Estimate the cost of installing a Central Heat Pump (with backup heating, using a Furnace or Electric Heat Strip) or a Multi-Zone Ductless (mini-split) Heat Pump.
Heat Pump Replacement Cost Calculator provides an accurate cost estimate for any type of heat pump: Central or Ductless, standard, low, or high efficiency, Extra Low Temp (hyper heat) configurations, as well as backup heat.
Calculate Heat Pump Prices in VA
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How To Use Heat Pump Cost Calculator
To get an accurate price estimate for installing a heat pump, carefully enter the value of each field in the calculator.
Once you fill out all the fields, click “calculate”. You will see three price estimates (Low, Mid-Range, High) as well as recommended tonnage for your heat pump equipment.
1. Enter The Climate Zone You Live In: Take a look at the climate zone map inside the calculator. Locate your state and enter the appropriate zone into the field.
2. Measure Your House Square Footage: Carefully measure the square footage of your home. This number will be used to determine heat pump system size in BTUs/tons that is most appropriate for your needs.
3. Select System Type: You can choose between a central heat pump or a ductless heat pump mini split. Both types of heat pumps provide heating AND cooling.
4. Select Desired SEER Rating: SEER Rating determines heat pump efficiency when its in cooling mode. Higher Seer rating heat pump models will also cost more due to increased efficiency.
5. Select Back Up Heating Type: choose between an electric heat strip or a gas furnace. A Gas Furnace backup heat option requires natural gas to be available in your home. In some cases, the furnace may work with propane, but requires manufacturer’s support to work properly in Dual Fuel mode.
6. Select Project Type: choose whether this is a replacement of the old heat pump, or a new install. Depending on your selection, labor costs will vary. Replacement and new construction are the cheapest, while a new install in a finished home is most expensive.
7. Ductwork: choose whether or not you need ductwork installed together with the heat pump. Adding new ductwork can increase the total cost of the project by as much as 2,000+, depending on your house size.
8. Ceiling Height: measure and enter the height of ceilings in your house.
9. Insulation Grade: enter the quality of insulation you have in your home. The quality of your house insulation will have a direct impact on how much more BTUs you would need per square foot of your house, based on heat loss / insulation ratio.
For an older home with uninsulated walls / attic, single pane or double pane windows, air leaks, cold air drafts, etc, select POOR INSULATION.
For walls with 4″ 13-R fiberglass or blown-in cellulose/fiberglass insulation, as well as some attic/roof insulation, newer double pane windows, insulated doors, low air leaks/cold drafts, select AVERAGE INSULATION.
For 6″ or more of fiberglass wall insulation, or spray foam insulation in walls, and over 30-R of insulation in the attic/roof, high(er) end windows / doors, nearly no air leaks, select GOOD/EXCELLENT INSULATION.
10. Windows/ Doors Air Tightness: choose the design of windows you have in your house. This value also helps determine the most appropriate heap pump system BTUs for your home.
11. Windows: choose whether you have an average amount of windows (10-12) or more. This will also help determine the size of your heat pump.
How Much Does A Heat Pump Cost?
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Heat pumps are (more) expensive than your a traditional AC + Furnace combo. In some cases, A LOT MORE expensive!
The cost of a new heat pump system is calculated based on your home size, climate region, heat load, & SEER rating.
A typical 16 SEER Central Heat Pump will cost about $6,150 – $12,840 (in some cases even more) & can heat your home in temps down to about 35°F. Newer “hyper heat” models with Inverter compressors (up-to 20 SEER), can provide heating at as low as -22°F.
The average cost of professionally installing a heat pump together with a gas furnace runs $6,700-9,500 for a high end unit (20-23 SEER), and about $5,600-$7,300 for a lower end (14-18 SEER) unit.
Heat pump equipment costs vary widely depending on the brand name and model specifications. For example, a high end Lennox XP25 Heat Pump with a 99% AFUE furnace costs about $18,500 just for equipment.
Why Choose A Heat Pump For Your Home?
The primary benefit of a heat pump is the ability to HEAT your home. Heat pumps are already very popular, as they are not much more expensive than a traditional Central AC, but unlike regular air conditioners, which can only cool your house, Heat Pumps can reverse the flow of the refrigerant (via reversing valve) and become a heating system.
In fact, heat pumps are the future of the HVAC industry, as we transition to more and more sustainable and renewable energy.
Is It Expensive To Run A Heat Pump?
Heat Pumps are powered by electricity, and when coupled with a larger Solar PV system, can provide heating and cooling of your home, with all the power produced on site – no need to buy Natural Gas, Oil, Propane or even electricity!
You will however need to have a Net Metering agreement with your electric company, as your power consumption will be higher in the winter, while production will be higher in the summer.
With a 15-20 kW Solar PV system, you can produce most, if not all electricity that you need to heat your home with a heat pump, which will virtually eliminate your heating, cooling and electric bills! In my case (I have a 15.4 kW solar), my ROI will be about 4 years, after which, I will have free cooling and heating!
In the video above, I go over a 15 kW solar PV system that I had installed in November, and how it will power my heat pumps, and provide me with nearly free heating & cooling!
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How Can A Heat Pump Provide Heating When It Is SO COLD Outside?
The short answer is “YES, if…” As mentioned in this guide and in our Heat Pump heating costs overview, hyper heat ductless heat pumps can heat your home in most cold climates in US.
Central heat pumps can only do so in temps above 35°F, and will need a backup heat source when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing.
Heat pumps use the refrigeration cycle to and extract heat from outside air, and transfer that heat to your living space. While the outside air is COLD, believe it or not, there is heat to extract.
Here is how it works:
Most heat pumps in the US market use R410a refrigerant, which is a mix of different gasses, that get got when the are compressed, and cold, when they are “de-compressed” (pressure goes down).
R410a refrigerant has an evaporation boiling temperature of about -55.3°F. That is how cold it can get when it turns from liquid into vapor in the outdoor coil (evaporator coil, when in heating mode). As it flows through the coil toward the compressor, it absorbs heat, and its temperature rises!
So even when it is -5°F or even -15°F outside, there is still 40-50°F difference (Delta T) between boiling point and outdoor air temps – heat which is absorbed into the refrigerant.
Then, the inverter compressor of a heat pump, compresses the gas, and as its pressure rises, so does its temperature. Once compressed, hot gas at high pressure leaves the compressor and flows through the indoor coil (condenser) and rejects heat into your living space.
Below is a photo of a (highly accurate, with +/- 2% margin of error) temperature reading of R410A gas in a Fujitsu Heat Pump, as it leave the compressor. Temperature of the refrigerant is 167°F, while outside temperature was 25°F.
This temperature corresponds to about 740 PSIg (pounds/square inch) of pressure! That is how hot the refrigerant is when it leaves the compressor. Then, as it goes through the indoor coil, the air temperature is about 120-130°F.
The colder outside air is, the less heat you can extract, which results in the compressor having to work harder, and lower overall heat output in BTU/h (lower heating capacity).
Heat Pump’s “heating capacity ratings”
Heating Capacity is a very important and often overlooked measurement when considering a heat pump as primary heat sources for your home!
Best Type of Heat Pump For Heating
There are 2 distinct types of Air Source heat pumps available on the market today. We will not discuss Geothermal (ground source) Heat Pumps here, as for most homeowners they are either too expensive or not feasible, while air-source heat pumps work or everyone!.
1) Dual Fuel Central Heat Pumps: These “central heat pumps” have a pretty weak heating performance, and are best suited for mild climates such as North Carolina, and further south. Most central heat pumps will not make any heat if temps drop to about 35°F (+/- 5°F depending on manufacturer & model). In lower ambient temperature, these Dual Fuel heat pumps will need a backup heat source (Furnace or Heat Strip).
Currently there is one exception to this general “Central Heat Pump” category, and that is a Mr. COOL “hyper heat” central heat pump which can actually heat your entire home in temps as low as -22°F (72% heating capacity at -5°F), according to manufacturer and some independent reports.
2) Ductless Heat Pumps: These multi-zone mini split systems are the true champions of of extreme cold climate heating … well, maybe not extreme like in the polar circle, but they can heat your whole house in most areas in US and Southern Canada, as they provide heating in outdoor temperatures as low as -15°F (-26°C) to -22°F (-30°C), depending on model, manufacturer, etc. Most areas in Northern US and Southern Canada have average winter temperatures of 5-10°F.
In Montreal, average Low winter temp is 11°F (-12°C). In Minneapolis it’s about 6°F (-15°C). So these “hyper heat” or Extra Low Temp Heating models of heat pumps, can provide enough heating (when sized correctly), even when it is really cold outside.
While these high efficiency heat pumps are more expensive, they usually don’t require backup heat. It is still a good idea to have backup heat, in case the power goes out.
The limitation of heat pumps (or any air conditioning system for that matter) is – the bigger the system is, the lower is the efficiency. Second (and more important limitation) is the heating capacity drop at low temps.
PRO TIP: Vast majority of central heat pumps CANNOT provide heat in ambient temperatures below 35-40°F. To get heat from these units, homeowners will need to rely on backup source of heating (a Dual Fuel setup), such as Gas Furnace or an electric heat strip , which uses 2-3 times more electricity that a heat pump running in heating mode, at 47°F outdoor temperature.
Also, many central heat pumps require a “compatible furnace” and a thermostat capable of switching between Heat Pump and Furnace / Heat Strip. These compatible thermostats are usually made by the manufacturer of your Heat Pump / Furnace, and are NOT compatible with other brands. Your Nest, EcoBee, Honeywell, and other smart thermostats will most likely not be compatible.
Finally, your installer must be well versed in setting up your heat pump, so that it can provide heating. Otherwise it will be just a glorified Central AC.
Does A Heat Pump Work In Hot Weather?
Heat pumps are super-efficient air conditioners, and as such work great in hot weather, while saving you 20-35% in energy costs, with average SEER rating being 18, compared to 13-14 SEER, commonly used for Central AC.
Does A Heat Pump Work In Cold Weather?
Central heat pumps work (in heating mode) usually until temperatures drop to about 35°F. After that, most models need to use backup heating system such as Gas Furnace or built-in Electric Heating Coil.
Ductless Heat Pumps work exceptionally well in cold weather (when a Hyper Heat type model is used), and can provide heating down to -15°F.
Both types have a reduced heating capacity (output), as outdoor temperatures drop, and there is less heat to extract.
Do You Need A Furnace With A Heat Pump?
Central heat pumps often require a Gas Furnace as backup heat source, when temps drop below 35°F. If you live in mild climate, where outdoor temperatures rarely drop below 32°, then you can use a Electric Heating Coil, for an occasional boost needed to heat your house. This will save about $6,000-$7,000 vs installing a Gas Furnace.
However if you live in a cold climate, it is strongly recommended to go with a Gas Furnace, as electric resistance heat is VERY expensive, and within 2-3 years will cost more to heat your home, than initial expense of installing a Communicating Gas Furnace
How Long Does It Take For A Heat Pump To Pay For Itself?
This ultimately depends on you electric costs. For example if you live in MA, where our electric cost is 30.5 cents/KWh , and you upgrade from a 9 SEER central AC to 18 SEER central heat pump, your annual cooling energy saving will be about $500 or $5026 over 10 years (at current rates).
You won’t save too much on heating as Electricity here is expensive, and central heat pumps only work down to 35°.
If you upgrade from 9 SEER central AC to 20 SEER ductless systems, you will be saving about $600-650 annually in cooling costs.
If you live in California, where electricity is expensive, and it is hot most of the time, your annual savings can be as high as $750-1000, and a 10 year saving will be $7500-10,000!
If you live in a state with low(er) electricity costs, then your savings will be much lower, and payback period much longer.
In general it takes about 8 years for a heat pump to pay for itself, because installation and equipment costs are so high. However, many states offer rebates for installing a high efficiency heat pumps, up-to $5,000 in some cases!
This means that if you are not planning to move in the next 1-3 years, installing a heat pump can be a smart investment.