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Ductless Air Conditioner Cost

Ductless Air Conditioner Cost

National average
$6,000
(4-zone, wall-mounted unit with moderate access)
Low: $1,300

(single-zone wall-mounted unit with good access)

High: $16,000

(8-zone concealed duct system with moderate access)

Cost to install a ductless air conditioning varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors in your city.

The average cost to install a ductless air conditioning is $3,150 - $14,000​.

In this guide

Mini Split System Costs by Type
Multi-zone vs Single-zone Mini Split
Mini Split Installation
Labor Costs to Install Ductless Ac
Mini Split Heat Pump Btu Calculator
How Much Electricity Does a Mini Split Use?
Mini Split Cost Factors
Mini Split vs Central Air Conditioning Costs
Multi-split Air Conditioner vs Single Split
Benefits of Ductless Ac
Mini Split Ac Maintenance
Mini Split vs Heat Pump
Enhancements and Improvement Costs
Additional Considerations and Costs
FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ductless Air Conditioning?

Having air conditioning throughout your home is a great way to keep cool in the summer months. If your home does not have ducts, however, central air conditioning can be an invasive and expensive thing to install. Instead, a ductless air conditioner or mini split system could help you cool as many as 8 rooms in your home, with a less invasive installation.

There are many different types and installation styles for ductless air conditioners. In addition, they are available in various sizes. The national average range for installing a multi-zone system is between $3,150 and $14,000, with most homeowners paying around $6,000 for a system that includes 4 zones in a 2,000sq.ft. home.

Ductless Air Conditioning Installation Costs

Mini Split AC Cost
National average cost$6,000
Average range$3,150 - $14,000
Minimum cost$1,300
Maximum cost$16,000


Mini Split System Costs by Type

Ductless air conditioners or mini split systems come in several different types, depending on the location and type of installation. Each has its own attributes and cost to consider:


Mini Split System Costs

Mini split system costs by type


System TypeAverage Cost Range
Wall mount 1$700 - $3,000
Floor Standing$1,300 - $4,000
Ceiling Cassette$1,500 - $7,200
DIY Mini Split Systems$1,500 - $7,500
Ceiling Suspended$2,500 - $4,500
Concealed Duct$2,900 - $7,500
Vertical Air Handler 2$3,600 - $8,000


Wall Mount

A wall-mount system is the most common and generally the least expensive. The indoor air handler 2 is installed in the wall, usually below the ceiling, while tubes connect it to the outdoor handler, which operates the system. They cost between $700 and $3,000 on average.

Floor Standing

This is also a wall-mount system, but it is for mounting 1 close to the floor in rooms that either have low or sloped ceilings or whose windows are too high to install above them in the wall. They cost between $1,300 and $4,000 on average.

Ceiling Cassette

Like the name suggests, this system is installed on the ceiling. It provides greater airflow due to its position and does not take up any wall space, so it is good for homeowners who want their system out of sight. They cost between $1,500 and $7,200 on average.

DIY Mini Split Systems

This is a single-zone system that you install yourself, so it can save on installation costs. It requires no special tools and includes a pre-charged line set, and most also include some type of Wi-Fi set up and system connect. They cost between $1,500 and $7,500 on average but do not require professional installation.

Ceiling Suspended

This is a larger version of the ceiling cassette. It installs suspended from your ceiling, so it still gets better airflow and does not take up wall space. It is more obvious, however, coming down further from the ceiling in some instances. They cost between $2,500 and $4,500.

Concealed Duct

This is also a ceiling-mounted system that hooks up to one or more existing ducts in your home. It can, therefore, cool larger amounts of space with one unit, including multiple rooms that have ductwork and vents connected to them. They cost between $2,900 and $7,500.

Vertical Air Handler

This is a completely self-contained air conditioning unit that is generally concealed in a vertical cabinet. It is a single-zone system and does not require indoor and outdoor components, so it can make installation a little bit easier in some instances. They cost between $3,600 and $8,000 on average.

Multi-zone vs Single-zone Mini Split

Depending on the size and layout of your home, you may need a single-zone or a multi-zone system.

In a single-zone system, you have an outdoor compressor and an indoor air handler 2. The air handler 2 is made to cool only the space it is in. For open floor plans and small homes, a single zone may be enough.

If you have more than one level 3 in your home, however, or have multiple rooms to cool, a multi-zone system may be best. In this case, each outdoor compressor can handle up to 4 indoor handlers. Large homes may need two compressors and as many as 8 handlers inside.

In general, multi-zone systems cost more to purchase and install than single-zone systems. The average cost of a multi-zone system is around $7,000, while the average price of a single-zone system is about $3,500 - $4,000. The larger the system, or the more BTUs needed, the higher the cost of the system, regardless of how many zones it has.


Air conditioner blowing air


Mini Split Installation

The type of installation you need depends on how many indoor air handlers 2 you have and the kind of system you purchase. In general, installation is carried out by first installing the brackets 4 for the indoor unit and creating a hole for the tubes and refrigeration line. These are fed through the hole ahead of the unit so that they can be connected outside. The unit is hardwired to your electricity, and the indoor unit is mounted 1 and installed on its bracket 4 in the wall.

The outdoor unit is installed next, either on a roof or a pad 5 adjacent to a wall. The tubing and lines from the indoor unit are connected to the outside unit. All the wiring from the outdoor unit needs to be connected to the interior unit and electricity as well, and the outdoor unit will be placed and installed in its final location.

If you have a multi-zone system installed, the same process is carried out with the internal components, connecting each of them to the outdoor unit one at a time. The system is then tested to ensure it works properly.

While there is a DIY package available, in most cases, it is recommended to have your unit installed by a professional, particularly when connecting multiple zones or mounting 1 anywhere other than the wall.

Labor Costs to Install Ductless Ac

Labor costs for installation are calculated in several ways - the size of the system, the number of units, the placement of the system, and how difficult it is to access. In general, the labor for a multi-zone system is going to be roughly twice the cost of labor for a single-zone system. Labor for single-zone systems ranges from $800 - $2,300, depending on type and location. Labor costs for multi-zone systems range from $1,600 to $5,000, depending on the number of handlers as well as the type and location.

In general, the average cost for labor when installing a multi-zone system is around $2,500 out of the $6,000 total.

Mini Split Heat Pump Btu Calculator

When choosing the size of the system that you need to cool your home (or heat, if your system also includes a heat pump 6), determine the number of BTUs needed for the square footage. The chart below provides a basic idea of the unit size you need based on the square feet of the area you are installing it in:

BTUs NeededRoom Square Footage
6,000 BTUs150 - 250sq.ft.
7,000 BTUs250 - 300sq.ft.
8,000 BTUs300 - 350sq.ft.
9,000 BTUs350 - 400sq.ft.
10,000 BTUs400 - 450sq.ft.
12,000 BTUs450 - 550sq.ft.
14,000 BTUs550 - 700sq.ft.
18,000 BTUs700 - 1,000sq.ft.
21,000 BTUs1,000 - 1,200sq.ft.
23,000 BTUs1,200 - 1,400sq.ft.
24,000 BTUs1,500+sq.ft.


How Much Electricity Does a Mini Split Use?

The amount of electricity that your system uses varies depending on location, size of your home, unit size, how often it runs, and how much insulation your home has.

In general, ductless systems are between 20% and 60% more efficient at cooling your home than central air conditioning, which can save you in the long term. To lower your costs even more, consider adding additional insulation to your attic.


Small living room with air conditioning, wood cabinet, and flat TV


Mini Split Cost Factors

Many factors go into determining the cost of your mini split system. This includes the system type, number of air handlers 2 or zones, system size, and installation complexity. Even the brand of the unit influences the total cost, as can purchasing more efficient units that use less energy to cool your home. The area that you live in also plays a role, with some states having higher or lower installation costs for this type of system.

Mini Split vs Central Air Conditioning Costs

When comparing the costs of a ductless mini split system and central air conditioning, you need to consider a few factors. If your home does not already have ducts installed, you can have a mini split installed for around $5,000 - $7,000 on average for a 2,000 sq.ft. home, assuming you require 4 zones.

To have central air conditioning installed for the same-size home, you would have the same costs for the system plus an additional $1,800 - $3,330 or more for the ducts, making your total closer to $6,800 to $10,330 for central air conditioning.

In a home that already has ducts installed, costs are often more similar. In some cases, the price of a central air conditioner may actually be less money because you do not need multiple units to handle the various zones.

Multi-split Air Conditioner vs Single Split

Single-split air conditioners and multi-split air conditioners operate in the same way. They utilize heat pumps 6 to push the hot air out of your home to the refrigerator coils where the hot air is condensed, cooled, and returned to your home.

The biggest difference is that in a single-split, you use a single thermostat 7 to control the system, while multi-split systems require different thermostats 7 for the various outdoor units.

Benefits of Ductless Ac

If your home does not currently have ducts, having ductless air conditioning units installed is a much less invasive method of delivering heat and air conditioning to your home. You will have a single hole cut for each handler, instead of needing to find ways for the ducts to travel through your home.

Because the system does not have ducts, it also will not get as dirty. Vents tend to collect a lot of dust and debris over time, which means that your ducts need to be cleaned on occasion to free them up and keep the unit working at its best.

In addition, ducts can begin to leak air over time, which may lower the efficiency of a unit. Without ducts, a mini split system does not lose its efficiency in the same way and can be even more efficient in many cases.

Keep in mind that these systems may not add value to your home if you already have ducts. They may also not cool large homes on hot days effectively without multiple handlers.

Mini Split Ac Maintenance

Mini split systems can last 10 to 15 years on average if they are regularly maintained. This means cleaning the exterior of both components regularly and removing the covers and cleaning the coils and internal pieces as well. In addition, have your unit serviced twice a year to ensure that it is cleaned and operating at peak efficiency.

Mini Split vs Heat Pump

Most ductless air conditioners contain a heat pump 6 as part of the system to help circulate the air. During the colder months of the year, you can use only the heat pump 6 to warm your home as well.

There are cooling-only mini split systems available, but they are generally only found in tropical and other high-heat areas that do not need even occasional heating. They tend to cost less, around $500 to start for a single wall-mounted unit, and they have similar installation and labor costs to the standard system.

Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Removal of Old HVAC Equipment

If you are replacing another system with a ductless air conditioner, you may be charged a removal fee for the old equipment. This varies from $25 to $200, depending on the company and type of equipment. Check with your installer to find out their policy.

Upgrading and Installing Electrical Supplies

Depending on the age of your home and type of panel you have, you may need to have an electrician upgrade your electrical system or install a new panel. An upgrade can cost $1,300 to $3,000, depending on the level 3 of work required.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • If you live in an area with very hot temperatures, a ductless system may not cool your house sufficiently. In this case, you may need to stick with a central air conditioning unit to do the job.
  • You may be able to use one ductless system to take care of your entire house rather than creating zones if you also have wall units or radiant heating. Speak to a technician about what is right for your home.
  • Sometimes, rebates and tax incentives are available, so check before you begin this project.
  • If you have the installation done in the fall or winter, it may cost less because HVAC technicians may be less busy.
  • While some older ductless AC units were very loud, most new systems have noise-suppression systems in place. Check with your technician to see if this is the case for the unit you are installing.
  • Mini split systems are completely customizable, which allows you to choose the perfect fit for your home.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to install a mini split system?

This depends on the size of the system you are installing. A multi-zone system costs around $6,000 on average.

  • Does ductless AC add value to a home?

If your home already has ducts, then no, this system does not add value. If your home has no ductwork at all, then it may add value.

  • Do I need a permit to install ductless AC?

This depends on the area where you live, but most HVAC systems require a permit and inspection.

  • How long does it take to install a ductless mini split?

This depends on the size of the system and how many zones. It could take 2 to 8 hours to install.

  • Is ductless cheaper than central air?

This depends on whether you have ducts. If you do not have ducts, then yes, it is cheaper. Otherwise, it may have similar costs.

  • Do you need a mini split in every room?

If the rooms are closed off from one another, then yes. In more open floor plans, a single zone may be all you need.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Mount: A support on which something is attached or hung
2 Air handler: A unit that distributes heated or cooled air to the different areas of the home. Air handlers do not heat or cool the air, but instead pull the heat out of the air and direct it outside in the summer and inside in the winter. Air handlers are often part of a heat pump system
3 Level: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
glossary term picture Bracket 4 Brackets: A support that projects outward from one surface to hold another surface to it, such as attaching a shelf to a wall or piece of furniture. Brackets can also be used to strengthen joins between two materials
glossary term picture Padding 5 Pad: A cushion placed under a carpet to absorb impact, thus extending the life of the carpet
6 Heat pump: A device used to heat or cool the air in a home by moving hot and cold air to where it is needed. The unit pulls hot air from inside the home in the summer and directs it outdoors, leaving the inside air cool, and pulls heat from outdoors in the winter and directs it into the home, thereby warming it
glossary term picture Thermostat 7 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off

Cost to install a ductless air conditioning varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Ductless Air Conditioner Installation

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Akron, OH
-6%
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Arvada, CO
-3%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Bay Shore, NY
+17%
Bridgeport, CT
+43%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Chandler, AZ
-2%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Concord, CA
+30%
Corpus Christi, TX
+4%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Elgin, TX
-22%
Eugene, OR
-11%
Falmouth, MA
+23%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Wayne, IN
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Harrisburg, PA
+2%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Littleton, CO
+2%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milford, PA
-11%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Mishawaka, IN
-9%
Mobile, AL
-8%
Modesto, CA
-12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New York, NY
+77%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   See change history
Methodology and sources