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How Much Does a Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner Cost?

How Much Does a Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner Cost?

When buying a high-value item like an air conditioner, price will always be a major influencing factor. As it is true with most of your purchases, cost will definitely matter as well if you’re planning to buy a ductless mini split system. Thus, the big question is: How much would it cost you to own a ductless mini split air conditioner? 


Factors that Affect the Cost

Keep in mind that when it comes mini split air conditioners, there is no fixed cost. Price variations for this type of system is usually influenced by the following factors:



System Feature and Capabilities

Capacity and Energy-efficiency

Integrated Technology

HVAC Support and Services

  • Brand:  The mini split systems that are currently available in the market are produced by different manufacturers. Brand creates value on the product, and this brand value typically affects price. Well-known brands are normally more expensive than lesser-known brands. But while this is the typical case in a general sense, it is not a de facto situation in the HVAC market. Most of the time, brand comes secondary in value to other factors, such as system features, for instance.
  • System Features and Capabilities:  A ductless mini split system is usually a feature-rich HVAC product. In the case of air conditioners, features normally translate to capabilities. It means, the more features a system has, the more capabilities it promises to deliver. Better features suggest higher capabilities. When a system, like a ductless mini split, is said to have higher capabilities, it subtly encourages a comparison with systems that are less capable in some aspects. Due to perceived advantages, comfort systems are priced differently according to their unique features and special capabilities. Most of the time, these cost-differentiating capabilities are driven by a couple of other important aspect of the system—capacity and energy-efficiency.
  • Capacity and Energy-efficiency:  The capacity of a ductless mini split system to cool or heat a space and their energy-efficiencies are another determining factors for price. The higher their rated capacities are and the more they are energy-efficient, the more expensive they come. Capacity and energy-efficiencies can be expressed through the size of the system (in Btu) and energy-efficiency assurance is provided through high SEER, EER, HSPF, and COP values. High-capacity and high energy-efficiency are unique characteristics of advanced AC systems. Just like any other products, this technological edge affects the price of the unit.
  • Integrated Technology:  All ductless mini splits are typically technologically advanced compared with traditional systems. Imbedded with state-of-the-art parts and smart components, ductless mini splits can understandably be commanded with higher price. Ductless mini split systems, however, are not equal. Some are actually more advanced than others. Any technological advantage that a particular mini split system has is a potential factor for price variation when the model is finally introduced to the market. The HVAC market, as you might be aware, is composed among other players, with dealers and contractors. These key players play a large role in determining HVAC product prices. In this regard, the price variation is also largely influenced by how the dealers and contractors provide additional support and services aside from providing the product.
  • HVAC Support and Services:  When you buy an air conditioner, you normally would have to go through HVAC dealers and contractors. These entities do not only provide the system, but also normally offer services and support, which include installation, maintenance, and repairs. When buying a ductless mini split through an HVAC contract, it is important to factor in the costs that are normally associated with these services.

    Ductless AC System, Costs and Comparisons

    When compared with central AC system or a window unit (minus other cost considerations, like ductwork, related components, and installation), the initial cost that you’d have to pay for a ductless mini split system with the same capacity is higher. But if you’re looking at it as an investment, mini split is hands down much better to own than these traditional ones, whatever your consideration is—whether it is on price, efficiencies, performance, or other key aspects. More importantly, the long-term cost-savings that you’d enjoy from a ductless system outweighs the upfront cost. In other words, a ductless mini split unit pays for itself, making it a better option money-wise. To have a better grasp of this idea, let’s tackle this cost issue down. To get a clear estimate, we’ll try to break down everything and try to come up with a better picture in terms of pricing—whether with regard to the system as an individual unit, or the whole system as part of the whole HVAC deal.

    Upfront Cost

    On the average, the price of a ductless mini split unit (system only) ranges from $1,000 up to $5,000. For the very advanced mini split systems, it’s possible that the price could go even higher. If this is too pricey for you, you can still get some mini split systems below the $1000 price range, although you may have to settle for a system with a relatively lower capacity and efficiencies. It’s not bad at all as long as it works for your particular needs and budget.

    Now, if you want a higher capacity mini split system at a low price, you can check out different manufacturers and watch for special sales on top Brands.  Take note, that by looking into the average price of the air conditioners, we’re simply talking of ballpark figures because different brands have different price ranges, depending of course on the quality of systems and other factors that influence price.

    According to the United States Department of Energy, a 1-ton mini split air conditioner costs around 1,500 to $2,000, which is estimated to be 30% more than central air, or double the price of a window unit with similar rated cooling capacity. It is important to take note that above mentioned estimates are only for 1:1 application one mini split system for a single-room use. In other words, your actual cost may still vary, depending on the number of indoor units that you will be using for the whole system.

    Now, speaking of system installation, let’s look into the average cost of a ductless mini split system when installation and other cost considerations are included.

    Installation Cost

    Installation is another important cost consideration when planning to use a ductless mini split system. While it is not recommended, you can try installing the system yourself.  Of course this should only be attempted if you have enough knowledge and experience with HVAC systems.  However, it is still recommended that you hire a properly licensed and correctly certified contractor to do the job - THIS IS A NECESSARY REQUIREMENT IN ORDER TO VALIDATE YOUR SYSTEM WARRANTY. Some parts of the installation work, like with the refrigeration component, require sufficient license and certification, which most likely you do not have. Moreover, keep in mind that ductless systems are relatively new in the United States, and therefore, you need the expertise of the right professionals for this type of work. And when you do, cost of course would be a major consideration.

    On the average, installation costs alone range from $1,300- $5,000. Typically, this covers the man-hours for two installing technicians who will work 8 hours on a given day, the equipment to be used, their logistics costs, taxes, premium on skills and specialization, and other intangible support that you will get from the deal.

    Generally, the overall cost of mini split installation varies according to the type of system to be installed, the availability of other needed components, the amount of work needed, and complexity of the job, which is influenced by the location and type of application—whether it is a single-zone or multi-zone application.

    System + Installation Cost

    When you get the mini split system from the same HVAC contractor that will install the unit, your cost estimate would cover the costs of the system, required components, and installation. On the average the whole thing is going to cost you $3,000 up to $10,000 or more at the maximum. At the minimum, the cost can run from $2,000 to $5,000. Of course, this overall cost can still go higher or lower depending on the many considerations as previously mentioned.

    Understanding What You’re Paying For

    To summarize, let’s say, you have already chosen an HVAC contractor after evaluating all the quotes both for the unit and installation expenses. At this point, the cost of the whole project becomes a major consideration to your decision. Knowing what you will have to pay for and how costs are determined are very important so you’d be able to properly discern and come up with the smartest decision possible. Thus, in terms of cost, keep in mind that what you’re paying for the price of the following:

    • System
    • Labor/Installation work
    • Logistics and extra components

    On the other hand, the total amount that you will have to pay for the whole mini split installation project will be determined by the following:

    • The type and size of the mini split system
    • The brand or quality of components
    • The features and capabilities provided
    • The specific application (single-room or multiple room application)
    • The number of units needed that matches the specific number of zones to be conditioned

    Why It Pays to Invest in a High efficiency AC like Ductless Mini Split?

    It’s true that costs can make or break our decision to make a purchase. When it comes to a high-efficiency solution like a ductless mini split system, it is important to keep in mind that the potentially higher initial cost will be heavily offset by the many advantages that it can provide, including decreased electric bills. Aside from the high-performance that ensures you maximum comfort experience, a ductless mini split is one of those systems that can practically pay for itself in the long-term. This cost-effectivity and money-saving capability come from the system’s low energy consumption and lower maintenance cost which are typically among the major headaches that are associated by many homeowners with the traditional systems.


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