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How much Does it Cost to Install a Ductless Air Conditioner?

How much Does it Cost to Install a Ductless Air Conditioner?

When homeowners come to us asking for a new ductless mini-split air conditioner, the first question they always ask us is, “How much does it cost to install?” In general, the cost to install a mini split air conditioner ranges from $1,800 to $7,000+, with the average being $2,500. Let’s explore ductless air conditioner cost factors in more detail.

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The 4 Cost Factors

multi zone mini split air conditioner

#1: Number of Indoor Units

True to its name, the mini split is split into 2 main components: outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. However, unlike a central AC system, a mini-split system can have multiple indoor units. Each indoor unit creates its own “zone” of comfort, allowing you to cool individual rooms with separate remote controls. All of this is to take into account into the cost to install mini split air conditioning units.

If you only have one or two rooms where you would like to install your mini split air conditioner, a single zone mini split might be more relevant. Each single zone mini split unit can range from $1,500 to $4,000.

On another hand, if you plan on installing ductless AC to 2 or 3 zones, a multi-zone mini split AC unit might make more sense as those can deliver heating and cooling to more zones with a single unit. A Multi-Zone Mini Split usually costs between $3,000 – $7,000 for the initial unit, with additional units costing $1,500 – $4,000 each.

Your main take away: The more indoor units you want, the higher the final cost.

#2: Size and Cooling Capacity

“Size” refers to the mini-split cooling capacity, measured in tons or BTUs. The larger the mini-split, the more it costs.

In general, you can count:

  • Low Capacity (9,000-12,000 BTU): $1,500 – $2,500 per unit.
  • Medium Capacity (18,000-24,000 BTU): $2,500 – $4,000 per unit.
  • High Capacity (30,000-36,000 BTU): $3,500 – $5,500 per unit.

Proper air conditioning sizing is important because, according to, “The (mini-split) installer must correctly size each indoor unit and determine the best location for its installation. Oversized or incorrectly located air handlers can result in short cycling, which wastes energy and does not provide proper temperature or humidity control. Too large a system is more expensive to buy and operate.”

So, a system that’s too small won’t provide enough cooling; too big, it wastes money.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to figure out what size you need. Contact an HVAC company that offers mini-split systems and they will find the correct size for you.

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#3: Energy Efficiency Rating

A mini-split system’s energy efficiency is measured by its SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the higher your monthly savings. But it also means a higher upfront cost.

A mini split AC with a standard SEER rating between 13-16 will cost between $1,500 – $3,000 per unit. However, a high-energy efficiency model might be more worth it on the long term as you will both save on monthly energy costs, and such models tend to require less maintenance over time as well. For a high energy efficiency mini split unit with a SEER rating between 17 and 22, you can count between $2,500 and $4,500 per unit.

#4: Labor Cost

Labor cost is hard to predict because it varies from company to company. HVAC companies typically charge in two different ways:

Hourly pricing

The installer will give you an “estimate” before doing any work. But you won’t know the actual price until they finish the installation, meaning that you may get a price far above the original estimate.

Flat-rate pricing

The installer will give you an actual price after they determine the system’s size, number of indoor units and your desired energy efficiency—but BEFORE they actually do any work. Meaning you can get the price upfront and then choose to get a price elsewhere, if you want. This method prevents sticker shock, and, because of that, it’s our preferred method of pricing.

Labor costs for mini-split installation can vary based on location, complexity of the installation, and other factors. On average, labor costs can range from $500 to $2,500 or more, depending on the scope of the project as well.

Finding a good company to install a mini-split system means asking the right questions. The ACCA offers a list of basic questions you should ask any contractor.

Need a Mini Split AC Installation in Tampa FL?

Contact George Brazil to schedule a free consultation with a mini-split AC estimate. We’ve been serving Florida homeowners since 1955!

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