How Much Should It Cost to Install a Mini Split System?
There’s no easy estimate to explain how much it should cost to install a mini split in your home because there are so many options. A system with one indoor air handler for a single from starts around $4,000. You can add more units, and whole home installations can run $15,000 to $25,000.
Then there are other considerations like heating and cooling capacity, ease of installation, and more.
For most homeowners, these systems are worth the money. They provide better comfort than traditional HVAC systems, especially for homes without ductwork. And, they use less energy than other equipment, which means you pay much less each month on your utility bills.
But, there’s a lot to consider when budgeting for the mini split install cost in your home. Hopefully, this article will help.
As a mini split expert with over a decade of experience in the HVAC industry, I’ve written this article to help you understand the cost of installing a mini split system.
I’ve been a product manager with the national HVAC distributor Peirce Phelps for nearly 15 years. In that time, I’ve stayed up to date on the latest models and innovations.
I also work closely with dozens of HVAC contractors in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. I keep them updated on the products, and they communicate the questions, concerns, and needs they hear from homeowners.
In this article, I’ll cover the different parts of a mini split system and the types of installations available. I’ll also explain the factors that affect the cost of installation and how to save money.
Additionally, I’ll discuss the importance of energy efficiency and how it can impact the cost of installing a ductless HVAC system.
If you have more questions about what system is right for you, use the dealer locator tool to get a free consultation from a reputable contractor in your area.
Parts of a Mini Split
When it comes to mini split installation, it’s essential to understand the components that make up the HVAC system. A mini split consists of two main parts: the heat pump and the indoor air handler units.
The outdoor condensing unit of a mini split is known as the heat pump. It is responsible for transferring heat between the indoor and outdoor units. The heat pump can either be a single-zone or multi-zone unit, depending on the number of air handlers required.
Indoor air handler units come in various types, including wall-mounted air handler, ceiling-mounted air handler, floor-mounted air handler, and recessed indoor ceiling cassette. Each type has a different price point, but the installation cost remains the same.
High-Wall, Low-Wall, Ceiling Cassette
High-wall units are the most commonly used. They’re mounted om the wall near the ceiling.
Low-wall air handlers are placed closer to the ground and are ideal for small rooms.
Ceiling cassette air handlers are recessed into the ceiling and provide an aesthetically pleasing look.
Refrigerant and Line sets
Refrigerant lines connect the indoor and outdoor units and transfer heat between them. The length of the line set depends on the distance between the indoor and outdoor units.
Types of Mini Split Installations and Costs
Mini split systems come in two types: single-zone and multi-zone. The cost of installation can vary based on the type of mini split unit that is being installed.
Average Cost of A Mini Split Installation: Single-Zone
Single-zone mini split systems are designed to cool and heat one room or area. They’re perfect for small spaces such as a garage, home office, a single room. The cost to install a single-zone mini split can range from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the size of the unit and the complexity of the installation.
Average Cost of A Mini Split Installation: Multi-Zone
Multi-zone mini split systems are designed to cool and heat multiple rooms or areas. You can add up to eight indoor units to a heat pump. The cost to install a multi-zone mini split can range from $3,500 to $10,000 depending on the number of zones and the complexity of the installation.
Understanding Energy Efficiency in Mini Split Systems
Energy efficiency is the measure of how much electricity your mini split system will use to do the work. Higher efficiency models cost more to install, but save you money on your bills.
What is SEER Rating?
The SEER rating stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measurement of how energy-efficient an air conditioning system is over an entire cooling season. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system, which means lower energy costs and reduced carbon footprint.
Federal law requires all new air conditioning systems to have a minimum SEER rating of 13.
What is HSPF Rating?
The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rating is a measure of the heating efficiency of a heat pump system. It calculates the total heating output of a heat pump over the entire heating season, divided by the total energy consumed during that time. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump is at heating your home.
The minimum HSPF rating is 7.7 for air-source heat pumps installed in the US
Factors That Affect Mini Split Installation Costs
Mini split installation costs vary due to many factors. Here are the most significant items that affect hoe much it costs to install ductless HVAC:
Size and Capacity
One important factor is the size and capacity of the mini split unit. The larger the unit, the higher the cost of installation. It is essential to choose a unit that is appropriately sized for the space to ensure efficient and effective cooling and heating.
Number of Zones
Another factor is the number of zones in the system. Single-zone systems are generally less expensive to install than multi-zone systems since the latter requires more equipment and labor to set up.
Permits and Labor Costs
Permit costs and labor costs can vary depending on the location and complexity of the installation. Labor costs can increase if the installation requires more extensive electrical work or ductwork modifications. Permits are often required by local building codes and can add to the total cost of the installation.
Equipment Locations in the House
The location of the indoor and outdoor units can also impact the installation cost. Wall-mounted air handlers are easier and less expensive to install than ceiling-mounted or floor-mounted air handlers, which require more complex installation procedures.
Additionally, the outdoor condensing unit may require additional equipment or modifications to ensure proper placement and efficient operation.
DIY vs. Professional Mini Split Installation
Installing a mini split system on your own might save you money, but it also comes with significant risks. These risks can lead to bad performance, low efficiency, property damage, and even voided warranty. Professional mini split installation is a much safer option and provides many benefits.
Risks of DIY Mini Split Installation
If you install a mini split system incorrectly, it might not work properly or perform at its best. This can lead to higher energy bills, lower comfort levels, and shorter lifespan.
Mini split systems are designed to be highly efficient, but that can be compromised by incorrect installation. An inefficient mini split system will cost you more in the long run.
Incorrect installation can cause damage to your property. Leaks from poorly connected refrigerant lines can damage walls, ceilings, and floors.
Many manufacturers will void the warranty of a mini split system if it’s installed by an unlicensed technician.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional
A professional installer will perform a load calculation to determine the right size and capacity of the mini split system for your home. This ensures optimal performance and efficiency.
Certified installers have the training and experience necessary to install a mini split system safely and correctly.
Work is Insured and Guarantee
Professional installers are insured, which means that any damages that occur during installation are covered. They also offer guarantees for their work, giving you peace of mind.
Manufacturers will only honor warranties if a licensed technician installs the mini split system. By hiring a professional installer, you ensure that the warranty remains valid.
How to Save Money on Mini Split Installation Costs
Installing a mini split system can be a significant investment for homeowners. However, financing options are available to make the process more affordable. Many HVAC contractors offer financing options with flexible payment terms to help homeowners spread out the cost of the installation over time.
Federal Tax Credits
The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit offers up to 30% of the cost of a new heat pump, up to $2,000, back on their taxes. You can apply for the tax credit by filling out IRS Form 5695 with your tax return
The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEERA) is part of the Inflation Reduction Act, and it that covers heat pumps. Homeowners who make less than 80% of their Area Median Income can get up to 100% of their cost covered, including installation, up to $8,000.
Homeowners making 80 to 150% of their Area Median Income can get 50% of the cost back, up to $8,000.
Homeowners making over 80% of their AMI with an $8,000 install price will get $4,000 back. Homeowners with an install price of $16,000 or more will get the full $8,000.
Throughout the year, manufacturers offer various rebates and incentives to homeowners who install energy-efficient appliances. Depending on the model and when homeowners install it, they can usually get a few hundred or more off the installation price.
Ask your contractor about current offers when you’re working out the cost of your install.
Local Utility Rebates
Local utility companies, such as UGI, PECO, PSE&G, and Delaware Electric Cooperative, offer rebates and incentives for homeowners who install energy-efficient appliances.
Some rebates are direct through the electric company, while others work through local agencies. Check with their local utility company to see what rebates or incentives are available to them.
Why Do Mini Splits Cost So Much To Install?
Mini splits cost more to install than traditional HVAC systems because they require specialized equipment and expertise. The process involves a load calculation for each room, finding the best location for each unit, and running refrigerant lines, and electrical wiring.
Is it cheaper to install a mini split or central air?
Mini splits are usually more expensive to install central air. The labor costs are usually about the same. However, if a home doesn’t have ductwork, central air will cost much more. Equipment costs for a mini split are much more than central air.
How many years do mini splits last?
Ductless mini-split heat pump systems can last 15 to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Regular maintenance includes cleaning the filters every month, getting two professional tune-ups a year (one for cooling, one for heating), and an annual deep cleaning.
Do mini splits use a lot of electricity?
Mini splits are highly efficient and use less energy than traditional HVAC systems. They use inverter technology, which allows them to adjust their output based on the temperature in the room. This means they only use as much energy as needed to maintain the desired temperature.