Ever wonder how much a new heat pump system costs? I live in Tennessee, and when my wife and I purchased our first home, it was around 12 years old. It was foreclosed, and did need some repairs, but the heat pump system worked when we first moved in. Shortly after, however, the heat pump no longer worked. It was very frustrating, but I guess you live and learn.
I’ve since learned that heat pumps generally only last about 10-15 years. Some can go as long as 20 or even a bit longer, but you can count on many service calls and repair bills in that time. So right when we purchased the house, the heat pump was already on its last leg.
So I took to the web to get an idea of how much money I’d expect to pay for a new heat pump system. Unfortunately, I was very frustrated. Many people on forums didn’t seem to offer a lot of good advice on cost expectations. When people did post prices, they were often scant on what those prices included.
So after a few years of not getting a heat pump, I finally broke down and got some heat pump price estimates. In this post, I’ll tell you the exact figures, and exactly how much it costs.
Heat Pump Prices to Change Out a Unit
For my specific situation, I had a 2.5 ton Concord heat pump unit, with a 3 ton indoor air handler. The heat pump was manufactured in 1991. I’m not sure what was wrong with it, but it was very old. It looked like it had been serviced at least once before, and since it was so old and used the old refrigerant (R22), I knew that it wasn’t even worth repairing.
I had existing duct-work which was in great condition. I got 2 estimates on heat pumps in June of 2012, and here were the prices:
Contractor A Heat Pump Prices
Contractor A was a company that sold different units (Goodman, Trane, Rheem). They proposed the following actions: Change out a 2.5 ton heat pump (indoor and outdoor unit). Includes removal, haul away, and replacement. It came with a new concrete pad, copper line-set, copper refrigerant lines, drain, and indoor thermostat. Also includes minor duct-work change (they said one of the returns didn’t have interior insulation, and they said they should change it).
A quote was given for a Trane XR15 (15 seer), and a Goodman SSZ14 (15 seer). Both had 2.5 ton condenser (outdoor unit), with a 3 ton indoor air handler.
- Trane XR15 Costs: 2.5 ton condenser, 3 ton air handler, 15 Seer–$5,495.00. This includes 10 year limited warranty on compressor and parts, and 1 year labor.
- Goodman SSZ14 Costs: 2.5 ton condenser, 3 ton air handler, 15 Seer—$5,475.00. This included a 10 year limited compressor, plus 10 year on parts and labor.
Contractor B Heat Pump Prices
Contractor B sold Trane equipment exclusively. They offered to give a new thermostat, new line-set, new drain pain and condensation pump, new concrete pad, and haul away. Here was the price of that:
- Trane XR13 Costs: 14.5 seer, 2.5 ton outdoor unit, 3 ton indoor air handler–$6,115.00
- Trane XR15 Costs: 15.5 seer, 3 ton outdoor unit, 3 ton indoor air handler–$7,116.00
All prices for both contractors included everything for the change-out, including permits and sales tax. Again, this was with existing duct-work. If you had to have all new duct-work, then you could probably count on paying an extra $1,000-2,000 for the installation price.
Should You Buy a New Heat Pump?
Personally, I’d never buy a heat pump at those prices, at least, not right now. I ran some of my own calculations, and after you consider the time value of money for the up-front investment, the cost savings you may achieve, and the maintenance costs (air filters, periodic refrigerant recharge), heat pumps are simply not worth the expense to me.
Granted, central heat pumps or air conditioners are very convenient. I love how they work. But in a day and time when you can get simple space heaters for the winter, and portable air conditioners for the summer, it seems more economically viable.
I’m not saying I’d never buy a heat pump, but at the prices above, it isn’t worth the extra cost.