If you have an addition, bonus room, or newly renovated attic space that needs heating and cooling or are looking for a way to offset the costs of your electric baseboard heaters or furnace, a ductless heat pump installation may be the right fit for your home. Ductless heat pumps can be installed in one or multiple rooms and offer both heating and cooling from one unit, making your space more comfortable year-round. They come in several installation types and efficiency ratings as well as sizes, which means that they have a wide range of associated costs. The average range to install a ductless heat pump is $3,000 to $8,000, with most people paying around $5,377 for a dual-zone ductless heat pump to heat and cool an area up to 1,000 square feet.
|Ductless Heat Pump Installation Costs|
|National average cost||$5,377|
The cost of a ductless heat pump, also known as a mini-split heat pump, varies by brand and size. Commonly used to heat and cool open floor plans or additions, they are more energy-efficient than alternatives like window units or baseboard heaters. But because they don’t use ducts, a mini split heat pump installation cost can be significant for a multiple-room setup. This mini split heat pump calculator will provide you with installation and material costs based on your location and requirements.
Mini-split heat pumps work by moving heat, either from the outdoors into your home or from your home to the outdoors. The system consists of an outdoor compressor with coils filled with refrigerant and one to four indoor air handlers.
The refrigerant takes heat from the air, which is then compressed, raising the temperature. The heat is then transferred to the air handlers, which use a small amount of electricity to move the air where it heats your home. The system can also run in reverse, taking the heat from your home and transferring it outside, cooling and dehumidifying your home.
Mini-split systems do not use ducts. Instead, a small tube is all that connects the outdoor and indoor components. You can install up to four air handlers on one compressor, heating and cooling up to four rooms. This is more efficient than most electric resistance heaters like baseboard heaters, but it is not necessarily designed for smaller rooms in your home like bathrooms. For this reason, mini-splits are usually combined with other forms of heating.
The heat pump brand can greatly impact the total costs. Some brands are known for making premium pumps that have increased efficiencies and higher price tags, while others make a very reliable unit for less.
|Brand||Average Cost (Unit only)|
|Gree||$1,500 - $2,400|
|Fujitsu||$1,750 - $2,500|
|LG||$2,100 - $4,000|
|Daikin||$2,400 - $6,000|
|Mitsubishi||$2,800 - $8,000|
Ductless heat pumps are more efficient than window air conditioners and electric baseboard heaters. This means that a smaller unit can cool larger spaces. Some brands make smaller-sized units, but most start at around 1 ton or 12,000 BTUs, which is large enough to cool a 500 sq.ft. room. When cooling a smaller space, you can reduce the airflow from the handler, but these systems are not meant for very small rooms. They are a good choice for open floor plans, additions, and larger rooms in your home. Below is a chart for the approximate unit size you need to heat and cool a space based on square footage. This is just a general range, so your unit may need to be larger or smaller based on factors like energy efficiency, ceiling height, and the installation location.
|Square Feet of Area||BTUs (Size of Unit)|
The cost of installation and labor for your ductless mini-split system is largely determined by how many zones and air handlers you have installed. When heating and cooling one room, such as an addition or attic renovation, expect to pay between $900 and $2,300 for the installation, along with an additional $200 to $600 in supplies, thermostat, and permit fees.
When having multiple rooms done at once, your labor and installation costs will be higher. In multi-zone systems, one outdoor unit can run up to 4 indoor air handlers. The cost to install these systems is between $1,000 and $5,000 or more for the installation and labor, along with $450 to $1,200 in supplies, thermostat, and permit fees.
For the installation of a single-zone unit for an addition, expect to pay around $500 to $1,000 for labor and installation. For a two-zone unit, you will pay about $600 to $2,000 in labor installation. Having more zones increases the labor for each one.
Many factors influence the mini-split heat pump prices. This includes the size of the space you are heating and cooling, how many rooms you are installing units in, the brand, where the air handler is located, and how far from the outdoor compressor the air handler is.
Mini-split heat pumps are much more efficient at heating and cooling than other electric appliances, such as baseboard heaters and window air conditioners. According to EnergyStar, they use 60% less energy to heat a room than electric radiators or furnaces and 30% less energy to cool the space than a similarly sized air conditioner.
Ductless heat pumps also come in a range of efficiencies, with high-efficiency units available for hotter and colder climates where the unit may need to work harder or longer to effectively heat and cool the space. Heat pumps are considered efficient with a SEER rating of 12 or over, with many having ratings of up to 25 or 30.
The exact cost to run your mini-split heat pump depends on several factors, such as the unit size, time of year, and cost of electricity in your area. It is estimated that the average ductless heat pump price is around $0.04 an hour to run.
If your home already has ducts, you may want to consider a heat pump that uses ducts. While ducts lose some of the energy if they are not sealed, they can heat and cool the entire space. Ductless units often need supplemental heating and cooling because they do not operate in smaller rooms.
However, if you do not have ducts installed or are building an addition or renovating an area where you do not currently have ducts, then a ductless mini-split system can be a great way to improve your energy efficiency and provide heating and cooling to that area. For this reason, these systems are most commonly installed in new construction or older homes without existing ductwork. Adding ductwork to an existing area can be expensive, which is why a ductless system may be a better fit.
Mini-split heat pumps are a more efficient method of heating and cooling your home than electric baseboard heaters, electric furnaces, and window air conditioning units. This is because they only use electricity to power the fan and compressor, not to heat and cool your home, so they can produce up to 300 times the energy they use. They are not the best choice for heating your entire home, however, particularly if you live in an area where natural gas is available and affordable.
Natural gas furnaces heat your entire home via ducts. They can be up to 98% efficient and also cost much less to run than electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters. If you do not have ducts, access to natural gas, or want to heat and cool your home with one unit, a heat pump makes more sense.
Adding insulation to your home can make your heat pump work more efficiently. Home insulation costs between $3,500 and $4,500 to install.
If you have older windows in your home, upgrading them to more energy-efficient versions could save on energy costs as well. The cost of replacement windows is between $650 and $1,500 per window.
Before you make any energy improvements to your home, it is a good idea to have an energy audit done first. They pinpoint where your home may be losing energy and how to fix it so that your home can be more efficient overall. A typical energy audit costs around $250.
Pumps have a habit of freezing or frosting over. Most units auto defrost at set intervals, but you can purchase models that have demand defrost built-in. They may cost slightly more than other models, starting at around $2,000.
Ducted heat pumps heat your entire home, while a ductless system may not work in smaller rooms and will require supplemental heating.
You will see a “cartridge” about 7-inches deep in your wall or ceiling in most cases.
No, they do not work in smaller areas like bathrooms but are good for additions and open spaces.
You can leave your heat pump on all the time. It turns itself off when the optimal temperature is reached.
They work in conditions up to 5 degrees F. But when it becomes colder, they may need additional heating.