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How to compare air source heat pump quotes

From single-zone mini-splits to ducted systems that control the temperature of various zones of an entire home, air source heat pumps offer an efficient, cost-effective, and comfortable heating and cooling solution for virtually any home in every climate. But between the industry jargon and complex technology, the process of investing in a new heating and cooling system can be intimidating and confusing for those who aren’t experts (that’s why you have us!).

With so much new information presented to you, receiving a quote for an air source heat pump system can feel daunting. How do you know if the equipment quoted is the right equipment for your goals? Does the price make sense in today’s market in your area? In this article, we explain key factors to pay attention to so you can confidently compare air source heat pump quotes.

Key takeaways

  1. Air source heat pump quotes do not follow a standard format, which can make comparing them a little tough sometimes.

  2. Make your expectations clear to every potential installer by requesting a detailed proposal to include the equipment model number, size of the system, any incentive programs it qualifies for, the timeline of installation, and an itemized breakdown of what it will all cost you.

  3. Every air source heat pump system is different. Speaking with a trustworthy contractor experienced in installing heat pumps will help you better understand your unique energy needs and equip you with the tools to discern which proposed system makes the most sense for your home.

  4. Powering your air source heat pump system with solar energy is the most cost-effective heating and cooling solution. To see how much solar can save you, check out the EnergySage Marketplace today!

What’s included in this article

Key things to review on your air source heat pump quotes

With many factors that go into sizing and design, air source heat pump quotes oftentimes are not turnkey. To ensure you’re investing in the system that will pack the most efficient punch, it’s important to provide potential installers with clear expectations and hold to them. You may not be able to compare quotes apples to apples, but requesting details on the following elements will help set a standard:

Type of air source heat pump

With various models and functions of air source heat pumps available, it’s important to confirm that the equipment you’re quoted for matches your goals. For example, if you live in the Northeast with a goal to heat your home with air source heat pumps through the winter, you’ll need a model that is built to function in extremely cold climates. To be sure you’re investing in the right technology, it never hurts to ask the installer to include the model number of the proposed system in their quote if they haven’t already. Our guide to comparing air source heat pump options can help further explain the different systems available and their ratings.

Price & equipment quality

When comparing prices among air source heat pump quotes, remember to consider what each includes. Were you quoted for additional services, like electrical panel upgrades, wiring work, or fossil fuel system removal, that you don’t actually want or need? Conversely, are there features you discussed with the installer that you don’t see included in the quote? Is one model of higher quality than another? Comparing quotes solely on the total price listed isn’t always the best way to guarantee you’re getting the best fit for what your need or value.

If you notice a considerable difference in price, size, or the timeline of installation from one quote to the next, ask your contractors about it. Why is the same system quoted at a price so much higher or lower than the other quotes? How come one installer claims they have all the equipment ready to go, while two other installers claim it’s three months out? How did they determine the sizing of your heat pump system? A reliable contractor will be able to explain their proposal in detail and answer any questions you have on installing heat pumps.

Incentive programs

Some states have generous incentive programs, like the rebates included in the Mass Save Program. There’s also the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act which can help make heat pumps more accessible and affordable. These programs often vary by geography and income, and not all makes and models of air source heat pumps are eligible for every state program. Reputable installers should be familiar with eligibility and enrollment requirements and outline these details and processes in their quotes to confirm your air source heat pump system’s equipment is part of the incentive programs. Most contractors also help you with submitting paperwork for state programs, though you’ll need to confirm any follow-ups or steps you’ll need to do on your own. Some of the IRA funded federal incentives and rebates are still to be rolled out, with more details coming soon.

HVAC contractors

Heating and cooling systems are a critical aspect of your home’s safety and security, and you can potentially spend decades with the same one. When investing in a quality system like heat pumps, and since installation plays a crucial role in their efficiency, the qualifications of HVAC installers is an important factor to consider when comparing quotes. Get started on the EnergySage Marketplace to find independent quote comparisons among local contractors.

Bonus: home energy assessments

While not always necessary for air source heat pump installations, a home energy assessment provides a comprehensive analysis of your home’s energy flow to determine where energy-efficient upgrades may be beneficial. Energy assessments are holistic and include more than just heating and cooling expenditure, but are useful when resolving the size of a heat pump system. Some state rebate programs also require a home energy assessment before you are eligible for heat pump rebates. You may be able to obtain an assessment from your local utility as well at no cost to you.

Sample air source heat pump proposal or quote

Most heat pump proposals will call out some basic information so you can compare the details:

  1. Contractor name and contact information

  2. System type and equipment they’re recommending

  3. Details on equipment including performance, size, and sometimes warranty (e.g. SEER and HSPF ratings for heating and cooling efficiency)

  4. Number of indoor and outdoor units

  5. Process for the installation (some contractors include this in more detail than others)

  6. Additional work that’s needed such as electrical work, disposal of old equipment, etc. and pricing for it

  7. Sometimes they’ll also include information on rebates and incentives, if applicable

  8. Terms and conditions of the contract — how long you have to cancel, what deposit is due upfront before work can be scheduled, when final payment is due

You’ll likely find that the level of detail in your heat pump proposal varies by contractor — some provide a lot of detail, breaking out several line items, while some give high-level information. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and get clarification to help feel comfortable about your purchase.

Image: Sample heat pump quote shared by homeowner

Consult trusted experts for the best heat pump options

Exploring your air source heat pump options can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Due to the advanced technology and plethora of models available in the market today, connecting with an expert to talk through your specific situation is the best way to understand how to maximize your home’s energy efficiency. EnergySage Energy Advisors, for example, are available for advising calls through the EnergySage Marketplace. As an unbiased expert resource, their priority is to equip you with the tools and knowledge to make an informed decision about your home’s energy needs.

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