Heat pumps are the future of household temperature control. They are significantly more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient than furnaces, saving the planet while saving you money on your utility bills. Before you invest in a heat pump, you need to know everything from the different types of heat pumps available to the costs associated with each system. Read on to discover how installing a heat pump could be the perfect decision for your home and your finances.
Average Installed Cost of a Heat Pump System
The costs associated with installing a heat pump can vary significantly depending on the type of heat pump you choose. On average, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $15,000, with a ductless mini-split unit sitting at the lower end of the price range while a geothermal unit comes with a remarkably higher price.
The size of your property and its current infrastructure can also influence the cost of installation. While the upfront costs can seem significant, it is important to remember that effectively installed heat pump systems can produce 1.5 to 3 times more heat than the electrical energy they must consume while operating. As such, a modern heat pump can reduce the amount of electricity you use to heat your home by 50 percent. Over time, this amounts to significant savings in regard to your energy consumption and the associated utility bills.
Factors that Influence Heat Pump Prices
If you are considering installing a heat pump in your home, there are several factors that will affect the associated costs of both the unit and the installation process. Gathering this information ensures that you are well informed and can make the best decision for your home.
Most manufacturers calculate the capacity of heat pumps in tons, with domestic units typically measuring between 2 to 5 tons. To get the most out of a heat pump, you need to find the right size for your home, otherwise, you could end up with inefficient heating or, on the other hand, paying more for a unit that is too large for your home.
In addition to the square footage of your home, you need to take the height of your ceilings, the number of windows, and the type of insulation you have into consideration. Each of these factors will impact the requirements of the heat pump.
There is a wide range of heat pumps currently available on the market. Most brands offer a selection of heat pumps suitable for different budgets. Before settling on a particular brand, read customer reviews and look at what else is available. A couple of minutes of research to compare the prices of both the unit and the installation costs can lead to substantial savings.
Time of Year
It is more expensive to install a heat pump in the winter due to high demand. If you are interested in a heat pump, you can save money and time by having it installed during the spring and summer months.
To ensure that your heat pump is safely and efficiently installed, it is always advisable to hire an HVAC contractor. The cost of installation will vary depending on both the type of heat pump you choose and the condition of your home’s current heat control and duct system.
Average Heat Pump Costs by Type
There are four main types of heat pumps for homeowners to choose from, each coming with its own advantages and associated costs. For every budget and home, there is an appropriate heat pump.
An air-source heat pump warms your home by trapping outside air in refrigerants and compressing it before delivering hot air through your home’s duct system. These systems are comprised of two units, an indoor air handler unit, and an outdoor heating pump unit. They use the same ductwork as an air conditioning system and a furnace. It is common for homeowners to install an air-source heat pump in tandem with a furnace, only relying on the furnace during especially cold periods when the temperature drops below the national average.
According to the Canadian government, air-source systems are the most commonly installed heat pump on the Canadian market, with over 700,000 units installed across the country.
On average, these systems cost between $3,500 to $10,000 to install. This price is dependent on the property’s current duct system. If your home does not have a duct system, or if the current system is in need of repair, you will have to pay additional labor costs to ensure the necessary ductwork is in place.
Geothermal heat pumps are the most efficient type of heat pump, however, they come with a substantial upfront cost. They use the constant temperature of the earth or a body of water to collect and store heat in a buried loop of pipes called a heat exchanger. An indoor unit receives these temperatures, which are then used to heat and distribute warm air throughout the property. It is an incredibly efficient, eco-friendly heating system that can reduce a property’s energy bills by 65 percent.
The cost of installing a geothermal unit ranges between $15,000 to $36,000. The installation costs are so much higher than other systems because part of the system has to be buried underground. Trenches that are at least four feet deep must be dug around the property to install an effective geothermal system. This comes with significant labor costs due to the time and equipment required. This upfront cost comes with considerable long-term savings and, given that the life expectancy of a geothermal system is 20 to 25 years, you will not have to replace it any time soon.
Ductless mini-split systems work similarly to an air-source heat pump. Each zone of the house can be heated with its own set of indoor and outdoor units. This system is ideal for smaller homes that do not have an air duct system in place because the air is passed between the two units rather than through a vent system. While many people underestimate this system due to its minimal infrastructure and size, it can effectively heat your home in sub-zero temperatures.
These heat pumps are the cheapest option currently available on the market, with the average cost of the unit and installation ranging between $1,500 to $8,000. This is largely due to the minimal labor costs associated with the installation process.
Gas-Fired Heat Pump
Gas-fired heat pumps are less common in residential properties because they are not as energy efficient as other temperature control systems. They rely on natural gas, increasing their annual cost. For larger homes, they can be preferable because they can manage and sustain the temperature of bigger rooms.
The average cost for a gas-fired heat pump is $4,500 to $8,000.
Heat Pump Price List by Leading Brands
Prices and efficiency vary across brands, so it’s important to compare what is available on the market before settling on a particular heat pump.
York offers customers both mini-split systems and packaged units. The price of mini-split systems ranges between $1,500 and $2,500 for just the unit, and between $4,500 and $6,000 to pay for the unit and installation. York heat pumps come with energy ratings as high as 21 SEER and 10-year warranties.
Keeprite boasts a range of air-source heat pumps that can also serve as dehumidifiers during the summer months. On average, their systems cost $3,300 and $6,300, depending on whether you install the system independently or not.
Dankin offers a similar price bracket for its air-source heat pumps, with prices varying between $4,000 and $6,600. They are committed to minimizing the domestic need for fossil fuels and provide systems with SEER ratings of 27.
With air-source heat pumps that come with a variety of comfort features, such as quieter systems and incorporated dehumidifiers, Carrier is a respected and reliable brand. Their systems cost between $4,300 and $8,000.
Heat Pump Price by Size
Before you purchase a heat pump, it is essential to know what size heat pump would be most suited to your home. HVAC contractors can conduct surveys of your home, taking measurements of the property, the ceiling height, and the number of windows, to calculate what size heating pump would be appropriate for your property.
|Size in Tons||Price of Complete System||Price of Complete System Installed|
Cost by Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings
Companies will offer heat pumps with varying energy efficiency ratings. Typically, the more efficient a system is, the more expensive it will be. Anything with a SEER rating above 14 is considered to have high energy efficiency. While it can be tempting to avoid higher upfront costs, it is important to remember that the energy efficiency rating of the system will affect your utility bills. Paying more upfront can save you considerable money in the long term.
|SEER Rating||Unit Price|
|14||$950 – $1,300|
|15||$1,100 – $1,750|
|16||$1,000 – $1,800|
|17||$2,000 – $2,750|
|18||$3,100 – $3,500|
|19||$3,750 – $4,000|
|20||$3,950 – $4,300|
Replacement Cost for Type of Heat Pump Installed
If your heat pump stops working, there can be several common causes, such as a blockage or aging ductwork. It is always advisable to contact an HVAC contractor to complete any necessary repairs and to check if your system is still under warranty.
It may be necessary to replace your entire heat pump system if it is beyond repair. The fees associated with replacement vary, but on average it can cost between $3,000 and $6,000 to replace air-source and ductless mini-split systems. For geothermal pumps, replacing the compressor can cost $750 to $1,700. To replace the entire geothermal system, homeowners can expect to pay up to $15,000.
It is important to note that during the peak seasons, HVAC contractors will charge considerably more to replace or repair your heat pump. If you notice that your system is not performing as well as it should, the issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Heat Pump Performance Features and Price Factors
The performance of a heat pump is assessed according to two factors, the COP and the SEER. Typically, the higher the SEER rating, the more expensive the heat pump will be.
The COP refers to the Coefficient of Performance rating. This is calculated from the ratio of heat produced per unit of electricity consumed when the heat pump is active. If a heat pump is awarded a COP of 2.5, that means it produces 2.5 times as much heat energy as it consumed. Units with a higher COP will save you considerable money on your utility bills because they use less electricity while producing more heat than other temperature control systems.
A SEER rating is focused on how effectively a system cools a property. It stands for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is calculated using a similar metric to the COP. A system with a higher SEER rating will cool your home more effectively than a lower-graded system. As such, heat pumps awarded a rating of 17 or higher typically cost more. To get the most out of a heat pump in regard to comfort and your finances, it is better to choose a system with a high SEER.
Heat Pump Installation and Add-On Costs
When budgeting for a heat pump, you need to consider the associated installation costs. These costs will vary depending on the current heat control system you have in your home and whether your property has a pre-existing air duct system. The efficiency and size of the heat pump you are having installed will also affect the price.
The price of installation covers the cost of the units, labor, permit and inspection fees, rewiring, and smart thermostats. For an average 16 SEER air-source system, you can expect to pay $6,500 for the unit and installation.
There are several additional features that can be included in your heat pump, all of which will increase the price of installation. In some properties, it may be necessary to build a duct system, which can cost between $2,500 and $5,000. Extra features, such as zoning equipment, dehumidifiers and purifiers, and a communicating thermostat can be incorporated into your heat pump system if you pay additional fees. These features can be beneficial but are not necessary for your heat pump to function efficiently.
Heat Pump Cost: DIY Installation vs. Hiring a Professional
When it comes to heating and cooling your home, you want to ensure that the system has been installed so that it is both safe and maximizes efficiency. As such, it is always advisable to hire a professional HVAC contractor.
Geothermal heat pumps require specialist equipment and intensive labor to install. While the costs of labor are expensive, with these systems it is always necessary to hire qualified contractors who are familiar with geothermal heat pumps.
Air-source and ductless mini-split heat pumps also require specialist knowledge. While heat pumps run on electricity and, therefore, do not necessitate interference with gas or water lines, they are still complex systems that can be hindered by ineffective installation. A specialist will be able to assess the ideal location for your units, calibrate them, and ensure that the system is working as it should.
However, there are some parts of the installation process you can complete yourself to reduce labor costs. Tasks such as creating the three-inch wide access points through which the indoor and outdoor systems will be connected can be done independently after a professional has told you where the best location for the units is.
How to Save Money on a Heat Pump
When purchasing a heat pump, you can save money by researching the size and type of system best suited to your property and the local climate. This ensures that you are getting the most efficient heat pump for your needs. A heat pump that is either too small or large can lead to you spending more money unnecessarily. Consulting with an HVAC contractor is the surest way to get the correctly sized heat pump for your home.
Selecting a heat pump with a higher SEER rating can also save you money. Initially, this may appear counterproductive, given that a better SEER rating is typically associated with a more expensive system. However, to encourage consumers to choose more energy-efficient, eco-friendly options, the Canadian government offers rebates of up to $5,000 to homeowners when they install heat pumps. Before selecting a heat pump, check what grants are available in your area.
What Heat Pump Efficiency is Right for You?
There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right heat pump and SEER rating for your home. Primarily, you need to assess how much you can budget for a heat pump. Higher-rated systems typically cost more upfront, however, given their improved energy efficiency, you will actually save money in the future.
The size of your property also needs to be taken into consideration. If you have a large family home, a heat pump with a higher SEER rating will be able to efficiently control the temperature of the whole house. By contrast, smaller properties do not require as much heating or cooling to maintain the desired temperature.
Other factors, such as the quality of your insulation, the age of your windows, the local climate, and the local cost of electricity will also affect the SEER rating best suited to your home. For example, if you live in an area where electricity costs more, choosing a higher-rated machine will be more cost-effective.
Heat Pump vs. Furnace
When choosing between a heat pump and a furnace, the biggest factor to take into consideration is the climate you live in. Heat pumps are most effective when they are installed in mild climates, as they rely on the outdoor air temperature to produce heat, whereas furnaces can work efficiently regardless of the exterior climate. It is important to note that recent advances in technology have made heat pumps more effective in colder climates. The weather will greatly impact how much you need to use the system and the subsequent cost of running it.
It is also crucial to remember that while furnaces can supply heat regardless of the temperature outside, that is all they can do. If you have a furnace and want to cool your home, you will have to install an air conditioning unit as well.
Heat pumps are more energy efficient and, given that they run on electricity that can be produced via renewable sources, they are more environmentally friendly. By comparison, gas and oil furnaces rely on costly fossil fuels.
The upfront costs of heat pumps are significant because of their SEER rating and the associated labor costs, however, they have many long terms benefits that can serve both your home, your finances, and the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions about Heat Pumps
How long do heat pumps last?
Due to advances in technology, with the proper maintenance, most heat pumps regardless of type can now last between 20 and 25 years before they need to be replaced. They are long-term investments that can have significant financial benefits.
At what temperature is a heat pump useless?
Heat pumps start to lose efficiency at around 4 degrees Celsius, however, they can continue to work in sub-zero temperatures. If you live in an area that regularly experiences temperatures that are below freezing, it is advisable to have a secondary heating system.
Is it okay to leave a heat pump on all day?
By design, heat pumps can run for 15 to 20 hours a day. They work most efficiently when they are maintaining a temperature, so turning it on and off can use more energy than necessary.
Can a heat pump freeze up?
During the winter months, it is normal for heat pumps to begin to ice up. The system will periodically perform a defrosting cycle that will de-ice the coils and allow effective heat transfer to resume between the refrigerant and the outside air.