How Much Does It Cost to Run a Heat Pump? (With Calculator)

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Heat Pump?

In a minute, this page gets into specifics and answers the Q: how much does it cost to run a heat pump?

But here is what you’ll find below:

  • Our accurate Heat Pump Cost Calculator based on all essential factors related to its efficiency and your cost of electricity
  • Your results for Heating Cost and Cooling Cost – What you could expect in cost based on how long your heat pump runs each year, separated for heating and AC
  • Step by step instructions for using it – though it is pretty self-explanatory
  • An answer to the question - What is cheaper to run a heat pump or gas furnace?
  • And more useful heat pump cost information from Pick HVAC.

Current and Potential Costs - Why Use This Calculator?

Many homeowners use the calculator to determine what they should be paying for heat pump energy and might be asking – why is my heat pump bill so high?

Others use the heat pump running cost calculator to compare heat pumps they are considering that have different levels of energy efficiency.

You’ll get accurate answers either way.

Heat Pump Running Cost and Cost Calculator

Every box is explained – but if you are familiar with the terms, then type them in and view your results.

Heat Pump Running Cost Calculator

for Electric Rates, Cooling and Heating Hours
Cents per Kilowatthour

Note: Our information comes from average costs for heating and AC/cooling based on annual EPA/Department of Energy data.

As a result, our Calculator is programmed using accurate data for the average number of Yearly Cooling Hours and Yearly Heating Hours for your location – or a location near you. In other words, you don’t have to know that information. But you can also change the computer-generated numbers to those you believe to be more accurate.

Box 1: Tonnage of Heat Pump

Heat pumps for residential use come in 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 5.0 tonnage – or tons. The size of your heat pump should be listed in your owner’s manual.

I don’t know the heat pump tonnage! Try these two tips.

First, search your heat pump’s model number online. You’ll find the model number on a metal plate on the back of the heat pump cabinet.

Secondly, there is likely a clue in the model number – a couple numbers indicating the number of BTUs the unit moves. And we can convert that number to tons.

  • 18 = 18,000 BTUs and 1.5 tons
  • 24 = 24,000 BTUs and 2.0 tons
  • 30 = 30,000 BTUs and 2.5 tons
  • 36 = 36,000 BTUs and 3.0 tons
  • 42 = 42,000 BTUs and 3.5 tons
  • 48 = 48,000 BTUs and 4.0 tons
  • 60 = 60,000 BTUs and 5.0 tons

Quiz: What size heat pump is the Trane XR17 4TWR7036B? If you think it’s 36,000 BTU / 3 tons, you are correct!

That’s just an example to show how to use the model number to determine heat pump size.

Box 2: SEER Efficient Rating

Type in the SEER or use the arrows to raise/lower the number.

SEER is the seasonal energy efficiency rating, a measurement of cooling or AC efficiency.

Again, this information should be listed in your owner’s manual or can be found with an online search.

Warning: The model number isn’t a reliable source for SEER. For example, the Trane XR17 is a 17 SEER AC. But the Trane XR15 is a 16 SEER unit.

Box 3: HSPF Efficient Rating

Type in the HSPF or use the arrows to raise/lower the number.

This box is the heating equivalent of Box 2. The information should be listed in the manual or can be found online, just as the other data.

Box 4: Your State

Choose your city, if it is listed under your state, or the state if it is not listed. Your electric rate will appear in the Electric Rates box.

Box 5: Electric Rates

Our calculator uses the most recent published rates.

You can double-check the cost of electricity where you live. The specific rate you pay is listed on your energy bill. Look for the line $ per kWH – or something similar to that. If there is more than one line with $ per kWH, such as “Base” and “Fuel” or more, you’ll have to add them up to get your total electricity cost/kilowatt hour (kWH).

If your rate is different, you can type it in to make the calculator as precise as possible.

Box 6 & Box: Yearly Cooling Hours / Yearly Heating Hours

Again, the heat pump running cost calculator uses government data. These are average numbers.

But the information varies from house to house.

While it’s a hassle, you can use your energy bills to determine exactly how many hours of cooling and heating you’re being billed for. Use our averages – or be as precise as possible by using your energy bills.

Calculator Results Explained

  • Line 1: Heat Pump Heating Running Cost per Hour: This number is based on the cost of electricity and how efficient your heat pump is. As efficiency rises, heat pump running cost per hour goes down.
  • Line 2: Annual Heating Running Cost: This number is based on running cost per hour multiplied by how long a heat pump runs in your city or state. It is a calculation of your total heating cost for the year.
  • Line 3: Heat Pump Cooling Running Cost per Hour: Same as Line 1, but for AC instead of heating.
  • Line 4: Annual Cooling Running Cost: Same as Line 2, but for AC instead of heating.

Quick Charts – Heat Pump Running Cost

How much does it cost to run a heat pump?

Our Calculator is the most accurate way to answer the question.

Like the Calculator, these charts give average costs for heating and AC/cooling based on annual EPA/Department of Energy data. Our Charts are based on 16 SEER cooling, which is about average, and 10 HSPF heating, slightly above average - but a good efficiency rating to consider when buying a heat pump.

Heating (10 hspf)

 Running Cost per HourRunning Cost per DayRunning Cost per Month  
1.5 Ton$0.25$6$180
2 Ton$0.33$7.92$237.60
2.5 Ton$0.42$10.08$302.40
3 on$0.50$12.00$360.00
3.5 Ton$0.58$12.00$417.60
4 Ton$0.67$16.08$482.40
5 Ton$0.83$19.92$597.60

Cooling (16 seer)

 Running Cost per HourRunning Cost per DayRunning Cost per Month  
1.5 Ton$0.16$3.84$115.20
2 Ton$0.21$5.04$151.20
2.5 Ton$0.26$6.24$187.20
3 Ton$0.31$7.44$223.20
3.5 Ton$0.36$8.64$259.20
4 Ton$0.42$10.08$302.40
5 Ton$0.52$12.48$374.40

Heat Pump Running Cost FAQs

Here are related topics many homeowners are interested in knowing more about.

What is Cheaper to Run – A Heat Pump or Gas Furnace?

If you have a heat pump vs a gas furnace, then you’re probably saving money every month during the heating season. The answer to the question – what is cheaper to run a heat pump or a gas furnace? – is that the average heat pump is more efficient, so is cheaper to run than a gas furnace. But the comparison can’t be precisely made without knowing the efficiency levels of each.

Still, some homeowners ask – why is my heat pump bill so high?

The answer could be:

  • The weather has been very cold, and your heat pump system relied on help from auxiliary heat (see details below on this topic)
  • Your heat pump is old and not very efficient
  • There’s something wrong with your heat pump that is reducing its efficiency
  • There is something wrong with your air handler, ductwork or other part of the system that is hurting its efficiency – something like a clogged air filter or leaking air ducts
  • You’re using the wrong air filter - so choose one that is right for your system

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Heat Pump?

Most homeowners pay around 50 cents per hour for heating and 33 cents per hour for AC.

How many hours per day and how many days per year you use the heat pump will make a large difference in how much it costs to run a heat pump where you live.

How Does Auxiliary Heat Affect Heat Pump Running Cost?

It makes a significant difference if your heat pump is undersized or you live in a very cold climate – or both.

Auxiliary heat is provided by electric heating strips installed in the air handler. They range from about 5kW to 20kW in capacity. They don’t run instead of the heat pump, but in addition to the heat pump.

The problem is that they provide electric resistance heat, like a space heater. And they use up to 4 times more electricity than a heat pump.

So, on very cold days, you might incur the standard cost of running a heat pump plus additional electric costs due to the auxiliary heat strips turning on.

Typically, a system requires auxiliary heat, also called aux heat, emergency heat and backup heat, when outside temperatures drop into the mid-30s Fahrenheit or lower.

Why is my heat pump bill so high? Well, if it's during the coldest months of the year, it could be that your heat pump system is using a lot of aux heat.

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