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How Much Does an Air Source Heat Pump Cost?

Air Source Heat Pump Prices

Many homes are heated and cooled by two separate units: a furnace or boiler to provide warm air and a central air conditioner to supply cold air. A heat pump, however, which transfers heat from one area to another, is capable of both heating and cooling a residence. An air source heat pump, also known as an air-to-air heat pump or simply an air heat pump, does this by exchanging indoor air for outdoor air. Continue reading this buying guide to learn more about air source heat pumps, including how much they cost.

An Overview of Air Source Heat Pumps

During colder weather an air to air heat pump extracts heat from outside air (even cold air has some heat in it) and delivers it to a home's interior. On warmer days, it works in the opposite manner, as heat is extracted from indoor air and pumped outdoors. While they are not ideally suited to extreme temperatures (if you live in a place that regularly experiences sub-freezing weather you'll want a supplemental heater), electric air to air heat pumps are generally efficient and economical, providing steady heating, cooling, and air circulation.

Major Types of Air Source Heat Pumps

Most air-to-air heat pumps are "split" systems that have both outdoor and indoor components. In a split system the outdoor unit contains a compressor, outdoor coil, fan, and reversing valve, while the indoor unit consists of a fan, indoor coil, and supplemental heating element. The heated or cooled air is distributed throughout the home via ductwork (to learn more about how a split system heat pump works, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website).

In contrast to the split system is the package system, which combines the indoor and outdoor components of a heat pump into a single unit that is usually placed on the roof.

Other Types of Air Heat Pumps

Centralized heat pump systems, as already mentioned, use the same type of ductwork that traditional heating and cooling systems do. There is, however, an alternative: the ductless mini-split system. This type of air source heat pump system, like a regular split system, has one outdoor unit. Unlike a split system, however, a mini-split uses multiple floor, wall, or ceiling-mounted indoor units, along with separate thermostats, to provide heating/cooling to individual rooms.

Advances in heat pump technology have led to systems that exceed the capabilities of traditional heat pumps. One example is cold climate heat pumps, which can operate in frigid conditions. Another is a heat pump that can not only heat your home, but also your water. There are even those that can store heat and cold during non-peak hours and distribute them during peak-hour use.

Air Source Heat Pump Average Costs

The actual cost of heat pump installation depends on your location, the size and efficiency of the unit, the size of your home, whether there is existing ductwork, and other factors.

  • In a home with existing ductwork, air source heat pumps cost $2,500 to $7,500 installed. Installing a high-efficiency heat pump could cost more, and if you need to add ductwork, costs will rise significantly.
  • A ductless mini-split air source heat pump costs $750 to $1,500 or more per room, and $5,000 to $7,500 or more for an entire home.

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