How Much Does a Ground Source Heat Pump Cost? A Comprehensive Guide

A ground source heat pump, also known as a geothermal heat pump, is a highly efficient heating and cooling system that utilizes the constant temperature of the ground to provide energy-efficient climate control for your home. The cost of a ground source heat pump system can range from $10,000 to $30,000, with an average cost of $12,708. However, the installation cost can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the system type, home size, installation location, site conditions, and geographic location.

Types of Ground Source Heat Pumps and Their Costs

There are four main types of geothermal heat pumps: horizontal, vertical, pond, and open-loop. Each type has its own unique installation requirements and cost considerations.

Horizontal Ground Source Heat Pumps

Horizontal systems are the most common residential geothermal option and are typically less expensive than vertical systems. The cost of a horizontal system ranges from $2,500 to $5,000 per ton of materials. The installation process involves digging trenches in the ground, typically 4-6 feet deep, to accommodate the horizontal loop piping.

Vertical Ground Source Heat Pumps

Vertical systems are more expensive than horizontal systems, with a cost range of $3,000 to $5,000 per ton of materials. The installation process involves drilling vertical boreholes, typically 100-400 feet deep, to accommodate the vertical loop piping.

Pond/Lake Ground Source Heat Pumps

Pond or lake systems are less common and may not be feasible for every homeowner due to site conditions. These systems use the constant temperature of a body of water, such as a pond or lake, to provide the heat exchange for the geothermal system. The cost of a pond or lake system can vary widely depending on the size and depth of the water source.

Open-Loop Ground Source Heat Pumps

Open-loop systems are also less common and may not be suitable for all locations. These systems use groundwater as the heat exchange medium, drawing water from a well and discharging it into a surface water body or a second well. The cost of an open-loop system can vary depending on the availability and quality of the groundwater source.

Additional Costs to Consider

In addition to the cost of the ground source heat pump system itself, there are several other factors to consider when estimating the total cost of a geothermal installation:

Landscape Repairs

The installation process for a ground source heat pump can be highly disruptive to a home’s landscape, requiring extensive digging and excavation. Homeowners should budget for landscape repairs, such as sod replacement, which can range from $450 to $4,520 depending on the size of the affected area.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

To maximize the efficiency of a ground source heat pump system, homeowners may want to consider installing energy-efficient windows or upgrading insulation in their home. These upgrades can further improve the overall energy efficiency of the home and reduce long-term operating costs.

Incentives and Tax Credits

Geothermal heat pumps are eligible for numerous incentives, including statewide programs and the federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit provides homeowners with a tax credit equal to 30% of the total installed cost of a ground source heat pump, provided that it meets Energy Star criteria.

Many states and individual utilities also offer financial incentives for geothermal systems, typically as Energy Efficiency incentives. These incentives can help offset the higher upfront cost of a ground source heat pump installation.

Factors Affecting Ground Source Heat Pump Costs

The cost of a ground source heat pump system can vary significantly based on several key factors:

  1. System Type: As discussed, the type of geothermal system (horizontal, vertical, pond, or open-loop) can significantly impact the installation cost.
  2. Home Size: Larger homes generally require larger ground source heat pump systems, which can increase the overall cost.
  3. Installation Location: The accessibility and terrain of the installation site can affect the complexity and cost of the project.
  4. Site Conditions: Factors such as soil type, water table depth, and the presence of underground obstacles can impact the installation process and cost.
  5. Geographic Location: The cost of labor and materials can vary depending on the region of the country.


The cost of a ground source heat pump system can be a significant investment, but the long-term energy savings and environmental benefits can make it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. By understanding the various factors that can affect the installation cost and taking advantage of available incentives, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether a ground source heat pump is the right choice for their home.