Can I Replace Just The Heat Pump WIth Installing New Air Handlers?You can replace a heat pump and not the other components, but the new unit must be compatible with the rest of your system. However, it’s not recommended because if you mix and match, the new unit won’t give you the right performance or efficiency.

In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about choosing a new heat pump: How it works with the other components, why it needs to match, and more.

You’ll need to know this information if your heat pump is showing signs of problems or if it’s time to decide whether to replace or repair it.

And remember: It’s essential to work with an HVAC contractor you trust! We’ll touch on that topic as well. 

If you’re in Meridian, ID or somewhere else in Boise Metro, let us know if you have any questions or need any help. Snowflake Air specializes in mini splits and ducted heat pump systems. We’re certified to work on Mitsubishi Electric, Carrier, Lennox, and other major brands. 

You can call us at (208) 205-9078. Or, click below to schedule a free consultation.

Replacing Ducted Heat Pumps Vs. Mini Split Setups

While it’s possible to replace just a heat pump with a ducted system, the same is not true for mini splits. A different heat pump simply will not work with a ductless system. The new software and electronics are not compatible with older models.

Ducted systems are a little different. A new heat pump will work with an old air handler. Depending on your setup, you may even be able to mix and match brands. But, there are plenty of drawbacks. That’s both in terms of comfort and energy efficiency.

What To Consider When Replacing A Heat Pump

If you’re ready to replace your ducted heat pump, you should replace the air handler as well. The five big reasons are:

  1. Compatibility
  2. Energy Usage
  3. Performance
  4. Accessories
  5. Rebates


The big factor here is the refrigerant that cycles through the system. If your new heat pump uses a different coolant liquid than the air handlers, the system won’t work at all.

Energy Usage

A mismatched system may work, but you’ll pay a lot more to use it. Sure, the new unit will boast excellent energy efficiency. Meaning, it’s advertised to use much less electricity than your old one.

But, that’s not what you’ll get.

Instead, your older, less-efficient air handler won’t allow the heat pump to perform at full capacity. The new unit can produce what you need. But, the indoor component can’t distribute it. 

Also, today’s air handlers have more options for the secondary heating element. That’s the less-efficient backup your system uses when it’s too cold for the heat pump to work. 

Older models automatically switch over to secondary at a certain temperature. Newer models let you adjust the threshold or have them work in tandem with the heat pump for better efficiency. That’s factored into the new heat pump’s efficiency rating, but you can’t take advantage of it with an older air handler. 


If you bought a new heat pump, hooked it up to your old system, and expected to get money back through energy rebates, think again: Your new equipment is only valid for municipal, utility, and manufacturer rebates and incentives when you replace the entire system, not just one component.

Read More: Rebates and Financing Options For Treasure Valley Heat Pump and Mini Split Installations


Your Frankensteined system will run. But, it won’t run very well.

The first issue has to do with the indoor coil on the air handler. Today’s components are much different than older ones. A new heat pump won’t work very well if you’ve had your air handler for more than five years.

Next, newer heat pumps use ECM blower motors versus split capacitors. Without getting overly technical, the advantages of the ECM motor are lost when the air handler isn’t built for it.

The newer motors can bypass ductwork problems because of the way they run. That increases circulation through the house. But, a mismatched system can’t overcome static pressure or problems with old ductwork.

At that point, you’re paying for features you can’t use. And, that’s not the only way you miss out.


Today’s new heat pump systems have the software to link up to humidifiers, electric filters, and other new HVAC accessories. But, that won’t work with an old air handler.

How Long Do Heat Pumps Usually Last in Idaho?

Signs You Need A New Heat Pump Soon In Your Treasure Valley HomeThe average service life for a heat pump in Idaho’s climate is 10 to 15 years. Units with proper care and maintenance make it to the two-decade mark. Of course, we’ve also replaced units before they made it to ten years if they never got serviced.


Fortunately, it’s easy to keep a heat pump working great! The most important thing to do is get those two yearly tune-ups: One in the fall before the heating season and the other in the spring before you need the AC.

It’s fast, easy, and keeps your system running as efficiently as possible. And, if you have a mini split, schedule a deep cleaning if you haven’t done so before.

You’d be amazed (and maybe a little shocked) about what can build up inside the air handlers. Here in Idaho, we work with HydroKleen208 to provide the best mini split deep cleaning out there.

What Does It Cost To Replace A Heat Pump?

The average cost to install a new heat pump in Boise Metro or Valley County is $7,000. That includes the installation, ductwork adjustments, heating elements, and a new thermostat. More expensive models with better energy efficiency can reach up to $18,000.


With such a wide price range of options, it’s important to choose yours carefully. First, you need to make sure it’s the right size for your home. Too big or too small will leave you uncomfortable, and the system will break down well before it reaches 15 years.

So, make sure you know what you’re getting — and who you’re working with.

Using A Contractor You Trust

Heat Pump Replacement In Donnelly, IDBefore you sign on for a big-ticket item, do a little digging on the company you’re using. You don’t want to find out later that they have a bad reputation for overcharging or being pushy or scamming people.

You also run into specific problems in the HVAC world, like someone who doesn’t know how to do a proper load calculation. Then, you end up with a system that’s the wrong size and can’t keep your entire home comfortable (and breaks down early as a result).

Or, it turns out they do lousy work, and you need someone else to fix a shoddy installation.

So, be sure to get recommendations from trusted friends and family. Check out their online reviews. Make sure you see plenty of five-star reviews and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Here’s an extra tip: Read the BBB complaints. Sometimes a company with an A+ rating gets the same complaint lodged over and over again. If that’s the case, look elsewhere.

Heat Pump Installation In Meridian, ID

Snowflake Air is the trusted expert for mini split and heat pump installation in Meridian, ID, Boise Metro, and Valley County. We’ll help you find the perfect system to make your home comfortable and energy-efficient. Click below or call us at (208) 205-9078.