How to Find a Good Contractor to Install a Heat Pump

A heat pump is one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool your home—and it’s a greener choice than a fossil-fuel furnace or boiler. But it can be expensive to install, and you’ll need a good contractor to make sure your system is properly sized and adapted to your home.

The best way to find a good contractor is to ask for referrals from people you trust and look into local rebates. Start your search before your current heating or cooling system is ready for replacement. That gives you time to talk to several contractors and get quotes in writing.

You’ll want to choose a contractor with experience installing heat pump, and preferably a crew that has done some work in your area. Ask friends, neighbors and community social media groups for recommendations. Read online reviews of contractors, and pay attention to whether customers mention issues that may be important to you.

It’s important that a contractor is familiar with heat pump sizing, because the energy efficiency of your system depends on the size and configuration of your home as well as your climate and how often you use it. A good contractor will also know how to factor in factors like window insulation and weatherization, as well as your household habits and energy use.

The cost of a heat pump will vary depending on the type and size you choose, as well as installation costs and your utility rates. The installers we contacted quoted prices between $5,000 and $45,000 for a typical home—though in many cases, you’ll save money by replacing your existing system rather than a new construction.

Air-source heat pumps typically use an outdoor fan to blow air over refrigerant-filled coils. The coils absorb the heat and a second set of fans distributes it indoors, where it can be used to either warm or cool your house. Some systems include both the coils and a second fan in one package unit that’s installed on your roof or in an attic.

When you’re shopping for a heat pump, look for one with a SEER or HSPF rating of at least 14. The higher the ratings, the more efficient.

Heat pumps are ideal for moderate climates. They’re able to capture heat from the air outside, even in freezing temperatures, and transfer it into your home. In warmer weather, they work more efficiently than conventional HVAC systems that burn fossil fuel to create the heat.

The efficiency of a heat pump can be further increased by using inverter technology, which allows the system to operate at variable speeds so it’s consuming less energy when it’s not actively heating or cooling.

If you have a home with ducts, a good contractor can help you choose a heat pump that will be compatible with your existing system. But if you don’t have a ducted system, the good news is that ductless mini-splits are available from most manufacturers of air-source heat pumps.