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How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Heat Pump & Air Handler? 2024 Update

man fixing the heat pump

Heat pumps and air handlers aren’t expensive components. But if your system’s energy performance is below par, you may be forced to replace it. One crucial upgrade you can make is replacing your current unit with a new heat pump and air handler.

That’s not only for the summertime. Many of these units come with a wide range of other handy features that you’ll want around all year long.

But how much will it cost to replace these components? The prices vary depending on the type of your heat pump and air handler. Keep reading to know the cost and other factors on replacing the two components.

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The 4 Reasons You Need to Replace Your Air Handler & Heat Pump

It’s crucial to know when it’s time to replace these units and how to go about it.

Here’s why you need to replace them.

1. Your Heat Pump is Noisy When Operating

Heat pumps can be noisy during operation. It often starts with a simple click or slight squeak in your heat pump. But that can turn into a loud bang or other noise. When you hear a noise from your heat pump, it’s too late to repair it. So, replace it.

heat pump outside the house
Image Credit: HarmvdB, Pixabay

2. Increase in Energy Expenses

If you notice that your energy bills have increased, consider getting an inspection done by a technician to determine if you need to replace your heat pump and air handler.

If these two are not operating effectively, it’s best to replace them. This way, you can save money on your energy bills every month.

3. Your Airflow is Inconsistent

An efficient air handler and heat pump will regulate the airflow in your home. Each room receives the same amount of air at the same temperature regardless of location or size.

If you have noticed inconsistent airflow in different parts of your home, replace these two devices.

4. Constant Repairs

Another reason you should replace your heat pump and air handler is due to the number of repairs needed within a short period.

If you have had to repair your heat pump and air handler more times than usual in the past few months, consider replacing both systems.

If not, they can break down and leave you without any warmth or coolness during extreme temperatures.

If you wait too long to replace these two units, they’ll continue to cost you money and damage your health. Some health issues associated with poor indoor air quality include headaches and asthma attacks. Others include allergies, congestion, and respiratory infections.

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How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Heat Pump and Air Handler?

A technician will assess your home to determine the size of the heat pump and air handler you need. Below would be the replacement cost of a heat pump and an air handler.

Heat Pump

Two heat pumps outside the house
Image Credit: Nimur, Shutterstock

The cost of replacing a heat pump starts from $4,900 to $12,500. The cost includes equipment, professional labor, and materials. A technician can take as little as three hours to complete this replacement project.

The project will also need electrification modifications. It’ll cost an extra $100 to $600 above the total cost of replacement.

Here’s a breakdown of the total replacement cost of a heat pump depending on the type.

Type Of Heat Pump Replacement Cost
Mini-Split $2,000 to $14,500
Air Source $4,500 to $8,000
Solar $18,000 to $39,000
Geothermal $6,000 to $20,000
Hybrid $2,500 to $10,000

Air Handler

air handler
Image Credit: RF-2020, Shutterstock

It’s a component of your central heating and cooling system. It circulates conditioned air throughout your home via ductwork.

When it comes to the cost of replacing an air handler, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,400 for an average-sized unit. This includes ductwork but the cost will vary depending on the size of your system.

The cost of the air handler alone ranges from $700 to $2,000. Professional labor to replace it ranges from $800 to $1,800.

The replacement cost also depends on whether it’s single-, multi-, or variable-speed.

It’ll cost $1,000 to $1,500 to replace a single-speed air handler. A multi-speed air handler’s replacement cost ranges from $1,450 to $1,900. If you want a variable-speed air handler, it’ll cost you $1,600 to $2,100.

Here Is a Breakdown of an Air Handler Replacement Cost Breakdown

Type of Air Handler Replacement Cost
Single-Speed $1,000 to $1,500
Multi-Speed $1,450 to $1,900
Variable-Speed $1,600 to $2,100

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The 4 Factors Affecting the Replacement Cost of a Heat Pump & Air Handler

Several factors will affect the replacement cost as seen below.

1. Installation Costs

The installation costs for an air handler and heat pump equipment vary from one company to another. It’s also determined by the size and the location of your house and the ductwork involved.

2. Tax Credits and Rebates

Several tax credits and rebates are available for buying an energy-efficient heat pump and air handler. For example, you may be eligible for rebates from local utility companies. That’s if your system meets particular standards for energy efficiency.

3. Efficiency

The efficiency of your heat pump and air handler system impacts how much it costs to replace. The more efficient the system is, the higher its replacement cost is.

For example, you may have a heat pump and air handler less than ten years old. If you want to replace it with a new one that is twice as efficient, you’ll pay twice the replacement cost. But you’ll save money in the long run.

4. Modifications to Your Existing System

The replacement cost will be higher if you change your existing system. For instance, if you have an old heat pump installed in an outdoor unit that’s not up to code, you may need to replace the outdoor unit with the new system.

The same applies if the indoor unit is not up to par with current standards.

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How Often Should You Replace These Two Devices?

Heat pumps and air handlers are durable and reliable equipment that last many years. But they won’t last forever. Eventually, your heat pump or air handler will need replacement.

Usually, both heat pumps and air handlers have a lifespan of 15–20 years before they need replacement. The average lifespan is around 15 years.

But some heat pumps last up to 20 years with proper maintenance and care. An air handler can last 25 years or more when maintained well.

If your heat pump and air handler are ten years or older, they may need a replacement if they haven’t been replaced yet.

Heat pump on a residential home
Image Credit: Palatinate Stock, Shutterstock

Do You Have to Replace Your Heat Pump and Air Handler Together?

The two units work in tandem to provide you with the comfortable temperatures you expect in your home. So, it’s recommended that you replace both units.

In case of a failure, you might be facing a replacement cost that could have been avoided had you maintained these systems well. But even with the best upkeep, your heat pump and the air handler will eventually need replacing.

In some cases, you can replace your heat pump without replacing the air handler. But it’s not always an excellent idea.

A crucial thing to keep in mind when replacing both is that you must match them well. The heat pump and air handler’s size factor into how well each system works.

A properly matched system can control humidity levels and keep your home comfortable throughout the year.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Heat Pump and Air Handler Replacement?

Standard homeowners’ insurance policies may not cover heat pumps. Though they are considered part of the home’s structure and systems, homeowners’ insurance protects against unexpected damage as a result of fire or storm damage.

If you have a heat pump and air handler damaged due to a covered peril, it will be repaired or replaced by the insurance company.

The age of your unit is considered when determining whether to approve a claim for replacement. In many instances, units that have been in service for many years may not be eligible for a complete replacement. That’s if they have outlived their expected lifespan.

repair technician with air handler
Image Credit: David Spates, Shutterstock

How Does a Heat Pump and an Air Handler Work?

At first glance, it might be easy to confuse the two. Both are large metal boxes that are part of an air conditioning system. But they serve different purposes. The heat pump is the primary component.

Usually, it’s installed outside your home. The air handler is usually installed in an indoor location. It works in conjunction with the heat pump.

The Heat Pump

The heat pump has two units (one inside and one outside your home). The outside unit is a large metal box that contains the compressor and condenser coils. Inside your home, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from the indoor air. Then, it cools the air inside your home.

The Air Handler

The air handler has a blower motor, heating elements, and cooling coils. It’s the indoor component of a central air conditioner or heat pump.

So, the air handler works with your outdoor unit to provide your space with heating and cooling. The air handler uses a fan to circulate the conditioned air throughout your home.

This system makes it possible for you to have temperature-controlled air in every room of your house.

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Heat pumps and air handlers have provided a lot of value for homeowners. These units will likely continue to do so. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that they are a massive investment up front.

So, while they may be a suitable choice for your home, calculate the costs of these systems ahead of time to determine if they are worth it.

Consult a professional if you want to learn more about your options. We hope this article has helped determine how much it will cost to replace an air handler and heat pump.

Featured Image Credit: Dziurek, Shutterstock


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