and cons, so it will be up to each homeowner to consider what is best.
Natural gas is the most common and easiest to get. Some people also find oil to be a reliable and affordable option. However, these are not necessarily the most efficient. Propane offers clean fuel, but it is much more expensive to install. It may be a good investment for those looking for energy savings due to rebates and the return on investment over time. In the table below, you will see a breakdown of the cost of the most common options for fuel sources with price ranges based on the average cost of the most common unit sizes.
|Fuel Source||Heat Pump Cost (Unit Only)|
|Natural Gas||$2,000 - $4,500|
|Oil||$3,500 - $5,500|
|Propane||$4,500 - $8,000|
If you are planning to purchase a heat pump by size, you will spend between $1,500 and $10,000 on these systems based on their capacity. Heat pumps range from 1.5 tons to 5 tons and provide solutions for homes ranging from 1,000 sq.ft. to 2,500 sq.ft. or more. They come with a furnace that is the appropriate size, ensuring even heating and cooling throughout the home. The table below shows a breakdown of common heat pump sizes, the square footage they accommodate, and how much each size costs.
|Home Size||Heat Pump Size||Cost (Unit Only)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||1.5 - 2 tons||$1,500 - $3,500|
|1,500 sq.ft.||2.5 - 3 tons||$2,500 - $5,500|
|2,000 sq.ft.||3 - 3.5 tons||$3,000 - $8,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||4 - 5 tons||$4,000 - $10,000|
You can expect to spend between $1,500 and $12,000 for the unit only when pricing heat pumps by brand. The dual fuel heat pump brand you purchase can influence its cost. Some brands have premium features or materials that raise their costs, while others may be less efficient and cheaper to purchase and install. The size of the unit and components that are included impact what you pay.
Brands like Amana and Goodman offer affordable options for those who do not have a huge budget for this upgrade. Bosch and Mitsubishi fall in the middle of the price range. Brands like Carrier and Trane top the prices for heat pumps when pricing the units only. These are average ranges. Some systems could easily be much more expensive than the “average,” based on features, sizing, and other factors. In the table below, you will see some of the leading hybrid heat pump manufacturers and the average cost of their systems.
|Brand||Heat Pump Cost (Unit Only)|
|Amana||$1,500 - $3,000|
|Ruud||$2,500 - $5,000|
|Goodman||$3,000 - $5,000|
|Bosch||$3,000 - $6,000|
|Daikin||$3,000 - $7,000|
|Mitsubishi||$4,000 - $7,000|
|Heil||$4,000 - $7,000|
|Rheem||$4,500 - $8,000|
|Lennox||$5,000 - $8,000|
|Carrier||$5,000 - $9,000|
|Trane||$6,000 - $12,000|
Dual fuel heat pumps have a range of associated costs for installation from $2,000 to $4,000. The average installation cost is around $3,000 out of the $9,500 total or $65 to $150 per hour. This is because you are essentially installing three pieces of equipment: the compressor, air handler, and furnace. This takes up to 6 hours to complete and is usually performed by a heating and cooling specialist or a plumber with experience in heat pump and furnace installation.
The process starts by mapping out the installation based on the current configuration. Each part is then installed. With the compressor and air handler in place, the new furnace is installed. There may be one or two technicians on the job, depending on how much work needs to be done. Any modifications to the system will be made prior to the installation of the dual fuel heat pump.
Several factors affect what you pay to install a dual fuel heat pump. For example, if you require modifications to existing equipment, such as ducts or gas lines, you could spend a little more. And if you need brand new ducts or to locate your heat pump in an out-of-the-way area, expect to pay more. Other factors that affect the cost of this project include the size and type of pump you choose and how big your home is.
If your existing furnace is in proper condition and meets the requirements, you can convert your existing system and add a hybrid dual fuel heat pump for between $2,500 and $8,000 for the conversion alone. This would not include the usual cost of a furnace since you already have one, but it also does not mean that you will not be making the most efficient upgrade. Still, for some people, conversion is the best option and the only realistic way that they can consider switching to a heat pump system when they are on a tight budget. Talk to your installer about this cost and the potential steps and roadblocks involved.
Like any HVAC equipment, it is important to have your hybrid heat pump sized correctly to your home. Because it has two components - the heat pump and furnace - you want each of these sized to your home’s needs. Hybrid heat pumps are only recommended for climate zones 6 & 7, as seen on this map by the U.S. Department of Energy. Each zone has a recommended number of BTUs needed for heat pumps and furnaces to effectively do their jobs.
After finding your climate zone, multiply the square footage you are heating by the number of BTUs in each column. This gives you the correct size for the heat pump and furnace for your home. For example, a 2,000 sq.ft. home in zone 6 needs a 3 to 4-ton (40,000 - 48,000 BTU) heat pump, depending on insulation and a 100,000 to 120,000 BTU furnace. A zone 7 home will need the same size furnace, but a 3.5 to 5-ton (44,000 - 60,000 BTU) heat pump.
|Zone||BTUs for Heat Pump per Sq.Ft.||BTUs for Furnace per Sq.Ft.|
|Zone 6||20 - 24||50 - 60|
|Zone 7||22 - 30||50 - 60|
Heat pumps are sold by the ton, with one ton equaling about 12,000 BTUs. Furnaces are usually sold by the BTU, and you can use the same method to determine the size of the hybrid heat pump you need. It is important to talk to your installer about your size needs to ensure you get the best hybrid heat pump for your home. Below is a list of home sizes and heat pump and furnace size recommendations for homes in zone 6.
|Home Size in Sq.Ft.||Heat Pump Size||Furnace Size|
|1,000 sq.ft.||1.5 - 2 tons||50,000 - 60,000 BTUs|
|1,500 sq.ft.||2.5 - 3 tons||75,000 - 90,000 BTUs|
|1,750 sq.ft.||2.5 - 3 tons||87,500 - 105,000 BTUs|
|2,000 sq.ft.||3 - 3.5 tons||100,000 - 120,000 BTUs|
|2,500 sq.ft.||4 - 5 tons||125,000 - 150,000 BTUs|
Dual fuel heat pumps are very efficient, even though they are installed in very cold climates. The recommended efficiency rating for cold climates is at least 90% for furnaces, with most being 95% or higher, and heat pumps return 300 times the heat for the energy they consume. So, any hybrid heat pump you purchase will be highly efficient. This is often why people choose to upgrade to this type of system in the first place. It can be a big advantage.
Heat pumps can be very effective in most moderate to moderately cold climates. High-efficiency heat pumps can even be used when the temperature drops to 5 degrees F., although at that point, they may struggle to warm the house. That is why homes located in northern climates that regularly see temperatures below freezing or below zero do better with a dual fuel heat pump rather than a standard heat pump.
While a standard gas furnace works fine in these climates, having a heat pump running 70% to 90% of the time can lower your energy costs. Heat pumps also provide the option to cool your home in the summer, which can be ideal for climates that only need air conditioning a few months out of the year, making central air conditioning too expensive.
The main difference between these systems is their capacity and cost. Ductless heat pumps are much more efficient at heating and cooling smaller spaces. They are also known as mini-splits and have an air handler installed in the room that they are heating and cooling and a compressor outside. They are a good choice for small homes and additions where you do not have ducts. However, they do not work well for entire houses because they cannot heat very small rooms like bathrooms and need supplemental heat.
This is where a dual fuel system comes into play. When you choose this hybrid system, you will use less energy, which means your energy bills will be lower. A dual fuel heat pump is preferable if you want one heating solution that takes care of the entire house instead of adding supplemental heat sources. Ductless mini-split heat pump systems are popular for cooling small homes, but dual fuel heat pumps are much better for larger or more complex spaces. In the table below, you will see the average price range of each type.
|Heat Pump Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Ductless||$3,000 - $8,000|
|Hybrid||$6,000 - $12,000|
Programmable thermostats cost between $105 and $400 installed. Your dual fuel heat pump can be operated manually with your current thermostat by switching from one to the other at the source. However, if you would like the system to work independently, you need to use a dual fuel thermostat, which is wired to both systems and allows you to program it to switch between systems as needed.
Investing in solar panels costs between $15,000 and $21,000. Adding solar panels to your home gives you a new way to collect, store, and use energy that lowers your costs even more than with the hybrid heat pump alone. If you are going for total efficiency, you should speak to your installer about how solar panels enhance your upgrade and increase your home’s efficiency. After all, if you have solar panels, you have electricity that is very cheap. Why not use as much electricity as possible by installing a heat pump instead of using something like a gas furnace and incurring additional costs?
If you live in a very cold climate and already have ducts installed, then yes, they can pay for themselves in roughly 3 years.
Dual fuel heat pumps are more expensive than some systems, such as ductless mini-split systems. However, they provide more durability, more features, and other perks for the cost.
A dual fuel heat pump lasts between 20 and 25 years when properly cared for and maintained. This is almost double the lifespan of other furnaces and HVAC systems.