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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Electrical, HVAC & Energy Efficiency > Dual Fuel Heat Pump

Dual Fuel Heat Pump Cost

How Much Does a Dual Fuel Heat Pump Cost?

low costHeat Pump Only: $2,500-$5,500average costComplete System, Existing Ductwork: $5,000-$10,000+ high costComplete System, New Ductwork: $10,000-$25,000+
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Most air-source heat pumps are all-electric, providing warmth by using electric resistance heat in the indoor air handling units. Also called add-on or hybrid, dual-fuel heat pumps are designed specifically to work as a single system with a natural gas, propane or oil-fired furnace. The furnace acts as backup to the heat pump when outside temperatures drop below freezing, making dual-fuel heat pumps less expensive to operate in colder climates than all-electric models.

Typical costs:

  • Adding a dual-fuel heat pump to an existing fossil fuel (natural gas, propane or oil) ducted system typically costs about $2,500-$5,500 for just the heat pump unit in an average home (three-ton capacity). More expensive models include options such as a two-stage compressor or a hot water heater.
  • Installing a completely new dual-fuel system with both electric heat pump and fossil fuel (gas or oil) furnace can cost $5,000-$10,000 or more, depending on the type and quality of the heat pump and furnace. CostHelper readers report paying $6,000-$8,200, or an average of $7,234 for installing a dual system in a house with existing usable ductwork.
  • Total costs can double or triple to $10,000-$25,000 or more if the house does not have usable ductwork. Installing or replacing ductwork typically costs about $35-$55 a linear foot for labor and materials, or $1,000-$5,000 or more for an average home. CostHelper readers report paying $12,024-$15,500 to install a complete dual-fuel system with new ductwork, at an average cost of $13,762.
Related articles: Geothermal Heat Pump, Air Heat Pump, Heat Pump, Furnace, Central Air Conditioner

What should be included:
  • A dual-fuel or add-on heat pump is most effective in areas where winter temperatures are usually above freezing but can drop below freezing at times. A dual-fuel system usually pairs an outdoor electric air-source heat pump with an indoor natural gas or propane furnace, although there are some packaged, single-unit systems and a few systems use a geothermal (ground-source) heat pump.
  • In existing homes with separate heating and cooling systems, a dual-fuel heat pump is most often used to replace the outdoor air conditioning unit, creating a dual-fuel system with the existing furnace. Similar to a hybrid car, the two units work in tandem and switch depending on which fuel source is most economical and efficient. Most systems allow users to select the outdoor temperature (usually 25-35 degrees) at which the switch is made. In summer, the heat pump provides cool air by transferring the indoor heat outdoors. The Family Handyman magazine provides an overview of dual-fuel heat pumps[1] .
Additional costs:
  • In an older home, adding an electric heat pump might require hiring an electrician to upgrade the electrical panel to 200 amps, which can cost an additional $1,300 -$3,000.
  • Energy-efficient appliances often qualify for low-cost loans, tax credits or rebates. The database of State Incentives for Renewables & Energy Efficiency[2] tracks energy-efficiency incentives offered by utilities and by state, federal and local government agencies.
Shopping for a dual fuel heat pump:
  • Major manufacturers include Armstrong Air[3] , Carrier[4] and Lennox[5] .
  • The Cornhusker Public Power District provides a checklist[6] for hiring a heat pump contractor.
  • Referrals are available from the North American Technician Excellence certification program[7] and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America[8] -- and the local power company may have a list of contractors in the area.
  • Request and check references; ask about length and type of experience; and be sure they are properly bonded, insured and licensed[9] . Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[10] .
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