Geothermal Heating and Cooling Cost 2022: Pros & Cons, Comparisons

Growth in the geothermal heating and cooling market averages 12% annually, as demand continues to rise for highly efficient HVAC systems that leverage sustainable energy.

Today, Geo system pricing is more competitive than it was a decade ago because there are many more manufacturers selling ground-source heating and cooling systems and there are more experienced installers competing for projects.

Cost

The current national average cost ranges between $20,000 and $28,000 for the installation of a new mid-range Geo heat system. This is before the 26% federal tax credits for the geothermal home energy efficiency upgrades that were recently extended by congress through the end of 2022. The federal tax credit rebate amount will be reduced to 22% in 2023.

On a wider pricing range: Most homeowners can expect to pay between $20,000 and $36,000 for a complete mid-range geothermal heating and cooling system fully installed, before the 26% federal tax credits. This wider range captures 80% of all residential Geo installations.

High-end ground-source heat pump systems for larger homes can cost as much as $30,000 to $48,000.

The size of your home and its location, available land, the type of soil, local climate, condition and usability of current duct work, and the type of heat pump you choose will impact the overall cost.

Let’s itemize the cost of a geothermal heat pump system in the following table:

Equipment Equipment Cost Total Cost with
Horizontal Loop
Total Cost with
Vertical Loop
Packaged Water to Air Heat Pump* $3,500 to $8,000 $15,000 to $25,000 $17,750 to $28,000
Split Water to Air Heat Pump $4,250 to $8,500 $16,250 to $28,000 $18,500 to $30,000
Packaged Water to Water System** $4,500 to $9,000 $18,250 to $30,000 $20,500 to $36,000

* Water to air systems are forced air systems. In winter, heat is collected with water circulating through the pipes in the ground and transferred to air being forced by a blower fan through your home’s ductwork.

The opposite occurs in summer. Heat is collected from the air in your home, transferred to the water in the pipes, which are then cooled by stable ground temperatures.

** Water-to-water systems are hydronic systems. Heat is transferred between the water in the loop system and water in an indoor radiant heat floor system or baseboard heat system.

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Ductless Heating & Cooling Cost: Mini-Split Prices, Pros & Cons

The limits are off for ductless heating and cooling systems, as double-digit growth in installations for six years running demonstrates.

ductless mini-split heating and cooling system

Mini split HVAC systems are no longer just for additions, rooms far from central heating that are too hot or too cold, or locations where installing or extending ductwork is impossible.

Indoor and outdoor-ductless mini-split system

New technology and competitive costs are behind the growing number of applications including new construction.

This comprehensive ductless heating and cooling guide covers costs, system types, options, features, efficiency, pros and cons, and more.

Did you know?

Ductless mini split outdoor units are now being produced for cold climates. For example, the Fujitsu Halcyon XLTH Extra Low Temp system is an impressive 33 SEER ductless system that provides heating in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Trane’s low-temperature 4MXW38 system offers 38 SEER/15 HSPF efficiency and 100% heating performance to -20F.

Haier America, Samsung, Friedrich, and several other brands have introduced cold climate ductless heat pumps. A base pan heater in these outdoor units allows condensate to drain without freezing.

How Much Does It Cost?

Mini split heat pumps cost higher than standard split systems, but significantly less than geothermal system costs.

Small, single-zone systems with complete installation start as low as $4,000. Large, complex systems can cost as much as $17,500 installed. Here are the average installed costs for three common system sizes. There’s more detail in various sections below.

  • Single zone systems: 1 indoor unit (6,000-36,000 BTU): $4,000 to $8,000
  • Average multi-zone systems: 2-4 indoor units (18,000-36,000 BTU total): $6,800-$13,500
  • Large multi-zone systems: 4+ indoor units (up to 60,000 BTU total): $10,500-$18,500

Here’s a quick breakdown of mini split HVAC costs for equipment and installation:

  • Outdoor unit cost: $1,000 to $6,500 (9K to 60K BTU)
  • Indoor unit cost: $300 to $2,500 (6K to 36K BTU)
  • Accessory package: $250-$2,500
  • Ductless HVAC system installation (warrantied labor) cost: $2,500 to $5,500

The accessory package may include a line set, drain tubing, wiring, thermostat, remote control, additional refrigerant when indoor units are distant from the outdoor unit, condensate pan heater for cold climates and other equipment required for installation.

Average Cost To Install Ductless AC (Mini-Split) Typical Range: $2,870 - $4,380
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Did you know?

Knowing the technical terms will assist you when researching your options, shopping and discussing the project with an installer. In technical terms, outdoor units are also called condensers.

A condenser contains the compressor that circulates refrigerant and the condensing coil that disperses heat during an AC mode and collects heat in heating mode.

Indoor units are also called air handlers and evaporators, and there are several types (explained in the section of Indoor Unit Types below).

Pro Tip: You’ll spend less on equipment and installation when you choose one large outdoor unit that supports multiple indoor zones rather than several separate single-zone ductless systems. In a multi-zone system, the climate of each room or zone can be independently controlled for customized comfort.

Mini Split System Cost Factors

Ductless mini split system costs vary widely based on:

  • Whether it is AC-only ($-$$$) or a heat pump ($$-$$$)
  • Cost rises as energy efficiency goes up.
  • Cost rises with the size of the outdoor unit, though again, one outdoor unit costs less than two outdoor units with the same cumulative capacity (one 48,000 BTU unit vs. two 24,000 BTU units, for example).
  • The number, capacity and type of indoor units (single zone vs. multi-zone)
  • Indoor units with variable-speed fans for better climate control cost 15% to 25% more.
  • The complexity of the installation

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Top 10 Best Central Air Conditioners: Costs by AC Unit

Central AC Unit Costs

There are plenty of cheap central air conditioners, but there is more to value than low price.

On the other end of the spectrum are high-priced, high-performance ACs with variable capacity cooling and communication technology. They’re not what anyone would call a value choice either.

The sweet spot in the middle is where quality and reasonable cost meet to provide good value for the money. You’ve got a good selection of central air conditioners that are considered an excellent value.

Climate must be considered, too, because a value air conditioner in Jackson, Mississippi is not the same as a value AC in Jackson, Minnesota. We’ll explain why.

via Hamilton Home Comfort

Covering all climates, below are the top 10 Central AC options:

1. Day & Night Performance 17 N4A7
2. Rheem Classic Series RA17
3. York LX YCG
4. Goodman GSXC18
5. Day & Night Performance 16 N4A6
6. Rheem Classic Series RA16
7. Goodman GSXC16
8. Rheem Classic Series RA14
9. Day & Night Performance 14 N4A5
10. Goodman GSX14

Average Cost To Install Central AC Typical Range: $3,870 - $5,430
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