Heat Pump Replacement Costs
Heat Pump Replacement Costs 2021 (Installation, Replacement, Pricing)
Does your thermostat scream in pain during the winter months? Are you looking for a way to save money on your energy bills? Heat pumps are a fantastic way to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter without breaking the bank every month to pay your energy bills. Unlike traditional furnaces and air conditioning units, heat pumps don't hog electricity and gas, or propane. Instead, they rely on alternative heating and cooling sources (e.g., refrigerant, the sun, the ground, etc.)
But what are heat pump prices? What are heat pump operating costs? And how much does it cost to install heat pumps?
Don't worry. We've got your back. In this in-depth guide to heat pump costs, you'll learn:
- The average cost of heat pumps
- The different types of heat pumps and their costs
- What heat pumps are and how their energy-efficiency is measured
- The labor costs to replace heat pumps
- Some of the hidden costs associated with heat pump installation you may be missing
- And how to save some cash during the heat pump installation process
What Is The Average Cost Of Heat Pump Replacement?
The cost of installing a heat pump varies based on a number of factors. The size of your home, type of heat pump, brand, efficiency, labor costs, and contractor rates all play a role in your overall cost. The average cost for replacement ranges from $3,700 to $7,900, but some pumps may cost as much as $25,000 or as little as $2,000 to install.
Of course, more expensive heat pumps often offer better energy-efficiency ratings, which can end up saving you significant money over the course of the pump's life. So, choosing a pump isn't always a straightforward decision.
What Are The Different Types Of Heat Pumps And Their Cost?
Are you looking for a quiet, environmentally-friendly, and energy-efficient HVAC system that can provide a 1.5 to 3x energy ratio? Air source heat pumps use refrigerants and a heat exchanger coil to cool or heat the air during winter or summer months. During the winter, air-source heat pumps pull in cold air from the outside, uses cold refrigerant to attract heat from the air, and pulls that hotter air through a compressor for further heating before sending it through your air ducts. In an essence, air-source heat pumps are refrigerant-based air condensers. During summer months, the air-source pump works in reverse, pulling hot air out of your home and channeling it outside, which helps it act as an air conditioning solution.
The costs associated with installing an air source heat pump include:
- The size of the system
- The complexity of the installation
- The brand name of the system
- The energy-efficiency of the system
- The type of system (e.g., ductless, central ducted, etc.)
The average cost to install an air source heat pump is $2,000 to $10,000, but small, ductless pumps can cost as little as $800.
Here are some price ranges associated with common heat pump brands:
- $1,000 - $1,999: DuctlessAire, York, Daikin, Coleman
- $2,000 - $2,999: Panasonic, Amana, Bryant, Rheem, Goodman
- $3,000 - $6,000: Trane, Lennox, Carrier, American Standard
In addition to these brand costs, the labor and material costs of your contractor play a significant role in your total bill. The pricing often varies by location and cost-of-living, with high-cost areas like California costing significantly more than low-cost areas like Oklahoma.
When it comes to complexity, scale, and energy-savings, geothermal heat pumps take the cake. These intricate systems use the natural temperature of the earth to keep your home heated or cooled. Believe it or not, the temperature 20 to 30 feet below ground remains at a constant ~60 degrees Fahrenheit. Geothermal systems involve underground pipes that carry this underground air to a heating pump that uses refrigerant. Alternatively, hot air is pumped from inside your home to underground during the summer months.
Here's the crazy part: geothermal systems supply 4 units of heat energy for every 1 unit of energy supplied to the system. That's a whopping 400% efficiency rating. Some of the top-line units are over 500% efficient! Better yet, geothermal heat pumps last around 50 years, making them a long-term HVAC investment.
However, due to the size and complexity of these systems (as well as the digging and piping involved), geothermal heat pumps can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 to install. Again, the end price will depend on the square footage of your home, the brand of the pump, and your overall system setup.
The most popular type of air-source heat pump for homeowners is the ductless mini-split system pump. This pump requires no central A/C or ducts to operate efficiently, and it derives all of its air from an outdoor unit. So, this is a fully-efficient, stand-alone HVAC system. Like other air-source heat pumps, ductless mini-splits use refrigerant to attract the heat from colder air using an evaporator and then warm it using a compressor before pumping it indoors. The average cost for a ductless mini-split heat pump is $2,000 to $12,000, depending on the model.
Did you know you can heat your home using the biggest source of heat in the solar system? Solar-assisted heat pumps combine solar panels, and traditional heat pumps to drive hefty HVAC energy-savings. There are two major costs associated with installing solar-assisted heat pumps:
- Solar panels: The average cost to install solar panels is $15,000 to $25,000.
- The heat pump system: The average cost of a heat pump system is $2,000 to $8,000.
Note: There are tax credits for purchasing solar panels that may apply to your solar-assisted heat pump installation. Currently, there is a 22% rebate for solar systems installed before 12/31/2021.
Dual Fuel Hybrid
For homes that already have a furnace and ductwork installed, dual fuel hybrids represent an easy and affordable way to cut energy costs during the winter months. Dual fuel hybrid systems utilize both a furnace and a heat pump, giving you the best of both worlds. Dual fuel hybrids aren't as energy-efficient as geothermal systems or solar-assisted systems, but they're cost-effective, easy-to-install, and perfect for cold climates where air-source heat pumps may have a harder time heating a home.
The average cost for a dual fuel hybrid system ranges from $2,000 to $6,000 for just the pump, to $6,000 to $12,000 for a furnace and a pump.
What if you live in an area where electricity is expensive, but you don't have the cash to invest in a complete solar setup? Gas systems let you run your heat pump completely on natural gas. These systems are ideal for a remote location. Believe it or not, gas systems (gas heat pump and/or gas furnace) are more environmentally-friendly than electrically-powered air source pumps, but they lose out to geothermal and solar systems both in terms of lifetime costs and environmental waste.
The average cost for a gas system is $3,500 to $10,000, depending on the size, brand, and efficiency rating.
What Are High-Efficiency Heat Pump Costs?
Heat pump efficiency is measured by two standards:
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER rating)
HSPF is used for heating, and SEER is used for cooling standards.
In both cases, the higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump. The Department of Energy places minimum standards on SEER ratings for residents of various states. Currently, the lowest acceptable standard in the United States is 13 SEER. Some of the most energy-efficient systems can reach over 19 SEER — which is incredibly efficient.
Similarly, the lowest minimum standard of HSPF is 7, with some of the higher-end brands reaching +10 HSPF.
The typical costs for each of these ratings are as follows:
13-14 SEER / 7-8 HSPF
7 - 8 HSPF heat pumps cost around $1,000 to $2,000 on average. The pricing for installation is between $3,000 and $6,000. Remember, these are the lowest acceptable minimum. It's important to understand that buying a system with 13 SEER and 7 HSPF may leave you in a tight spot during one of the seasons. The Department of Energy recommends a 14 SEER minimum for the South and Midwest and an 8 HSPF minimum for the Northern states.
15-16 SEER / 8-9 HSPF
Mid-tier heat pumps with 8 - 9 HSPF cost $1,500 to $2,500 on average. The installation price is between $5,000 and $6,500.
17-18 SEER / 9-10 HSFP
In the 9 - 10 HSPF range, we enter some of the more expensive and renowned brands. The average cost for one of these units is around $2,000 to $4,000, and the installation costs are between $6,000 and $7,500.
19+ SEER / 10+ HSFP
Finally, when you reach the upper-crust of heat pumps, you can expect to pay a pretty penny. 10+ HSFP heat pumps cost between $3,000 and $4,500, and the installation costs are around $7,000 to $10,000.
What Are The Labor Costs For Heat Pump Replacement?
Whether you purchase a new heat pump or a used unit, you will almost certainly have to pay one flat cost: labor. Heat pump units are heavy, complicated, and incredibly labor-intensive to install. So, the vast majority of homeowners hire an HVAC contractor to install their system. Heat pump installation costs vary by area, but you can expect to pay between $70 to $150 per hour.
The type of system you purchase will dictate how long the installation process takes. A geothermal, which uses ground-source energy, may take +40 hours to install. A ductless system may only take 5 - 10 hours. So, the pricing of your installation will vary based on your duct system, existing equipment, square footage, brand, unit type, and unit size.
Are There Additional Costs For Replacing A Heat Pump?
The pricing on heat pumps isn't always flat. Despite the static upfront cost of the heat pump unit, the costs of labor and materials vary significantly. One of the biggest hidden costs is recycling. If you have an old central air conditioner/cooling system or heating system, your installer may need to haul it away. Additionally, you can purchase warranties, service contracts, and other additional services for extra money.
The average cost for a warranty and service contract is around $1,000 over the course of 10 years. Remember, heat pump repair costs can range from $150 and $500, so this warranty may be worth the price, especially on more expensive or complex systems.
How Long Does A Replaced Heat Pump Last?
Heat pumps don't last forever. Any air handler unit will eventually receive enough wear and tear to break down. Fortunately, the average heat pump lasts a whopping 12 to 30 years, so they aren't short-lived systems. However, the brand and construction quality of your unit (as well as servicing frequency) play a role in the longevity of your system.
How To Save Money On Heat Pump Replacement?
As a homeowner, finding ways to save money is always front-of-mind. In fact, you probably chose a heat pump because it helps cut down on your energy bills. New systems may have the bells-and-whistles, but used heat pumps can help save you some serious upfront money. There are drawbacks to used units. They may die out sooner, and they may be less energy-efficient which won't help your utility bills. So, you need to weigh your options carefully.
There are plenty of unique ways to save money on heat pumps, but each has its downfalls. Used units may die out sooner. Rebates are only available for more expensive solar systems. And cheaper contractors may perform a less diligent service.
Keep these factors in mind when choosing a new heat pump and make sure to weigh all your options.