It’s essential to use an experienced installer to advise on the type of heat pump that’s best for your home – and to ensure it works properly. Here are some things to consider when you're going through the process.
Heat pump installation cost
Installation costs can be significant. Our price survey shows the cost of installation varies more than the units themselves – from $750 to $1350. Make sure the cost of installation is included in your quote. We quote uninstalled prices in our product database.
Often installers are tied to a particular brand – so get more than 1 quote.
Positioning the outside unit
Look for an unobtrusive place on a north, west, or east wall, not too close to the neighbours or they could be upset by the noise, and somewhere where air can circulate freely around the unit. If you live in a coastal area, make sure you get a corrosion-resistant exterior unit (see Heat pump FAQs for more on corrosion). Avoid south facing walls – heat pumps work better with a little sun and as little frost as possible.
If the installer suggests the outdoor unit be mounted in a spot that does not suit you, think carefully before changing it. Mounting the outside unit in an inconspicuous, cold location may lead to excessive icing.
In our 2012 appliance reliability survey we asked members to rate retailers on their heat pump installation.
Good practice guide
The government energy agency, EECA, has developed a heat pump installation good practice guide (3.01 MB) which covers the unit’s location, pipework, electrical requirements, testing and commissioning. Make sure your installer follows this guide.
How much can you save on heating costs?
The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Modern inverter-style heat pumps can adjust their power output to suit the heating requirements of the moment and are most efficient when working at part load.
Just where this efficiency “sweet spot” is to be found is difficult to test. Our testing procedure pushes the units on reverse-cycle heating mode towards their maximum output, where they are less efficient.
So if your installer makes sure the unit is large enough (or even a little too large) for your needs, you should get more heat per dollar of electricity than our test results suggest.
But – even if they’re not always running at an optimum setting – all the models in our database will give 3 or more times the heat value of every dollar you spend on electricity.