There are many options for heating your home or office. To make the right choice for a cold climate versus a warm climate, you may need professional advice. An efficient and inexpensive system for heating homes and businesses is a heat pump.
Many homeowners do not know what a heat pump is or have not even heard of them. This guide to heat pumps will explain how they heat your home or office and the types of heat pumps that are available. As part of this discussion, we explain which homes will benefit the most from heating with a heat pump in terms of efficient heating and cost.
HEAT PUMP IMAGE
How Does a Heat Pump Heat Your Home?
A heat pump functions differently than a furnace. A furnace heats air by burning fuel like natural gas. The air circulates in the home to provide heating. Unlike furnaces, heat pumps do not create heat. Rather they transfer heat from area to area. And, in the process, they consume less energy than furnaces or boilers. This means that they cost less money to run and to heat your home.
Because heat pumps move heat from area to area, they can be used to cool your home as well as to heat it. By moving heat outside of your home, a heat pump cools the inside. Thus, you can use a heat pump for both purposes either by itself or in use along with a standard cooling and heating setup.
Makers of Heat Pumps
Here are snapshots of the major heat pump manufacturers and their products.
- American Standard
- Day & Night
What Should a New Heat Pump Cost You?
Use our handy calculator to determine how much you need to pay to install and use a heat pump in your home.
HEAT PUMP COST CALCULATOR
The cost of your heat pump will depend on a number of factors. How large is the area to be heated or cooled? Will your heat pump be a standalone device or will it be working with a furnace or air conditioner? It also makes a difference if your main goal is energy efficiency or quiet operation.
What Kinds of Heat Pumps Are There?
Heat pumps come in several varieties. Read here to get an idea of what each type does.
Air Source Heat Pump
This type of heat pump absorbs heat from outside of your home and transfers it to the inside. It will even take heat out of relatively cold air. And, to cool your home it takes heat out of inside air and transfers it outside. Under the best of conditions, an air source heat pump can cut your home’s energy use by up to forty percent.
Geothermal Heat Pump
Rather than taking heat from the air like an air source heat pump, a geothermal heat pump takes heat from the underground. This type is also referred to as a ground source heat pump. The system has pipes containing fluid buried in the ground where they absorb heat and transfer to the inside heat pump to warm up your home.
The same approach can be used to take heat from nearby water link a pond or lake and is called a water source heat pump. As with the ground source heat pump, heat is transferred to the heat pump inside to warm your home.
Both types of systems can be used to cool your home by running the system to extract heat from inside your home and transferring it to the ground or the water source. This type of system can cut home energy consumption by as much as sixty percent, are good ways to control indoor humidity, and has an impressively long service life.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Heat Pump
There are several things to consider when you want to know if a heat pump is what your home needs. If your home is not a good fit, such systems can become pricey in a hurry in which case we would suggest another approach. Your current ductwork is important and so is your climate. In some colder states in the North, the lower efficiency of heat pumps is such that other options are probably better for your home.
Climate and Heat Pumps
An air source heat pump is efficient only when the air temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Celsius). Thus, you should not consider this type of heat pump as your only source of heat if you live where temperatures fall below freezing for months at a time.
Because air source heat pumps are efficient heating systems when temperatures are above thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, you can use this system for most of the year but will need to have a backup furnace for when temperatures fall below zero. Our technicians can set up controls that will turn off the heat pump when the temperature falls too low. The same controls will then turn your furnace on until the outside temperature goes back up again.
A geothermal heat pump does not have a problem with cold air temperatures as its pipes are buried far enough into the ground to be below the frost line where temperatures are stable in the 48 to 52 degree range in the far North and closer to 55-degrees in Southern states. This temperature range does not require a switch to a furnace when the air temperature drops.
If your part of the country has mild winters, an air source heat pump may be all that you need to efficiently heat your home. If you live farther north where winters are much colder, a ground source or water source heat pump will be a better choice.
Ductwork for Heat Pumps
If you already have a standard forced air system for cooling and heating your home, you can typically use that for your heat pump system provided that it is in good condition. If you do not have any ductwork, heat pumps as well as standard forced air systems can be prohibitively expensive.
However, a mini-split heat pump ductless system can be used in homes that do not have ductwork. In this system, you will have individual units that are mounted on ceilings or walls and are connected to a condenser outside. This type of system provides zoned control of heating and cooling as well as energy efficiency.
Heat Pumps Don’t Need Natural Gas Lines
If your home is not fed by natural gas lines you will need to pay for that first before installing a standard furnace. This is a cost that you can avoid by using a heat pump system.
What Goes into the Price of a Heat Pump?
The three factors that determine how much you will pay to install a heat pump include the unit cost of the heat pump, the cost of labor, and the cost of any additional parts of the system (like if you need to install ductwork).
Equipment Cost and Heat Pump Price
Your cost will vary according to the type of heat pump and the capacity it has to heat and cool your home.
Heat Pumps with Ducts
This type of heat pump sits on a cement slab outside of your home much like standard HVAC systems. A fan coil inside your home provides the heat or coolness that follows the ductwork throughout your home. These systems are very affordable providing that you already have ductwork in place and that it is in good condition.
The average cost of this type of heat pump system is $5,600 but can run over $10,000 if you opt for high energy-efficiency, add a warranty for labor, and choose an expensive brand.
Heat Pumps without Ducts
If you do not have a duct system and especially if you have a smaller home, a good option is a mini-split heat pump. This system has an outdoor condenser and compressor unit outside of the dwelling and an indoor air handler unit in one more or more locations that you to heat or cool.
This ductless heat pump system will cost between $1,500 and $2,000 for each ton of cooling capacity for the equipment. When you add installation the price will run between $4,000 and $5,000 on the average. (This setup is about thirty percent above the cost of an HVAC system before adding the air ducts.)
Geothermal Heat Pump
This is the most expensive heat pump system to install. The equipment alone runs from $1,500 to $3,000 for most models. The cost of excavation and installing a hundred yards or more of pipe can add another $10,000 or more to your cost.
This information will give you a good starting point when you go shopping for a heat pump system for your home or business. At this point, you will want to consult an HVAC installer with experience with heat pumps and whom you trust.
What does a heat pump cost?
The cost of your heat pump will vary according to the size of your home and the rating of the heat pump. You can get a mini split ductless system for a little as $700 but may pay in the $13,000 range for a high-quality geothermal heat pump system, before the cost of installation.
What does it cost for heat pump installation?
What you pay to install your heat pump will vary the space you are heating or cooling and if it is a system for the entire home or just for one room. Units for one room may cost as little as $500, installation included. A unit for the entire home typically costs between $2,500 and $7,500 including the installation. You can add several thousand dollars for excavation if you are installing a geothermal heat pump system.
What is the cost of running a heat pump system?
This will vary according to which model you choose, your climate, the temperature settings you select for heating or cooling, and the energy-efficiency of your unit. Reasonable instead of excessive temperature settings will save money and if you install a very energy efficient heat pump it will typically result in savings of thirty to forty percent on your heating and cooling costs.