Heat Pump Cost Calculator [Ductless & Central]

Typical Cost To Install a 2-zone Ductless Heat Pump Average: $5,830 - $9,760
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Heat Pump Cost Calculator accurately estimates the price of a New Ductless or Ducted (Central) Heat Pump AC, appropriate system size (in Tons & BTUs) based on heat load of your home, insulation grade, climate region, & local cost of living.

Heat Pumps can provide central COOLING as well as HEATING for your entire home. However depending on specs & efficiency, prices can vary between $6,100 to over $19,000 for high efficiency low-temp heating models. This calculator will help you estimate the cost of a heat pump that’s right for you!

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US Cliamte Region/Zone map: Find your state / location where you live, to get more accurate heat load estimate, and proper heat pump size for your home.

Heat Pumps are a hot new thing in home air conditioning and heating. While there is a lot of confusion as-to what the appropriate outside temperatures are for a Heat Pump to effectively heat your home (mostly due to misleading advertising by US manufacturers), there is even more confusion about the proper pricing for your heat pump installation.

There are many differences between Central (ducted) and Ductless Mini Split heat pumps.

The main difference is cost, and second, equally important – inability of central heat pumps to heat your home in freezing temperatures (below 32°F).

This essentially makes a central heat pump into a glorified and VERY expensive Central AC.

We recommend you check out our guide on Selecting the right heat pump for you – Ductless vs Central.

The above guide discusses in details why ducted heat pumps cannot heat your home, go into price of each type of system, zoning issues, etc.

How much does a typical Ductless (mini-split) heat pump cost?

Typical Cost To Install Ductless Mini-Split Average: $3,070 - $4,380
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Average cost to install a mini-split system in your home will largely depend on how many rooms (zones) you want to have covered. Ductless heat pumps have individual indoor air handlers that will condition the specific room where it is installed. This make it very cost effective, where you only heat or cool rooms that are occupied, and don’t waste money conditioning empty rooms.

This however adds up in upfront costs, because each zone needs to be piped & wired separately as well as the cost of the actual indoor unit which is connected to the condenser unit outside.

The typical cost of each zone (between 9000 to 12000 BTUs) will range from $2700 to $3900, depending on the brand of the HVAC equipment that you are installing, and efficiency ratings of you heat pump. Most popular brands in US, such as Mitsubishi, Daikin, and Fujitsu will usually cost somewhere toward the upper end of price range above ($3,300 – $3,900).

Less known brands (in US) such as LG, Gree, Midea, Cooper & Hunter, will be in the middle, and in the bottom end of the price range ($2,700 to $3,300).

Aside from individually controlled room temperatures, one other main benefit of a ductless system is – you don’t need DUCTS! So if you don’t already have ducts, you will forego spending upward of $15K just to install the ductwork needed of a central air system.

How much does a typical Ducted (central) heat pump cost?

Typical Cost To Install a Central Heat Pump Average: $6,350 - $10,930
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Unlike its ductless cousins, Central Heat Pumps (ducted) have only two main parts – Outdoor Compressor, and Indoor Coil (air handler), which is usually stacked above your warm air furnace.

This eliminates the need for individual indoor units in each room, as the hot or cold air is supplied for once central location through the air ducts.

Typical cost of a Central Heat Pump will range greatly depending on the SEER rating, and is usually between $9200 up to $25000+ for a higher end model. Ultra High End Lennox Heat Pumps will cost $20,000 to $30,000 just for equipment (including a communicating furnace) and another $10,000 to $15,000 for labor. 🙁

Why Central Heat Pumps may not be for you?

Name “Heat Pump” implies heating your home. However, very few models of Central Heat Pumps sold in US can actually heat your home when outside temperature is below 35°F. Over 99% of available models will automatically switch to backup heating sources, such as Furnace or Electric Coil. Basically the heat pump is not really a heat pump! Essentially it is an over-glorified Air Conditioner that can warm your home in mild spring or autumn weather.

The other downside of a central system is – if you need cooling or heating in just one or two rooms, you still heat or cool the whole house. There is also no option to control or change temperatures in different rooms, as everything runs off a single thermostat, usually located in the living room.

Typical Cost To Install a 3-zone Ductless Heat Pump Average: $8,930 - $11,560
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How to Get an Accurate Price Estimate for Your Heat Pump Installation:

You need to start by entering proper details into the calculator. Really that is all. However, some of these may be confusing, so here we will clarify what each field means.

  • Step 1 Enter the heated / conditioned space square footage. If you have unheated basement or garage, do not enter it (unless you want to add heating/ cooling to this space). The cost estimate and equipment size depend on the heat load, which is based on square footage.
  • Step 2 Select appropriate Climate Region where you live (or the house/building is located). Use the US Heating/Cooling Climate Region Map above.

    We try to “guesstimate” your region based on your Geo Location, but it may not be accurate in cases such as: States like California, New Mexico, Arizona, etc have multiple climate zones – as many as 3 zones. Therefore discrepancy in heat load can be as much as 30%. Therefore proper input here is important.

    Also, if you are viewing this on mobile device, your “reported location” may be in a different state. I’m in MA, but my location is often reported as NY / NJ or CT, because it uses location of my cell service provider’s (T-Mobile) data center – not my actual physical location.

  • Step 3 Select the type of your heat pump – Ductless (recommended if you will use this system as primary source of heating), Central Inverter heat pump or Central Single-Stage Heat Pump.

    The difference here is mainly in Efficiency and Ability to Heat your home in Low Outdoor Temperatures.

    If your main priority is Cooling, than a single-stage or an inverter central heat pump will work for you. Again the main difference is efficiency and noise level, with Inverter type being better, but more expensive.

  • Step 4 (optional) If you selected “Ductless” in step #3, you will have an option to select number of rooms or individual zones. Each zone will have its own indoor air handler, which can be controlled individually. Note – ductless heat pumps can only operate in either HEATING or COOLING mode at the same time. This means you cannot put one zone in Heating mode and another zone in Cooling mode, at once.
  • Step 5 Select desired SEER Rating for your heat pump. SEER is a rating or measure of HVAC equipment efficiency – the higher is the SEER rating, the less electricity your unit will use to heat/cool your home.

    Most central units will have SEER rating of 16, and most multi-zone ductless systems will have SEER rating of 17-20.

  • Step 6 (optional) Backup Heat Source – if you selected “Central” in step #3, you will see a new option – Backup Heat type. At the same time, “number of zones” (step #4) will disappear.

    For a central heat pump you have 2 options of backup heat, which is actually more like primary heat source, as Central Heat Pumps are not able to heat your home in outdoor temps below freezing (32°F).

    Option 1 is an Electric Heat Strip, and option 2 is Gas Furnace. Electric Heat Strip is very expensive to operate, and we strongly advise against using it, unless you live in Florida / Texas or other very warm state, and need heating maybe 3 days / year, OR, you don’t access to have natural gas.

    If you select Gas Furnace, you will see additional option for Furnace Efficiency. In case you selected Central Single-Speed heat pump ins step #3, a non-communicating Gas Furnace will be priced in. If you selected “Inverter” type ins step #3, a communicating (expensive) gas furnace will be priced in.

    Communicating equipment makes your heat pump work in “dual fuel” mode and switch from heat pump heating to Furnace/Electric heat once temps drop below 35-40°F. A non-communicating setup will require you to manually switch your thermostat from Cooling to Heating mode, and will always use the “backup heat source”. Single stage heat pumps do pretty much never get setup to work as a heating source.

  • Step 7 Select your Project Type – new construction or replacement of existing system. If it’s new construction – your will be no demolition work, thus it will cost a little less. However, inc case of a new central/ducted install, you will need to pay for new copper lineset, and new ducts, which is fairly expensive (most ducts).
  • Step 8A (optional) Select if you need to install new air-ducts. If you already have air ducts, then in most cases you do not need new ones. You may need to do some upgrades to intake duct, and maybe insulate supply truck and branches, but it is still cheaper than installing new ducts.
  • Step 8B (optional) If you selected “Need New Ducts” in previous step, you will see this extra setting: “Number of Floors”

    This determines approximate length of vertical and horizontal duct runs for both Supply and Return sides, to estimate the cost of installing new air ducts.

  • Step 9 (optional) Select ceilings height. Default is 8′ ceiling, but you can adjust this. Note minimum is 7′. Your total heat load measured for the cubic feet of heated space, and is a combination of square feet * height. Also included in the Heat Load is the insulation grade, air tightness and heat loss through windows (below).
  • Step 10 (optional) Select your home’s Insulation Grade (level). The more insulation you have, the smaller heat loss you will have. Thus a smaller system can be used (costing you less) and you will also save money on operating cost. We recommend you always add insulation to your home, as most homes, even those built in the last 30 years, are typically under-insulated.
  • Step 11 (optional) Select air tightness of your doors and windows. Many older homes still have single-pane wood windows that leak air everywhere, and have very low insulating value. However, there are windows with 3 panes of glass, which have an equivalent of almost 7-R value. Sure not as much actual insulation, but these windows do AMAZING job at keeping your house warm(er) in the winter and cooler in the summer – I have them, and speak form experience.

    If you have poor / old windows and doors, you will be loosing/gaining heat, this will need to spend more on heating / cooling, and will require larger HVAC system.

  • Step 12 (optional) Select number of windows & doors. More openings means higher heat loss, and vise versa. Thus, the more windows you have, the more capacity you will need (bigger, more expensive HVAC system and higher energy bill).
Typical Cost To Install an 18-SEER Heat Pump Average: $7,920 - $12,300
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