Residential First Cost

The capacity of the heating and cooling system to be installed in a home is the same regardless of the type of system. The installed or "first" cost of a water-to-air (geothermal) heat pump, or air-to-air (conventional) heat pump, and a conventional gas, oil, or propane furnace with electric central air conditioning are all about the same.

With the geothermal heat pump system, you should consider the cost of installing the water wells or the closed-loop system. If you have an adequate water supply, very little added investment may be needed.

In most cases you will have to install a closed-loop or a well system. This cost can add $500 to $1,500 per ton of cooling capacity to the first cost.

Vertical bores and loops typically install for $4 to $7 per foot in holes up to 150 or 200 feet deep. Depending on soil conditions, the loop length is 120 to 225 feet of pipe per ton. The average added cost for a vertical installation is approximately $950.

Horizontal loop installations are placed in 4 to 6 foot deep trenches with pipe lengths running from 350 to 600 feet per ton, depending on soil conditions. Costs typically range from 65 cents to $1.25 per foot of trench. The average added cost for a horizontal loop installation is about $650 per ton.

Please note: ALL costs are rough estimates only. You must check locally for your costs.

The added first cost can usually be justified in TWO ways:

  1. First, with longer equipment life. ASHRAE estimates the median life of a water-source heat pump at 19 years compared to 15 years for an air-source heat pump or air conditioner.
  2. Second, with tax-free savings in operating costs over conventional systems. These are illustrated in the segment - Residential Operating Cost Comparisons.