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How Much Does It Cost To Install A Ductless Mini-split Ac System?

Typical Range: $2,000 - $14,500

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Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Costs

A ductless mini-split air conditioning system costs $2,000 to $14,500 with an average of $3,000 for a 12,000 BTUs system. A one-ton unit with one outdoor and one indoor component at 21 SEER rating runs $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the brand and type of indoor mount. Labor costs an additional $300 to $1,000 or more depending on the complexity of the installation.

Ductless systems run about 30 percent more than a new ducted system and nearly twice as much as a standalone window AC. You'll also need to install a concrete pad to mount the exterior unit for an additional $75 to $150 and a dedicated electrical circuit for $250. Older homes may require an upgraded electrical panel costing an average of $1,100.

Average Ductless AC Installation Costs

Average Cost$4,000
High Cost$14,500
Low Cost$2,000
*For a 12,000 BTU system.

A ductless air conditioning system, more commonly called a mini-split or multi-split, provides zoned air conditioning to your home without bulky window units or needing to install ductwork where none exists.

The system is composed of three parts; the outdoor condenser unit, one to five indoor wall or ceiling mounted air handling units and refrigerant coolant lines to connect them through a 3 inch hole in the wall. Installation requires a small concrete pad in an unobtrusive outdoor spot to place the exterior condenser unit while indoor units are attached to walls or ceilings.

Ductless Split AC System Prices

Most systems come as a kit for $1,000 to $8,500. But you can also purchase each part individually for a completely customized solution.

Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioning Component Prices
Outdoor Unit$1,000-$5,500
Indoor Wall Mount$400-$1,000
Indoor Ceiling Mount$700-$1,800
Indoor Ceiling Cassette*$500-$1,700
Installation Accessory Kit
(lines, wires, sleeves, box and drain tubes)
Refrigerant Lines$5 per foot

*Indoor ceiling cassettes are recess mounted units that fit flush with the ceiling. Much like recessed lighting, they fit between ceiling joists.

Single vs. Multi-Zone Systems

A ductless system comes with at least one indoor unit. For each additional unit, you'll spend between $400 and $1,000. The main benefit of a multizone mini-split is the ability to run multiple cooling areas in your home. You can have up to five indoor units for every outdoor condenser. Multizone systems are sometimes referred to as multi-splits rather than mini-splits.

The more indoor units you have, the larger and more powerful your outdoor condenser needs to be which means more cost. The exact price will vary greatly between systems.

Mitsubishi AC Prices vs. Panasonic, Frigidaire, Daikin and Other Top Brands

There are dozens of brands to choose from. Well known AC-only brands include Mitsubishi and their extremely efficient "Mr. Slim" line with up to a 30.5 SEER rating, Daikin and Panasonic.

Trane, Fujitsu, LG, Amana, Bosch, Carrier and other major brands sell a mini-split heat pump unit that both heats and cools for much less than a traditional heat pump costs. Read our guide on ductless heat pump costs for in-depth information.

Ductless AC Brand Costs
Mitsubishi$1,200-$8,6501-5 zone options
Daikin$1,000-$1,700Budget models
Single zone
Panasonic$1,700-$2,800Single zone
Frigidaire$1,000-$1,400Single zone
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Average Mini-Split Installation & Labor Costs

Professional HVAC installation runs $300 to $1,500 though a typical installation will cost around $500. Systems with complex installations and multiple indoor units can exceed $2,000. You may also need an electrician and carpenter.

Electrician: $50 to $100 per hour. $200 to $500 total. If you don't have a dedicated 110- or 220-volt circuit with a box for the outdoor unit to hook up to, you'll need to get one installed.

Carpenter: $25 to $50 per hour plus trip fees. $200 to $300 total. Siding that is hard to work with like stucco, cement board and logs may require a carpenter to cut and finish the 3" hole necessary for line pass through.

Price Factors for Installation

Labor costs are going to vary by your location - always get at least three quotes. The location of the indoor units and accessibility can affect labor times. It takes about 5 to 10 hours of labor to install a single or double zone system.

  • Location -- if you're installing a system on a second or third floor, you'll need extra conduit, refrigerant lines and wiring. You'll pay an additional $10 to $20 per foot for materials and expect an additional 1 to 2 hours of labor.
  • Accessibility -- While this can affect labor rates, you'll have to check with your professional for specific price increases. Hard to access areas can increase the amount of time it takes to run the lines.
  • Permitting -- You usually do not need a permit for this type of work. Your professional will know if your city or state requires any permits. If you live under HOA guidelines, always check with them prior to starting any exterior project.

Zone Cost Factors

Each additional indoor unit can increase labor rates by an additional $300 to $1,000. Each unit requires electrical and refrigerant lines run inside conduit attached to the exterior wall of the home.

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Pros, Cons & Costs of Ductless Air Conditioning vs. Central Air

Installing central ac costs an average of $5,400. Ductless air conditioning costs up to 50 percent less. It's an extremely flexible option for remodels and older homes without ducts already in place. If you have ductwork already installed, adding a central air unit is often the more economical option. It will depend heavily on the age and quality of your ductwork and how large of a home you have.

If you already have central air, consider a mini-split hybrid solution for cooling problem areas and rooms in your home. Your home's layout plays a significant role in which system is best for you. Talk to an HVAC professional and consider the pros and cons to each type before deciding.

Ductless vs. Central AC: Pros and Cons
Ductless Mini-SplitCentral AC
  • $1,900-$4,000 for an 1,800 square foot home.
  • Flexible placement options.
  • No major construction needed.
  • Work great with central air.
  • Fast installation.
  • Even cooling.
  • Whole house humidifier options.
  • Air quality filtration options.
  • Invisible once installed.
  • Possible uneven cooling.
  • Visible wall or ceiling mounted units.
  • Doesn't improve air quality.
  • $3,700-$7,000 for an 1,800 square foot home.
  • Limited temperature control.
  • Adding ducts is expensive, potentially doubling your overall installation budget.
  • Annual duct cleaning costs of $350.


What is the lowest priced ductless mini-split AC unit?

The lowest priced mini-split, cooling-only air conditioner is the Daikin 9K BTU 19-series wall mounted system for $1,000. It's possible to find cheaper combo units like the Senville 9K BTU LETO series heating and cooling unit for $650 or the LG 9K heating and cooling wall mounted system for $875.

What is a SEER rating?

SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, has a lot to do with cost. The more efficient the unit, the higher the SEER rating. The higher ratings translate into lower energy costs but also higher unit prices. These ratings vary from the federally regulated minimum of 13 up to 26+. Trane heat pump mini-splits have ratings as high as 38.

Which HVAC mini-split unit is best for cooling? Heat pump vs. air conditioner

Both ductless air conditioner and mini-split heat pump are equally good at cooling. The only difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is the heat pump can reverse itself and heat the home. It has no effect on its ability to cool. See our air conditioning vs. heat pump guide for more information.

How do I calculate the mini-split unit size I need in my room or house?

The best way to calculate the size of the mini-split unit you need for your room or house is to call in an HVAC pro who will conduct a heat load calculation. For a rough estimate, calculate about 17 to 24 BTUs per square foot. Things like kitchen space, number of people in the home, quality of insulation and amount of direct sunlight all play a role in cooling requirements.

How much does a mini-split system cost to operate?

A mini-split system operating costs will vary by area, size of home, insulation, climate and external temperatures. It is typically anywhere from 20% to 60% more efficient than central air conditioning. For truly green air conditioning, consider reinsulating your attic, upgrading your windows and sealing your home.

Can I DIY install or should I hire an HVAC contractor?

While it is possible to install a mini-split ductless system yourself, it's always a better idea to hire an HVAC installer. Professionals can determine the exact cooling needs of your home. Even if you plan to install your own, talk to a mini-split dealer for exact sizing requirements for your home.

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