Ductless AC systems offer a reliable and energy-efficient alternative to the traditional ducted systems that cool many homes. These units, commonly called mini-splits, are often considered the superior options, but the elevated initial investment can be daunting for some homeowners when considering their HVAC options.
So, how much does it cost to install ductless AC? Ductless installation costs can range between $6,475 to $13,051. The price difference depends on the following factors, some of which you can control if you need to adjust the price to fix your budget:
- Size & number of rooms you want cooled
- Efficiency rating & energy cost savings
- Feature upgrades & installation considerations
- The HVAC contractor you hire
Size & Number of Rooms You Want Cooled
The size and number of rooms you want to be cooled significantly impact the price of your installation for a few reasons.
First, units with greater output are more expensive to purchase, and you may need more of them to cover the cooling needs of your home. Like window units, mini-splits are rated to cover a specific amount of space without overworking the system. If you have large rooms, you may require wall units with higher British Thermal Units (BTU). This measurement refers to the amount of heat the air conditioner will remove from the room each hour.
Also, the outdoor compressor you choose will have a maximum number of wall units it can run, typically up to 4, and the options that offer additional connections will cost more. If your home has several rooms without an open floor plan for optimal airflow, you’ll need additional wall units to prevent hot rooms.
Along with the impact of the purchase price of your system, needing more zones will also increase the labor needed for installation, adding more to your final installation costs. The best way to determine your ductless AC needs and the time it will take to install is to contact a licensed HVAC contractor, like the Cooper Green Team, for a home comfort assessment.
Efficiency Rating & Energy Cost Savings
If saving money and energy efficiency is your goal, the cost to install ductless AC will go up for systems that have a higher SEER rating. The SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, is generated by dividing a system’s cooling output by its energy consumption. This rating is used to determine a ductless AC system’s overall efficiency. Although having a higher-rated system will cost more during installation, it will also substantially reduce energy consumption, lowering your energy bills. Over time, these systems often pay for themselves.
Feature Upgrades & Installation Considerations
Mini-split systems come with various features, so your ductless AC installation cost will be affected by any upgrades you want.
For instance, some mini splits come with a heat pump, allowing the system to provide both cooling and heating functionalities. Additionally, manufacturers have recognized the convenience of remote operation, offering Wi-Fi connectivity options that enable control through smartphone apps. Advanced dehumidification capabilities are available in certain systems, and if noise level matters to you, you can opt for a system with a quieter motor.
Specific installation situations will also drive up the price you pay. If you live in an older home and want a system that isn’t supported by your current electrical setup, you may need an upgrade. Having zones that are spaced far apart or that include an upper floor will require additional components and refrigerant lines and may need a second outdoor compressor to cover everything. If you already have a ducted AC system that you’re replacing with mini-splits, your installation costs may also include the removal of the old system.
Higher-priced systems often come with better warranties than bargain brands.
Manufacturers that stand by their product are usually willing to guarantee its performance because they’ve put the time and money into developing a strong system that has been thoroughly tested. Access to these superior warranties ensures you don’t have to worry about paying for repairs on a new system.
The HVAC Contractor You Hire
The final component that impacts your installation costs is your chosen HVAC contractor. While some HVAC companies may offer lower prices to put in your mini-split system, this may not always mean they are the best option. If the system you choose has a strong warranty, you may not be eligible to benefit from it unless the professionals installing your units have completed dealer training from the manufacturer. The set or hourly labor costs will also vary between companies. A team that charges more per hour but guarantees the installation will be done in half the time of the cheaper option will actually save you some money overall. Contractors like Cooper who are willing to assist you with any rebates or tax credits you might be eligible for after your installation is complete. Even if the initial installation is slightly higher, the money you save might be worth it.
Want to speak with an expert about whether a ductless AC system is the right choice for your home?
The highly trained technicians at Cooper Heating and Cooling can assess your needs and recommend your desired HVAC system. We’ve been helping homeowners with their HVAC needs for over 40 years, and we offer 1‑year renewable warranties on all our installations. Call us today or click below to get started with a free estimate.