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What Is The Average Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Cost?

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National Mini-Split Air Conditioner Costs

$300 per unit Minimum Cost
$4,000 per unit Maximum Cost

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What Is The Average Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Cost?

A mini split air conditioning system is great option for homeowners who do not have the necessary ductwork to service a central air conditioning system. A mini split AC system does not require any ducts, yet can still effectively cool multiple areas of the home.

See all the specifics and the costs that go into a mini split unit below. Once you’re ready to install, we can help you find an HVAC contractor in your area!

Table of Contents

  1. Mini Split System Cost
  2. Split Unit AC Cost Considerations
  3. Ductless Air Conditioner Cost FAQs
  4. How Does the Cost Compare to Traditional AC?
  5. Advantages of Mini Split System
  6. Disadvantages of Mini Split System
  7. Ductless AC Vs. Central AC
  8. Mini Split AC System Types
  9. How Mini Splits Work
  10. BTUs
  11. Where Can You Install Mini Splits?
  12. Mini Split Unit AC Brands
  13. How to Install A Mini Split AC System
  14. Find An HVAC Contractor

Mini Split System Cost

Minimum Price

Maximum Price

Material Cost

$300

$4,000

Installation Cost

$200

$1,000

Total Cost

$500

$5,000

  • The average cost to install a mini split air conditioning system is $2,500.
  • The maximum average cost to install a mini split air conditioning system is $5,000.
  • The minimum average cost for mini split air conditioner installation is $500.

Split Unit AC Cost Considerations

Homeowners thinking about installing a split AC system, or ductless air conditioning system, in their homes should be aware of all the costs associated with such an installation. After all, it’s necessary not only to purchase the split AC unit itself, but to have it installed by a trained and qualified HVAC professional. Unlike a simple window unit, there are a few specific connections that must be made between the condenser and the evaporators to ensure the system runs properly. Furthermore, proper insulating must be done to maximize energy efficiency.

When hiring an HVAC company or contractor for mini split AC installation, there are some specific factors that must be taken into account. The split unit AC cost ranges between $700 and $2,000. Beyond that, however, there are of course labor costs associated with any mini split installation.

Depending on the amount of time it takes to install the unit and the number of evaporators being installed with it, labor can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 and usually takes around 10 hours. Finally, there is also the cost of the materials needed to properly install and insulate the AC unit, such as tubes and insulation. Homeowners should expect to spend around $40 to $50 on these materials altogether.

Researching and gathering quotes from various HVAC companies is key. Furthermore, having the installation done in the fall or winter can yield lower costs, as HVAC companies tend to be less busy. Homeowners should also be on the lookout for special promotions and discounts, such as free installation or discounted labor.

The ductless mini split installation cost is not much. See how to reduce your ductless AC cost.

Ductless Air Conditioner Cost FAQs

Split air conditioner costs are only part of your overall HVAC equation. There are plenty of factors that go into your buying decision besides price. As such, see some of the most searched questions and answers surrounding mini split AC systems:

How Much Does A Split Air Conditioner Cost?

The average cost to install a mini split air conditioning system is $2,500.

How Much Does It Cost to Install A 2.5 Ton AC Unit?

The cost to install a 2.5 ton AC unit will range between $3,000 and $4,000.

How Expensive is Ductless Air Conditioning?

Mini split AC units can cost 30% more to run than a central air conditioning unit.

Are Ductless Air Conditioners Noisy?

Ductless air conditioners are less noisy than standard air conditioners, but noise levels are comparable.

How Many Years Does A Mini Split Air Conditioner Last?

With proper maintenance, mini split air conditioners can last up to 15 years.

Are Mini Splits Good for Heating?

Mini splits are good for heating homes as well.

How Does The Cost Compare To Traditional AC Systems?

While a split AC unit may not cool a room like a heat pump or traditional system, it does provide the necessary coolness we all need. Fortunately, when comparing the average installation costs, you’ll understand why some homeowners choose mini split AC systems.

In addition, if you don’t have ductwork in place, you would have to install it. According to our duct installation cost estimator, that will add roughly $1,000 to your total installation cost.

If you have ductwork in place and are considering a traditional air conditioner, see the cost of the just the unit below:

Area To Be Cooled (SF)

Unit Size

Capacity (BTUs Per Hour)

Split Unit AC Cost Installed

700 - 1,000

1.5 Tons

18,000

$2,000 - $3,000

1,000 - 1,200

1.5 or 2 Tons

21,000

$2,000 - $3,300

1,200 - 1,400

2 Tons

23,000

$3,000 - $3,500

1,400 - 1,500

2 – 2.5 Tons

24,000

$3,000 - $3,500

1,500 - 2,000

2.5 Tons

30,000

$3,000 - $4,000

2,000 - 2,500

3 Tons

34,000

$3,500 - $4,000

3,000 – 4,000

4 Tons

48,000

$3,500 - $5,000

5,000+

5 Tons

60,000

$3,500 - $6,000

Ductless mini split costs are less than traditional air conditioners. See the full split system HVAC cost.

Advantages Of Mini Split System

Homeowners who do not have ductwork in their homes and are considering a mini split air conditioning system should weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of a split unit AC.

One of the largest advantages of installing a mini split AC system is the fact that there is no need to retrofit an existing home with the appropriate duct and ventilation work, which can cost thousands of dollars. Furthermore, since these ductless AC systems do not require much complex wiring or tubing, they tend to take less time to install, lowering the average cost to install a mini split AC system.

Another great aspect of a split air conditioner is the fact that they can be customized to the home. For example, one condenser may have as many as four evaporators connected to it, all of which can serve different rooms around the home. These evaporators can be independently controlled, which is great for keeping electric costs down. For example, if a homeowner wants to cool just one room in the home, all you have to do is shut off the evaporators to the rest of the home.

Finally, unlike a window AC unit, most mini splits are mounted on the ceiling and do not need to be exposed through a window to the home's exterior. This creates an increased sense of security for homeowners as break-ins through window units are sadly quite common.

Disadvantages Of Mini Split System

Of course, mini split AC systems do not come without their potential drawbacks. For starters, these units are not nearly as energy efficient as a forced-air system like central AC. In fact, according to Energy.gov, mini split AC units can cost 30% more to run than a central air conditioning unit.

Furthermore, not all homes are well suited for mini split air conditioning systems. It will take a qualified HVAC contractor to come out to a home, assess the space and determine whether or not such a system can be installed. Finally, some homeowners are also unhappy about the space requirements of the split AC system, as well as the increased maintenance.

Ductless AC Vs. Central AC

If you have ductwork in place, it pays to compare the pros and cons of mini split units to central air conditioning units.

Ductless AC units

  • Mini split systems present significant savings if you do not have ducts in place.
  • Mini split systems are easier to install than central AC units.
  • Mini splits can provide both AC and heat.
  • Ductless air conditioners are more energy efficient than central AC units.
  • Some people think min split AC units are ugly and take away from the interior design.

Central AC

  • For the most accurate cooling throughout the home, central AC is the way to go.
  • If you do not have ductwork in place, your total installation cost will be very high.
  • The system can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance.
  • Central air conditioners are less expensive to run after installation.

Split unit AC costs range, but you can lower your split AC installation cost. See how.

Mini Split AC System Types

When choosing a mini split AC system, homeowners need to decide which unit is best for them. In general, there are two common types of mini splits:

  • Single Zone
  • Multiple Zone 

Single zone units are less expensive, but are generally only used to cool one area of the home. These are ideal for smaller spaces such as studio apartments. However, multiple zone units are designed to cool several spaces within a home. These also tend to be more expensive, as the capacity for these systems must be higher and more powerful.

How Mini Splits Work

Like other air conditioning systems, mini split AC systems move hot and cold air where you need it. In the summer, your mini split evaporator will remove the heat inside your house, transport it to you condenser and release it outside. In the winter, the system can reverse the process and bring cold air outside.

Furthermore, mini splits are also great for moving cold or hot air from one room to the other. Therefore, if your basement is cold (which they tend to be) and you’re sleeping in your bedroom, the mini split can take that cold air from the basement and move it upstairs.

BTUs

Like other AC systems, the capacity of mini splits is based on its BTU and SEER rating. Both help determine the strength of airflow. A single unit should be rated at 24,000 BTU with a SEER of at least 17. To determine what system you need, please see our AC Unit Installation Cost Guide.

Where Can You Install Mini Splits?

The location of your mini split AC system must be considered before purchase. Luckily, you can install your mini split AC system in a few different areas.

Mini splits can be attached to your ceiling or wall. High up on the wall is more common, but as time has evolved, more homeowners are disguising them in the ceiling. If you choose to install your mini split AC unit in the ceiling, you can have it suspended, recessed or concealed. As you might imagine, recessed or concealed units are very popular for smaller units. The less noise in the room, the larger it will feel.

The cost to install ductless AC should not exceed $3,000. See how to install a mini split.

Mini Split Unit AC Brands

As you search for the best ductless air conditioner, you’ll find a few popular appliance brands pop up. Beyond price, look at reviews, reputation, installation procedure and warranties when determining who to buy from. Start with the list below as these are the most well-liked brands for mini split systems:

  1. Mitsubishi
  2. Friedrich
  3. Lennox
  4. Pioneer
  5. Samsung
  6. LG
  7. Senville

How To Install A Mini Split AC System

While a mini split installation is not easy for the common homeowner, it is possible. Luckily, it’s much like installing a heat pump, which we outlined in How To Install A Heat Pump.

  1. Install the condenser
  2. Add evaporator mount
  3. Mount the evaporator
  4. Connect the evaporator to the condenser
  5. Cover the lines
  6. Make final connections

If you’re installing a recessed or concealed unit, consult a local HVAC pro. This project includes extra drywall and electrical expertise.

Find An HVAC Contractor

Mini split AC systems can be a viable option for homeowners who do not have extensive ductwork done in their homes, but still want to enjoy a comfortable living space.

If you’re in need of an inexpensive mini split system, let us connect you with up to four HVAC contractors in your area.

Get free estimates from local mini-split air conditioner contractors

Last updated on Nov 8, 2018

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