Heat pumps are one of the most popular home heating and cooling options. These devices are more efficient than standard electric heaters and air conditioners, saving homeowners hundreds of dollars annually. However, heat pump installation has a high up-front cost of $4,000 to $8,000.
This guide details heat pump installation costs based on different types and sizes.
What Is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is part of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system installed outside your home. A heat pump cools your home like an air conditioner and provides heat. This allows you to use one unit to heat and cool your home rather than two, such as pairing a gas furnace with an air conditioner.
A heat pump system transfers heat from one place to another using different air or heat sources. The device pulls heat from surrounding air, water, or soil and uses it to produce heat to warm up your home. In short, a heat pump uses laws of thermodynamics to transfer a “heat source,” like the air, into a “heat sink,” like your home.
How Much Does Heat Pump Installation Cost?
It costs $4,000 to $8,000 to install a heat pump, with an average cost of $5,500. Depending on the type of heat pump, you could pay $2,500 to $10,000.
Though heat pumps have a high up-front cost, they’re highly energy efficient and typically produce three times as much heat as the energy they use. Some heat pumps can generate enough energy savings to pay for themselves in as little as two years, though it can vary from five to ten.
Below is a breakdown of the two most significant cost factors for heat pump installation.
Cost by Type of Heat Pump
There are several types of heat pumps. Each has a different price point and pros and cons. We recommend consulting an HVAC contractor to determine which heat pump type is best for your home, but below is a brief overview of how each type works and their average installation cost.
- Air-source ($3,000–$7,500): The most popular type of heat pump, air-source heat pumps move outside air into your HVAC system. Refrigerant compresses the air to heat it and sends that hot air through your home’s ductwork, warming the house. Even in cold climates, air-source heat pump units can extract energy from the air outside and turn it into useful heat for the interior. Air-source heat pumps can last up to 20 years with minimal maintenance.
- Ductless mini-split ($2,000–$5,000): Ductless mini-split heat pumps, sometimes just called ductless heat pumps, are small indoor units in designated zones connected to an outdoor unit. This type of pump is ideal for homes with low square footage and fewer conditioning zones, which are areas covered by different ductwork sections. A ductless mini-split heat pump is also an efficient option if you don’t have existing ductwork.
- Gas-fired ($4,000–$8,000): Gas-powered heating and cooling systems are less efficient than other types and thus have higher energy costs. However, they can support multiple zones simultaneously. This makes gas-fired heat pumps ideal for larger homes.
- Geothermal ($10,000+): Geothermal heat pumps are a high-end option that use the Earth’s temperature to warm your home. They collect and store heat in an underground loop of pipes called a heat exchanger. The unit absorbs heat and sends it to the indoor unit. The indoor unit then treats the air and sends it through your home’s ducts. These ground-source heat pumps are ideal for those looking to save money on their yearly energy bills, since the system works with minimal energy consumption.
Cost by Heat Pump Size
Like other parts of an HVAC system, a heat pump must be scaled to the size of your home. For example, a multi-room home needs a much larger unit than a one-bedroom one. The size of a heat pump is also measured in part by its capacity, calculated in tons.
The tonnage of heat required to warm your home affects how much you’ll pay for a heat pump. For example, a 2-ton heat pump costs $2,500 to $5,000, while a 5-ton unit can cost up to $10,000, including installation fees.
|Size (In Tons)||Average Cost Range|
Beyond the type of heat pump and its size, here are other factors that influence the price of heat pump installation.
Like other home appliances, heat pumps vary in price depending on their brand. Recognizable brands such as Trane and American Standard are typically more expensive, but their products are often higher in quality and perform better in large spaces. High-efficiency models are also more costly than standard ones. We recommend discussing which brand you should purchase with an HVAC professional, as you may need a specific brand to match your other HVAC system components.
An HVAC technician may have to install extra ductwork or repair your existing ducts depending on your new heat pump. Duct replacement costs an extra $500 to $2,000. However, if you only need a small section of ductwork repaired or replaced, you may only pay $10–$20 per linear foot plus labor costs.
Each HVAC manufacturer discloses efficiency ratings to help homeowners choose the most efficient and sustainable HVAC solution for their home. Heat pumps have two efficiency ratings. One is its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), which denotes how efficiently a heat pump cools a home. Typical SEER ratings fall between 14 and 24, with the higher number being the most efficient.
The heat pump’s Heating Seasonal Performance Ratio (HSPF) is the other energy efficiency rating. This rating is similar to SEER, but it measures the heat pump’s efficiency for heating instead of cooling. HSPF ratings range between 8.2 and 13, with the higher number being the most efficient.
Labor costs vary depending on the heat pump type. For example, geothermal units take more work to install because they require more expertise and must be buried at least 4 feet into the ground. Ductless mini-split heat pumps can cost as little as $500 to install, as the process is simple and quick.
Most heat pump installations require a permit. You may even need multiple permits, depending on if you need to dig on your property or live near other city amenities. Most cities and counties require a mechanical or building permit to install, alter, replace, or repair any heating pump, air conditioner, or duct system. Check with your local government to determine which permits or fees are required. Permit costs depend on your location and other local ordinances, but you can anticipate spending between $50 and $300.
Contact an HVAC Professional
Heat pumps are difficult for the average homeowner to install. We recommend hiring an HVAC expert to ensure this expensive equipment is properly installed. We also suggest getting at least three quotes from local contractors to find the best deal.
Frequently Asked Questions About Heat Pump Installation Costs
When to Consider a Broader Home Inspection
When purchasing or selling a home, it is critical to complete a thorough inspection to understand the condition of the property. A standard home inspection includes an assessment of a home’s systems and physical structure. After the process, the inspector will provide a report detailing their findings and recommendations.
If you are thinking about buying a home or putting your home on the market, we strongly recommend finding an ASHI home inspector in your area.