How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ductless Mini-Split A/C?

Leah Lopez Cardenas
Updated January 11, 2022
woman on couch using remote to adjust air conditioner
Photo: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images

The typical range for installing a new ductless mini-split AC costs between $2,000 to $14,500

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Whether you’re looking to entertain guests more comfortably year-round or your window unit has busted (again) and you need a better long-term cooling solution, installing a mini-split might be the answer. 

A ductless multi-split air conditioning system provides zoned air conditioning without needing ductwork like central air or being intrusive like window units can be. This can be beneficial for older homes where installing new ductwork isn’t feasible, but the weather gets warm enough that a few fans in the summer just aren’t cutting it. Learn how much it costs to install a ductless mini-split AC in your home.

What Ductless Mini-Split AC Unit Can I Get on My Budget?

One benefit of ductless AC vs. central AC is how much less a ductless mini-split system costs—up to 50% less! While the cost to install new central air conditioning is between $3,800–$7,500, you can expect to pay $1,500–$4,000 for a mini-split air conditioning unit itself, but expect the cost of labor and installation to increase the price overall. 

Indoor wall or ceiling-mounted units can range from $400 to $1,800. Multiple indoor units and complex installations with some mini-split systems can cost over $2,000. Depending on your budget, here’s what type of mini-split model you can get for the amount you want to spend.

$2,000

For a basic model, expect to pay at least $2,000–$3,000 with labor. For this budget, you can likely get an outdoor unit plus one indoor wall mount to cool a single room along with the installation accessories.

$4,000

A mid-range ductless mini-split unit will run approximately $4,000 with labor. With this type of model, you can afford a more efficient model or more indoor wall mounts to cool multiple rooms in your home.

$6,000+

Top-of-the-line ductless mini-split AC systems can potentially cost over $6,000 with labor. The absolute high-end cost for the most complex systems can be up to $14,500. This higher budget will get you a highly efficient, high-end model that can cool multiple rooms (8 rooms maximum).

Ductless mini-split air conditioner brands like Daikin® and Frigidaire® tend to be on the low end at less than $2,000, while brands like Mitsubishi® are on the high end—some models are over $8,000.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ductless Mini-Split AC System Yourself?

Do-it-yourself mini-split installation should be left to only the most advanced DIYers. It’s usually better (and safer) to hire a HVAC company to complete this relatively complex project for you. Plus, a professional will better be able to estimate what kind of system you need to properly cool your home most efficiently, saving you money on your energy bill in the long run.

In order to complete your project, you’ll also have to handle electrical wiring and refrigerant lines, which require a licensed pro in most states.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner Cost Breakdown

A ductless mini-split AC system is composed of three main parts; an outdoor condensing unit, inside air units, and refrigerant coolant lines to connect everything. They can be bought as a kit or each part purchased individually as needed.

The average prices below are for the parts only and don’t factor in the cost of labor for professional HVAC installation, which can cost between $300 and $1,500 alone.

  • Outdoor unit: $1,000–$5,500 ($3,000 on average)

  • Indoor unit(s): $400–$1,800

  • Indoor wall mount: $400–$1,000

  • Indoor ceiling mount: $700–$2,000

  • Refrigerant lines: $5 per foot

  • Installation accessory kit (lines, wires, sleeves, and drain tubes): $300–$500

a white ductless mini-split a/c is attached to brick wall
Photo: C5Media / iStock / Getty Images

What Factors Influence the Cost to Install a New Ductless Mini-Split AC?

While mini-split costs aren’t cheap, they can still be a more affordable option than central air conditioning. Various factors, including the size of your mini-split system, the location, number of rooms you’re cooling, and the contractors you hire to get the job done all influence mini-split installation costs overall.

Size of the Ductless Mini-Split System

Ductless mini-split installation is determined mostly by the size of the system. The average 12,000 BTU unit will cost about $3,000. Ductless systems run about 30% more than a new ducted system and nearly twice as much as a standalone window AC, so take your energy bill into account while budgeting for the long-term.

The advantage of a multi-split or multi-zone system allows you to have different cooling areas in your home. Every outdoor unit can have up to five indoor units attached to them. Most systems come with at least one indoor unit. Additional units can cost between $400 and $1,800. More powerful condensers are needed to run more than five units at a time and can increase costs.

Location in Your House

Different mini-split units have the capacity to serve different areas within your home. For example, a single zone ductless mini-split AC might cool one bedroom, while a quad zone system could cool your bedroom, bathroom, living room, and basement, depending on the model and square footage of your rooms. 

The more rooms you cover, the more you’ll pay for the additional indoor units—and for the labor to install each of them. Also, keep in mind that higher floors need extra installation accessories, so expect to pay $10 to $20 more per foot of materials and a couple of extra hours for labor.

Hiring Contractors

Aside from the cost of hiring a professional HVAC contractor, ductless mini-split AC installation may also require a local electrician if you do not have a dedicated 110 or 200-volt box, costing $50 to $100 per hour. You’ll probably need a dedicated electrical circuit as well, which can cost an additional $250

A local carpenter may also be needed to cut the three-inch hole for the refrigerant lines for each unit. They can range from $25 to $50 per hour. And you’ll need a concrete pad to put the ductless mini-split unit on, which may cost several hundred dollars if completed by a professional. If you do that part yourself, factor in the cost of materials (such as lumber and rebar for framing and the concrete mix) as you’re budgeting for the project.

Ductless Mini-Split AC Installation FAQs

How do I calculate the mini-split unit size I need for my space?

The HVAC contractor you hire will be able to calculate the size you need, but you can roughly calculate it yourself based on BTUs (British Thermal Units). BTUs are a unit of measure to calculate the amount the air conditioning system can cool or heat your space. 

Factors that affect the mini-split size you need include:

  • Square footage of your house

  • Number of floors in your house

  • Number of windows and amount of sunlight shining in the room you want to cool

  • Height of the ceiling

  • Number of people living in the house

The general rule is that every 500 or 600 square feet requires one ton of cooling, or 12,000 BTUs.

Are ductless mini-split AC systems efficient?

It all depends on the unit’s SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). A higher SEER rating means better efficiency and lower costs for your energy bills. Take a look at the product you’re considering purchasing and compare it to other models to decide which one is affordable upfront, but will keep your energy costs low over time.

Do mini-splits add value to your home?

Absolutely! Especially if you have an older home that currently doesn’t have air conditioning where installing ductwork just wouldn't work. No one likes being hot in the warmer months, so if you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, installing a ductless mini-split AC can be a good way to enjoy your home more while you’re in it, boost the return on your sale, and serve as a perk to peak buyers’ interest.

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