When considering a heat pump for your home climate control, many brands are vying for your attention. One of those brands, Coleman, isn’t one you think of right off the bat. Coleman is best known for its sporting and camping goods products.
They are a fairly big player in the home HVAC market, though, and this review will look at the Coleman standard heat pumps, reviewed, compared, and rated. Each model in its line is examined. So read along and find out if Coleman is a good heat pump investment for you and your home.
Coleman Heat Pumps: 60 Years of History
Coleman heating and cooling isn’t as new as you may think. While they do have a stranglehold on the sporting goods industry, they also have a niche market in heating, cooling, and ventilation for residential applications.
All of their HVAC products are engineered, produced, and assembled right here in the USA. Their pride and experience give them an edge over some other brands that travel thousands of miles before ending up in a dealer showroom.
With Coleman, you get a durable, reliable, and well-built machine that comes with an industry-leading warranty rivaled by few.
Factors To Look At When Considering a Coleman Heat Pump
There are several things you should consider before you make a final purchase. Below, we outline the most important factors to consider when evaluating a Coleman heat pump for your home.
Cost of the Heat Pump
The overall cost of the heat pump is going to be the most significant factor. Prices vary by brand, model, and even region of the US where you make the purchase. With Coleman, you will pay a little more because they are made in the USA. Without outsourcing to other countries, the cost remains a bit higher.
However, what you get quality-wise for that price is better than a lot of other entry-level or budget-friendly brands, with better efficiency and longer life expectancy.
Another cost concern is installation. Heat pumps and most other HVAC equipment should be installed by a trained, licensed technician. There are many issues, mathematics, and measurements needed that you should be trained to spot and figure out before taking on a job of this nature.
It is also illegal to handle, collect, recover or fill refrigerants without the proper certifications from the EPA. All of this combined makes the installation of your heat pump a little more costly. On average, with labor fees, tools, equipment, and knowledge, you can expect to pay between $3500 and $5500 for installation.
With heat pumps, there are also maintenance costs you should plan and budget for. The most obvious of these fees is the air filter. You will need to change your air filter every 30 to 90 days, depending on the type and style you purchase.
You also need to keep your system clean, so cleaning products such as coil cleaners, fin brushes, and other general cleaning supplies are required. In a given year, these supplies should cost you between $25 and $75.
The highest cost, though, is the annual inspection. This is when you hire a trained HVAC technician to come and inspect every inch of your heat pump set up. They will clean and inspect as they go, which should take about 2 hours.
Not only does this help you maintain your system, but it also keeps it running at top performance. You will also be notified of any potential issues that can be repaired or averted before they become major repairs.
Noise is always a concern as well. Measured in decibels (dB), noise levels can be a big issue—the higher the dB level, the louder the machine. There are products on the market to help quiet a heat pump system, such as condenser blankets.
However, it is usually a good idea to find a machine that is relatively quiet to begin with. Coleman has decent noise levels for the heat pump industry. They aren’t the quietest on the market, but they aren’t so loud it is a problem, either.
The warranty should be at the top of your list when it comes to making a final purchase. You want great coverage for a long time to protect your investment as long and as thoroughly as possible.
Coleman actually has one of the best warranties in the business. Rivaled only by Goodman heat pumps, Coleman offers a 10-year parts and labor warranty along with a lifetime compressor warranty if you register your purchase within 90 days.
If you fail to register the purchase, the warranty reverts to 5-years parts and 10-year compressor coverage.
Tonnage, SEER & HSPF Ratings: What Do They Mean?
When dealing with heat pumps and finding the right fit for your home, there are three main measurements to understand. The first is tonnage. This isn’t an indication of weight but one of capacity. A ton is a measurement equal to 12,000 BTUs. It is a simple way to know how many BTUs the system can output.
The higher the output, the larger the space it can heat or cool. Most heat pumps range between 1 and 5 tons, measured in half-ton increments (2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, etc.). The tonnage also directly correlates to home size in square feet, ensuring you get the right size and capacity for your home.
In cooling mode, the energy efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. This is a measurement of the wattage used in cooling mode in relation to the BTU output capacity. Higher SEER values mean more efficient systems.
When in heating mode, the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF, is used. This is a smaller number than the SEER but tells you the same thing. You want to find models with at least 14 SEER and 8 HSPF ratings, though there are models that exceed 20 SEER and 11 HSPF on the market.
Coleman Heat Pump Range (Side By Side Comparison)
Coleman offers 6 different models to meet your needs. This isn’t the largest selection by far, but it is enough to find the size, capacity, and output to match your home. Let’s compare the models now.
We will look at the efficiency ratings, capacities, and costs for these models. Note that the costs are based on a 2 to 3-ton capacity with high-end installation costs of about $2000. This can vary depending on location and other factors so be sure to get several quotes.
|Heat Pump Model||SEER||Ton||Home Size||Compressor Type||HSPF||Cost (Unit Only)||Cost + Install|
|HC20||21||2, 3, 4, 5 Tons||1200 – 3200 sq. ft.||Variable Speed||10.75||$3700 – $4500||$5700 – $6500|
|HC19||19||2, 3, 4, 5 Tons||1200 – 3200 sq. ft.||Two-Stage||10||$3300 – $4200||$5300 – $6200|
|CH6||16||1.5 – 5 Tons||1200 – 3200 sq. ft.||Modulating Rotary||9.5||$3000 – $4000||$5000 – $6000|
|CH16||18||2, 3, 4, 5 Tons||1200 – 3200 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||10||$2600 – $3000||$4600 – $5000|
|TH4||15||1.5 – 5 Tons||1200 – 3200 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||9.5||$1800 – $2600||$3800 – $4600|
|TE4||15||1.5 – 5 Tons||1200 – 3200 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||9.5||$1400 – $2200||$3400 – $4200|
Unique Features Of Coleman Heat Pumps
Coleman heat pumps are well-reviewed, and the top-end models offer some unique features. With the HC20 and HC19 models, you can enjoy the Hx 3 communication system and the Coleman Whisper Drive. Let’s detail these features now.
Coleman Hx 3 Communicating Zoning System
The only two heat pumps compatible with the Hx 3 zoning system are the top tier models. Hx 3 is a complete system from the thermostat to controls. It can split your home into up to 8 different zones and focus the attention on whichever rooms you desire.
This system works to use sensors and control settings to give you the optimal temperature based on selections for the individual zones. For example, if you have your bedrooms in one zone and living room in another, the sensors will note which rooms you are in or are occupied and focus the temperature settings to those zones.
Coleman Whisper Drive
Whisper drive technology is an insulation method to lower the noise production of the condenser unit. Using new technology, the HC20 and HC19 models perform much quieter than average. The rest of the lineup will produce an average of 70dB; however, these two models can get as low as 54dB, even when running at high speeds.
In-Depth Reviews of Coleman Heat Pumps
The six Coleman heat pump models are reviewed here. Coleman splits their systems into two groups, the Echelon Systems, and the LX Series. We will maintain this categorical separation to differentiate the models while we compare and review them for you.
Coleman Echelon™ Split System Heat Pumps
The Echelon series only houses two models. The HC20 and HC19 units are the top of the line and come with everything Coleman has to offer. With both models, you get the Whisper Drive Fans that run much quieter than the rest of the units.
You also get compatibility with the Hx 3 Communication Zoning system. With the Hx 3 system and all compatible parts (thermostat, air handler, etc.), you can control temperatures in different areas based on various criteria.
Of course, these two models are highly efficient, too. With the HC20, you can achieve up to 21 SEER and 10.75 HSPF. The HC19 model reaches 19 SEER and 9 HSPF, making both qualify for the tax credit (more below).
The biggest draw, though, is the price. Coleman has competitive pricing, especially considering the features included. With those features, like Demand Defrost and dual-fuel capabilities, you can easily see the value at any price point.
Unlike other brands, though, you don’t have a separate model for coastal regions. All of the Echelon series units are coated with a saltwater resistant powder coating. It doesn’t matter where you live; if you go with these options, you will have the saltwater treatment no matter what.
Finally, the warranty period is excellent. With timely registration (90 days), the units are covered for 10 years on all parts except the compressor, which is covered for life. If you don’t register in time, though, the coverage times drop to 5-years parts and 10-years compressor.
LX Series Split System Heat Pumps
The other four models make up the LX Series. These split systems are the lower end of the lineup and still offer great efficiency along with a more affordable unit. You do lose a lot, though, so it is up to you what you can live without and what you must have.
For example, these models don’t come with the Hx 3 compatibility, so you won’t be able to use wireless controls for the system. You also lose a bit of efficiency as the CH16 model offers up to 18 SEER at max and is the most efficient of the remaining models.
The CH6 and CH16 are comparable, but you lose a few more efficiency points because the CH6 is only a single-stage compressor. However, if saving money is the main point, you can still get high efficiency while lowering the cost up to $1000 by choosing either the TE4 or the TH4 model.
These models also come with the warranty upgrade, and the CH models qualify for the tax rebates. However, if you opt for the TE4 or TH4 models and choose the 3-phase option, the warranty upgrade is not available.
How To Work Out Power Consumption
Power consumption is used to determine how much you actually pay each month (or week, or year) while running the system. Also known as running cost, you can quickly and easily find an average price to own and use these heat pumps.
All you need are four basic variables and a formula.
The formula looks like: kW x $/kWh x H x D = $Running Cost.
The variables are quite simple, too. First, you need to know how many days (D) you want to see the cost for. On average, most people want to know the peak running costs over the 90 days of summer or winter. You also want to know how many hours (H) the system runs per day.
Note that this is how long the system is turned on, but how many hours it is actually running.
You also need to know the kilowatt (kW) usage. This is found by looking at the ID plate or literature to find the watts and dividing by 1000. If the watts are not listed, you will find volts and amps instead. To get the watts in this case, you simply multiply voltage and amperage together.
Finally, you need to know the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This is how much your electric company charges you to supply power to your home. It can be found on your monthly statement or by contacting your electric provider.
Once you have all four variables, you plug them into the formula and multiply them together. For example, if we have a 4200-watt system (4.2 kW) and are charged 12 cents per kWh, we can then determine our system will run an average of 4 hours per day (average across the country for everyday use), and we can find the cost for the 90 days over the summer months.
The formula (and total costs) would then look like:
4.2 x $0.12 x 4 x 90 = $181.44.
Coleman Vs Other Popular Heat Pump Brands
If you want to know how Coleman standard heat pumps compare to the competition, you’re in luck. In this section, we compare Coleman to popular brands Heil, Trempstar, and Rheem.
Coleman Vs Heil Heat Pump
Heil is a budget-friendly brand that offers everyone a chance to upgrade to a heat pump for more efficiency regardless of budget. Heil heat pumps offer 11 models to choose from, and each one is slightly different.
Unlike Coleman, Heil has a coastal model specifically designed for those living within 10 miles of a beach. It offers anti-corrosion protection that is added into the warranty separate from all other models. With Coleman, you get this option on all models as a standard option.
Where Coleman is better is in the durability and high efficiency. Heil’s best model comes in at 18 SEER and 9 HSPF, where Coleman has a few options that match or beat those numbers. Coleman also has a better warranty (provided you register the purchase).
Heil isn’t a bad option, though. If you are upgrading from an older central air system and still want a decent return for your investment, Heil is optimal. They offer a 10-year flat warranty and are relatively inexpensive to install compared to most other brands.
Coleman Vs Tempstar Heat Pump
With Tempstar heat pumps, you get the same quality, options, warranty, and durability as you do with Heil. That is because they are essentially the same. Tempstar is manufactured, produced, and sold along with Heil, only shipping to the opposite coast.
It will depend on where you live whether your dealer carries Heil or Tempstar, and this is the only difference. AS with Heil, Coleman has fewer model choices but offers a better warranty, higher durability, and the top-end Echelon models are far superior in almost every way.
Coleman Vs Rheem Heat Pump
With Rheem heat pumps, Coleman has major competition. Rheem offers six models as well, and their top-end has great efficiency ratings, too. What you get with Rheem is a slightly lower cost compared to Coleman, and they have variable speed compressors, three-stage and dual-stage compressors, as well as their single-stage models.
Coleman has a variable speed compressor model, too, and a couple of two-stage options. However, Coleman does not have a three-stage option. Overall, though, Coleman has higher SEER and HSPF ratios and costs a little less to install thanks to their Charge View that allows installers to fill and charge the system much faster.
The warranty process is a little different. With Coleman, registration is optional, but recommended. If you do not register, you get a 5-year parts, 10-year compressor warranty.
With registration, you get a 10-year parts and lifetime warranty. Rheem gives you 10-year parts and 10-year replacement warranty only, but you must register for the warranty to start at all.
Am I Eligible For A HVAC Tax Rebate?
The federal tax rebate program gives you an incentive to buy and install a highly efficient heat pump (or any HVAC system). With the program, homeowners who install a qualifying system before December 31st, 2021, will receive a $300 tax credit.
To qualify, you must be the homeowner and live in the home of install. Rental properties and new construction do not qualify. On top of that, you must also meet the following system requirements.
- The split systems must be a minimum 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF with a combined 12.5 EER.
- Packaged systems must be a minimum of 14 SEER and 8 HSPF with a combined 12 EER.
- Unit must be purchased after January 1st, 2017.
- Unit must be installed before December 31st, 2021.
- Tax form 5695 must be filed with all relevant information included.
If you meet all of the requirements, you can get a $300 tax credit on your next filing session.
How To Choose a Reliable HVAC Contractor
Finding a licensed and reliable contractor to perform the installation can be a major headache. Unless you know someone in the business, it can be hard to trust a stranger. To help with that, we use a company called Networx.
With Networx, you put your information into the form, and within 24 hours, you receive an email with up to four reputable contractors in your local area. These contractors are fully licensed, vetted, checked, reviewed, and rated.
The local results are within a small radius of your zip code, so you don’t have to work with a company that doesn’t have to travel to find you. Not only that but all of the background checks and reviews are already done for you.
When value, reliability, and cost matter (as it does with heat pump installation), our professional locator tool is a huge relief, easy to use and a big step of your system simplified.
Troubleshooting Tips & FAQs
In this section, we will review some common questions about heat pumps and offer troubleshooting tips (or when to call a professional) for Coleman heat pumps.
How do you use Coleman heat pump wiring diagram?
Most heat pumps work in the same way but wiring diagrams aren’t the easiest things in the world to read. There are a lot of electrical components, and many of them are connected to more than one other component through wiring.
When you look at the wiring diagram, the lines are straight, and components are not shown in actual location, size, or shape. Most of the time, you have a simple black line drawing with squares and lines. To read a wiring diagram easiest, you need to first find the component on the chart.
From there, you follow the lines to the next component.
Matching the component in the system will allow you to then follow the wires to the next component and match the wires needed for your repair. It is a lot of reading, searching, tracing wires, and finding the right components.
Coleman Heat Pump Replacement Parts
To find replacement parts, you need to know your model and serial number listed on your specific unit. You can search online through 3rd party sites like Amazon. As long as you know the part name and your model and serial numbers, you should get a perfect fit replacement part.
For those that are more unsure, it is best to contact the contractor that installed the unit. They can use their records to find your model and part list and order direct from the manufacturer. Not only will they ensure you get the right part, but they can perform the replacement for you, saving you time and effort during the process.
Coleman Heat Pump Trips Breaker or Freezes Up
When your system starts tripping breakers, it can be a sign of many things. The most common reason is a compressor that is drawing too much power. However, the reason for the extensive power draw can also be related to multiple things.
Unfortunately, unless you have the training and testing tools, there isn’t much for you to check. What you can check, though, is airflow. Inspect your coils, vents, and, most importantly, the air filter. If there is any clogging, dirt, or debris build-up, you want to clean the coils, vacuum the vents or replace the air filter.
If this doesn’t fix the problem, it is time to call a pro.
If you notice that the system is icing over, it is a sign of improper airflow or low refrigerant. As before, you want to check and clean or replace the coils, vents, and air filter. If the system still ices up, low refrigerant is most likely the culprit.
A licensed professional is needed to identify and repair the leak and refill the refrigerant to proper levels.
Coleman Heat Pump Blower Doesn’t Run
When the airflow is not powerful enough (or moving at all), the blower fan in the evaporator unit is to blame. However, what is causing the issue can be multiple things—anything from a bad capacitor to a burnt or corroded wire or even a worn fan motor.
Inspection can be dangerous as testing a live system requires working around 240 volts of electricity. If you aren’t comfortable with this or don’t have the proper testing tools, you should call a professional to locate and repair the issue.
How do I reset my Coleman Heat pump?
Unlike the central air conditioner or furnace, a Coleman heat pump does not have a reset switch. This means you need to perform a power cycling session. Begin by turning the system off at the thermostat.
Next, you want to find the breakers in your circuit panel that power the system (usually two). Turn both breakers off and wait at least 3 minutes.
Once you turn the breakers back on, restore operational power and function at the thermostat. Note that this process will reset the heat pump condenser unit, which can take up to 10 minutes to come back on.
At what temperature is a heat pump not effective?
Coleman heat pumps begin to lose efficiency at temperatures around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They become mostly inefficient and in need of supplemental heat sources to warm your home when the temperature drops below 20 degrees. See more on the differences between heat pumps and AC units in this article.
Coleman heat pumps, reviewed, rated and compared here for you, are an option for many. The units are durable, reliable, and easy to install. What makes Coleman a great choice is the extended warranty protection you get from registering your purchase.
While the top-end models are a bit more expensive, they offer you the highest efficiency and multiple control options. For the lower-end models, you don’t get the benefit of wireless communications and special features, but you can save thousands on initial purchase pricing.
Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)