Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Cost

How much does it cost to install a ductless air conditioning?

Any ductless air condition installation is going to demand a qualified installer. Generally, it is the same company selling the equipment as it is installing it, though some homeowners may be able to seek out quotes from several contractors before making their decision. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America can usually direct an interested consumer to licensed and qualified HVAC professionals in their region or area.

For this discussion, we will consider the costs of installing a ductless or "split" air conditioning system in a 2,000 square foot home. ACDirect.com puts the average price for the equipment and installation of a system sized appropriately for the cooling needs of a home of this size at $2500-$7000. This would include the outdoor condensing unit and the air handlers as well as the necessary lines, but does not differentiate between single, double, triple or quad zone systems. Generally, the costs and performance of such systems are as follows:

  • Single - BTU at 24K, an above average SEER rating of 17 or higher, and a price of $1800 for the equipment;
  • Double - BTU at 18k, an above average SEER rating of 16 or higher, and a price of roughly $2500 for the equipment alone;
  • Triple - BTU at 24K, an above average SEER rating of 16.2 or higher, and a price of $3000 for the equipment; and
  • Quad - BTU of 24K, a SEER rating of 16.5 or higher, and a cost of $3200 or more.

Additional considerations and costs

Additionally, the costs given do not include such things as the addition of heating functions and lines, the removal of old HVAC equipment, and the managing of existing ductwork that is no longer required. These would vary from project to project, but must be taken into consideration when developing the budget.

To install a one to four room system begins with the creation of an opening in the exterior wall of the home, and the running of refrigerant and electrical lines into the rooms in which the wall or ceiling air handlers will be installed. This running of the lines is where the bulk of the labor will focus. Installers may increase costs if attic or basement space is very difficult to work in, or if special efforts must be made to get supply lines to the area of the rooms in which the air handlers will be mounted. The air handlers are mounted high on a wall or in the ceiling per the choice of the homeowner, and there are no costs differences in equipment selection.

Additional costs and materials associated with this project include:

  • Poured concrete pad for outdoor condenser - This is a nominal expense as it will not even use a single yard of concrete, and total costs will not exceed $75;
  • Creating an opening in exterior wall - This will vary widely due to the many different materials from which homes are constructed. For instance, a home with wood framing, plywood, and vinyl or metal siding will be far less difficult to handle than one made of stucco or logs. The average carpenter will charge between $20 and $35 per hour, and this might be a smart way to go if the exterior is delicate (like stucco). Many ductless air conditioning installers will include such work in their estimates, but you should ask about their experience with the exterior work if you have concerns about any problems arising. It should take no more than two to three hours to make the 3" diameter opening through which all of the lines are inserted.
  • Upgrading and installing electrical supplies adequate to the needs of the system:
  • Electrical wiring to code - Electricians assisting in a ductless air conditioner project will charge from $75-$250 per hour for the installation of a 220 volt receptacle. Additionally, it might cost a bit more if the home's electrical panel also needs a 220 volt circuit added to it, which can cost between $300 and $800.