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How Much Does a Cold Climate Heat Pump Cost?

Views: 3053     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-02-25      Origin: Site

Energy use is a trending topic dominating discussions ranging from climate to economy and sustainability. According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling are currently the number one energy expenditure for most homeowners in the US. That's because many of them reside in areas that require heating during the winter and cooling during summer. 

Unfortunately, the traditional methods are energy-intensive and worse; they rely heavily on energy sources like propane, electricity, natural gas, and fuel oil. These options are expensive and pose a danger to the environment. Homes are adopting cold climate heat pumps (CCHPs) to counter these, especially for people in colder climates. Like any new technology, there is always considerable concern over the cold climate heat pump cost and whether there are any significant savings to justify their adoption. 

cold climate air source heat pumps


What are cold climate heat pumps, and how do they work?


As their name suggests, cold climate heat pumps are a type of heat pump that is optimized for functioning in extreme cold. Normal heat pumps facilitate the redistribution of heat from the air, water, solar, or ground to the house and vice versa, depending on your needs. They do not produce heat which gives them their energy-saving advantages. They also meet your cooling and heating needs, meaning you only need one appliance. 

Cold climate heat pumps work similarly, but they have increased efficiency even in extreme cold. Conventional heat pumps lose a substantial amount of their heating capacity when it gets cold. Experts advise you to stop using them when the temperatures drop below -10 degrees Celsius. Cold climate heat pumps can still get heat from the outside environment even if the temperatures fall to -25 degrees Celsius and some even at -30 degrees Celsius. Besides this aspect, they are different from conventional heat pumps in the following ways:

  • They come equipped with a variable-capacity compressor that gives them outstanding efficiency.

  • They have a higher rating needing a minimum of Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) of 10 or higher. 


What is the cost of cold climate heat pumps?


A wide range of things determines the cost of cold weather heat pump systems that it is hard to assign an average. However, most homeowners spend between $2,500 to $15,000, though, in certain circumstances, others spend more. Some of these factors include:

  • The local labor costs in the area; rural areas tend to have lower labor costs making installation cheaper. 

  • Whether there is a need for ductwork installation or if it is a replacement 

  • The heat pump brand 

  • The size of your home and that of the cooling area

  • Price of your unit and any additional material you need 

  • Any local HVAC permit and installation fees 

  • Even the time of the year when installing 

The type of unit also affects cold weather heat pump price. For cold weather, the options are geothermal heat pumps and cold climate air source heat pumps. Under air source heat pumps, the choices are between a central ducted system or a mini-split (ductless) system. The ducted system is excellent if you have ductwork currently in place as it resembles a central air conditioner. Each air handler you plan to install in each room will cost you from $3,625 to $5,200. The total will often range between $10,500 and $18,975. 

Mini-split (ductless) systems are excellent for houses with no ductwork saving you that extra installation cost. They are quite affordable, starting from $1,800 to $7,542. However, you hardly ever use one unit as several zones in the house may call for heating. Should you have four or more, the cost could easily rise to $10,000.  

Geothermal or ground heat pumps are the most expensive kind of cold weather heat pumps. They are excellent for larger homes and where heating and cooling have to be operating at maximum levels. Because of the associated land excavation costs, the cost can easily go to upwards of  $20,000 other factors considered. 


Main factors affecting the cold climate heat pump cost 


Quality and brand of the equipment 


The quality and brand of the equipment will affect a unit's price. Generally, you have budget units, standard units, and premium ones. Quality ranges from utility and build quality to the brand’s reputation and features accompanying the specific unit.


The efficiency of the equipment 


Efficiency and the performance of the unit will also affect their prices. You are looking at basic, better, and best levels in terms of performance. For efficiency, you rely on two main metrics, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, SEER, and the Heating Season Performance Factor HSPF. The SEER rating of 15-17 is about average, while the most efficient units have a rating of over 20. HSPF ratings of 13 and above are exceptional, while the average is 8-11. The higher the performance and efficiency, the higher the cost of the unit. 


Size of the heat pump system 


Regardless of the type of heat pump you pick, if it has to cover an extensive area or several rooms, the system will be larger, and so too will be the cost. A smaller unit costs less and will cover a small size area. 


Installation complexity


The more demanding the installation process, the higher the overall costs. In this regard, ductless systems can cost more, especially where the job is on a second or third floor. Where there is easy access, like, through an attic or crawl space, installation is easier, and the overall cost is lower. Centered systems often have a straightforward installation process if you have the ductwork in place and it does not need any adjustments. Should you have to install it, then the costs will rise. 


Upgrades, extras, and other services 


The installation cost may also rise if you have to use other services, say the removing and disposing of existing equipment. Fitting extras like air filtering systems, humidifiers, installing smart thermostats, and such will add to the extra cost of installation. 


Are cold climate heat pumps worth it?


Now that you have an idea of the cold weather heat pump cost, the next question is whether they are worth your investment. Several financial, environmental, and convenience aspects make them the best investment in the long term. Such benefits include:


You enjoy rebates and tax cuts. 


The US federal government and the various states have incentive programs to promote the fast switch to eco-friendly energy-efficient systems. For example, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 extends a tax credit of up to 26% of the cost of total installation costs to users of geothermal heat pumps for construction projects starting construction till the end of 2022. There are tax credits for air source heat pumps but at a lower rate. Rebates, grants, and tax cuts can help you cover more than half the installation cost. 

Different states have varying rebates and other incentives. In New York, for example, there are grants up to $11,500 for geothermal heat systems and $7,500 for air source cold climate heat pumps per home. There are also rebates going up to $1,500 per 10000 BTUH, depending on the system type and heating capacity. In states like South Dakota and Minnesota, one may receive rebates of up to $500 per ton for ductless CCHPs subject to product specifications. In the same states, homeowners with a ducted CCHP system can get up to $700 per ton again, depending on specifications. 


They provide heating and cooling. 


Cold climate heat pumps are effective tools to regulate your home's climate. They provide heat and cold whenever you need it, often at the press of a button or a phone app. you do not need two separate units for each function. Their efficiency means you can attain and control the desired temperatures easily. 


Enjoy energy savings.


Cold climate heat pumps have energy efficiency rates of 400% when the temperatures are above 8.3% and still retains efficiencies of 200% when they drop to zero. These efficiencies, along with the fact that the heat pumps do not produce energy but simply transfer it, make them use significantly less energy. Most sources estimate that homes can save between 30% and 50% of their electricity bills. On average, that's about $1,000 or more per year in savings. 


They improve air quality in the house. 


Unlike other heating methods, cold climate heat pumps do not burn, create smoke, or produce vapors. Thus, they do not introduce pollutants to your home air. Further, as the heat pump circulates the air into the room, it filters and purifies it. It removes mold spores, smoke, dust particles, and odors. This action improves the air quality making the pumps ideal for people who have allergies and asthma. 


They are eco-friendly.


Heat pumps are an environmentally friendly way to heat and cool spaces. They do not rely on direct combustion to generate heat and, as such, have no CO² emissions. Even the little electricity they use is only to turn the compressor. They are thus environmentally friendly and help reduce the carbon footprint from homes. 


They help prevent condensation in your home.


Over summer, when using the cold climate heat pump for cooling, it helps dehumidify the air. Over winter, the heat pump spreads warm air in the house, which also helps prevent condensation from forming in your home. Keeping condensation and extra humidity from the home helps preserve your paint and keep away molds, among other things. 




In conclusion, a budget of about $7,000 to $10,000 may seem a lot upfront, but it does need to be. First, get several quotations from certified local contractors and insist on a ground survey. It will help you have a clear picture of various options available. Next, search for available grants, rebates, and tax cuts for which you qualify and apply for them. They can help you cut costs by half or more. What you are guaranteed is the cold climate heat pump will start giving you savings from the first day. 

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