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How Much Does a Mini Split Air Conditioner Cost?

Installing a mini split air conditioner can be a cost-effective solution for cooling specific areas of your home or office. But how much does it really cost? In this article, we will explore the different...

Installing a mini split air conditioner can be a cost-effective solution for cooling specific areas of your home or office. But how much does it really cost? In this article, we will explore the different factors that determine the cost of a mini split AC unit installation and provide you with a comprehensive overview of the prices involved.

MiniSplit AC Unit Installation Costs

Single zone mini split ACs and heat pumps are commonly used in room additions or in spaces far from the central HVAC system. On the other hand, multizone mini split systems are usually installed in new constructions or when replacing a central HVAC system that requires ductwork replacement.

It's worth mentioning that if you have ductwork in good condition, you might be able to save money by only replacing the AC unit and evaporator coil. However, if you opt for a complete mini split system, the average installed cost for a single zone unit ranges from $6,670, depending on the size and complexity of the installation.

For a 3-5 zone system, the average cost ranges from $10,650 to $19,450. This cost variation is primarily influenced by the size and type of indoor units you choose, with wall-mounted units being the most affordable and ceiling-mounted units being the most expensive.

The installed cost of a single zone system typically includes the complete MiniSplit AC unit, refrigerant lineset, wiring, drain, and all necessary installation supplies. Additionally, an HVAC company will handle permits, inspections, and clean up the work area.

mini split ac unit mounted on indoor wall Image: Wall-mounted mini split AC unit

Overview of Ductless MiniSplit Air Conditioner Systems

Ductless mini split systems are available in single zone and multi-zone configurations. Single zone systems are designed to cool smaller areas, while multi-zone systems are heat pump systems that consist of a single outdoor unit and multiple indoor air units.

When considering a multi-zone system, it's recommended to also explore complete central AC systems or geothermal heat pump systems to compare prices and maximize energy efficiency. Additionally, if you have limited indoor space, packaged heat pump costs are worth considering.

Ductless mini split packages typically include outdoor and indoor units, as well as a thermostat remote control or wall control. Installation supplies, such as refrigerant line sets, drains, wiring, and electrical connections, are sold separately.

There are three main variables to consider when choosing a ductless mini split system: capacity, configuration, and cost. The outdoor units range from 9,000 to 42,000 BTUs, and the indoor units must match the total capacity of the outdoor unit. The cost of multizone systems is generally higher due to the added labor involved in installing multiple indoor units.

Indoor unit options include wall-mounted, ducted, suspended, and concealed ceiling-mounted units. It's important to note that ducted indoor units are self-contained ducts and not traditionally ducted units.

Cost Factors for Mini Split AC

Several factors determine the overall cost of a mini split AC unit installation:

  • Outdoor Unit Size: Ductless AC condensing units range from 9,000 to 42,000 BTUs.
  • Number of Indoor Units: While single-zone systems are common, multizone systems can be individually configured, with material and labor costs increasing with each additional indoor unit.
  • Type of Indoor Unit: Wall-mounted, ceiling suspended, ducted, and ceiling cassette units have different costs, with wall-mounted units being the most affordable and ceiling cassette units being the most expensive.
  • Efficiency: The SEER rating ranges from 14 to 40 SEER, and higher efficiency units generally come at a higher cost.
  • Brand Quality: Premium brands like Samsung, Mitsubishi, and Trane tend to cost more than standard-quality brands.
  • Removal and Disposal of Old Equipment: Typically included in estimates, but DIY removal can help save money.
  • Cost of Living: Prices can vary based on the location and cost of living in the area.
  • Installation Location: Factors such as installation on higher floors or on challenging surfaces can affect the cost.

new minisplit AC unit installed on the side of a home Image: New minisplit AC unit installed on the side of a home

Cost Breakdown of AC Equipment and Installation Supplies

As you shop for a mini split AC unit, you'll come across different price ranges for the equipment and installation supplies:

  • Wall-mounted 9,000 to 36,000 BTU single-zone systems: $1,900 - $6,600
  • Concealed duct 12,000 to 42,000 BTU single-zone systems: $3,200 - $7,600
  • Ceiling suspended 24,000 to 42,000 BTU single-zone systems: $4,400 - $7,000
  • Ceiling cassette 24,000 to 42,000 BTU single-zone systems: $5,400 - $8,500

Additionally, the overall system cost varies based on size or capacity:

  • 9,000 BTU: $1,900 - $4,100
  • 12,000 BTU: $2,200 - $4,300
  • 18,000 BTU: $2,450 - $4,700
  • 24,000 BTU: $2,600 - $5,500
  • 30,000 BTU: $2,900 - $6,400
  • 36,000 BTU: $3,150 - $7,400
  • 42,000 BTU: $3,450 - $8,500

Installation supplies such as wiring, drain tubes, and electrical connections usually range from $175 to $800, depending on the specific requirements of your installation.

Permits, Inspection, and Installation Labor Costs

When it comes to permits and inspections, expect to pay around $50 to $200 for an electrical permit.

The cost of installation labor varies depending on the complexity of the job:

  • Single-zone air conditioner installation: $1,050 - $2,300 for one outdoor unit and one indoor unit
  • Additional indoor unit installation: $350 - $800 per unit

Installation costs can be influenced by factors such as installation difficulty, time of year, and the skill level of the installer. It's essential to consider these factors when planning your mini split AC unit installation.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

If you're considering a mini split AC unit installation, you have two options:

  • DIY-Ready: Some brands offer units that are pre-charged with refrigerant and designed for DIY installation. However, it's crucial to ensure you purchase a DIY system if you plan to install it yourself.
  • DIY-Prohibited: Most mini split systems require installation by a certified contractor with a refrigerant handling license. DIY installation without proper certification can void the manufacturer warranty. However, it's possible to find contractors willing to work with you on a DIY-prohibited system during their slow season.

In conclusion, a mini split AC unit can provide efficient cooling for specific areas of your home or office. By considering the various cost factors and options available, you can make an informed decision about the best solution for your cooling needs.

Related Projects

If you're interested in installing a mini split AC unit, you may also find the following projects related and worth exploring:

  • Proper insulation and air sealing
  • Upgrading your existing central HVAC system
  • Exploring geothermal heat pump systems

Remember to consult with a certified contractor and gather multiple estimates before making a final decision.

So, whether you prefer to hire a professional or embark on a DIY project, a mini split AC unit can provide the comfort and efficiency you desire. Happy cooling!