Emergency service needed? We're ready to help! Request Service


How Much Does a Mini Split Cost to Install?

Woman with a blanket wrapped around here on the couch turning on her mini split AC that is mounted on the wall above

Mini-split systems have gained popularity in recent years due to some of the advantages they offer. One of the primary reasons is their flexibility and ability to provide zoned cooling and heating for individual rooms or areas. This level of customization allows homeowners to optimize comfort while saving energy by only heating or cooling the spaces that are being used. With a streamlined design mini splits are an HVAC option worth considering.

What is a Mini Split?

A mini-split system, also known as a ductless system, is a type of HVAC setup that doesn’t require extensive ductwork to function. Unlike traditional air conditioning systems that cool the entire house uniformly, mini-splits allow for targeted temperature control in specific zones or rooms.

Each mini-split setup consists of an outdoor condenser and one or more indoor units. These indoor units can be installed in different areas of your home, providing personalized climate control. This makes them an energy-efficient and cost-effective cooling and heating solution, especially for homes without existing ductwork or for room additions.

How Does a Ductless Mini Split Work?

A ductless mini-split system operates by delivering conditioned air directly into different zones in your house. This system comprises two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit. These two components are connected by a conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and condensate drain.

The outdoor unit’s role is to compress and circulate the refrigerant through the system to collect heat from inside the house. The heat is then transferred outside, and the cooled air is distributed to the different zones through the indoor units. The indoor units, often mounted on walls or ceilings, release the cooled air directly into the room. A remote control allows for easy adjustment of the temperature settings in each zone, providing a high level of individualized comfort.

Factors that Affect Cost

Several factors can influence the overall cost of installing a mini-split system in your home:

  1. Size and Capacity of the System: The bigger the system, the costlier it will be. The capacity required will depend on the size and insulation of your home.
  2. Number of Zones: The more zones or rooms you want to cool or heat, the more indoor units you will need, which will increase the cost.
  3. Brand: Different brands offer different pricing. More reputable brands may cost more, but they often come with better warranties and customer service.
  4. Installation Complexity: The cost of labor for installation can vary depending on the complexity of the setup. For instance, mounting units on walls or ceilings will typically be more expensive than floor installations.
  5. Energy Efficiency: Higher energy efficiency systems may cost more upfront, but they can save you money in the long run through lower energy bills.
  6. Location: Depending on where you live, the cost of both the system and installation may vary. Higher demand or higher cost of living can increase prices.
  7. Additional Features: Additional features like remote controls, air purifiers, or advanced filters can increase the cost but offer more control and better air quality.

Remember, while upfront costs may seem high, a mini-split system can provide significant energy savings in the long run, making it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

Single Zone vs. Multi-Zone Mini Split Systems

When choosing a mini-split system, homeowners need to decide between a single-zone or multi-zone system.

A single-zone system consists of one outdoor condenser and one indoor unit, making it ideal for cooling or heating a specific area or room in your home. It’s a perfect choice if you’re looking to improve the comfort of a space that’s not adequately served by your current HVAC system, such as a home addition, basement, or garage.

A multi-zone system has one outdoor condenser connected to multiple indoor units. This setup allows for individualized temperature control in different zones or rooms within your home. Multi-zone systems are a great solution for larger homes or households with varying temperature preferences in different areas of the house.

Price-wise, single-zone systems are generally less expensive due to fewer indoor units required. However, multi-zone systems offer greater flexibility and efficiency, especially for larger homes with distinct heating and cooling needs in different areas. The cost-effectiveness of a multi-zone system increases if you need to control the climate in multiple rooms or zones.

The Cost of a Mini Split

The price of a mini-split system can vary significantly based on various factors such as the size, number of zones, brand, and additional features. A single-zone system may cost anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000. For a multi-zone system, you can expect to pay between $13,000 and $30,000.

What is the labor cost to install a mini-split?

The labor cost to install a mini-split system can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the installation, the number of zones, and regional differences in labor rates. 

More complex installations, such as those involving multiple zones, high walls, or difficult-to-access locations, could drive up the labor cost. Additionally, if any electrical work is needed, that could increase the installation cost as well. It’s crucial to get an accurate estimate from a reputable HVAC contractor in your area to fully understand what you can expect to pay.

How much does it cost to run a mini-split per month?

The cost to run a mini-split HVAC per month largely hinges on factors like the system’s efficiency, the size of your space, and how frequently the system is in use. Average monthly costs can vary based on the level of insulation in the home and the temperature the thermostat is set. Remember, energy-efficient systems, while more costly upfront, can lead to substantial cost savings in the long run. As always, your actual monthly costs may vary based on local electricity rates and your specific usage patterns.

Are mini splits more expensive than central air?

When comparing the cost of mini-split systems to central air conditioning, it’s important to note that the initial cost of a mini-split system can be higher, especially if you are installing multiple indoor units. However, the overall expense will depend on several factors. If you need to install ductwork for a central air system, the costs can quickly add up and may even surpass that of a multi-zone mini-split system.

Additionally, mini-split systems offer higher energy efficiency which can result in significant savings on your monthly energy bills. Therefore, while mini-splits may have a higher upfront cost, they could potentially save more money in the long run depending on your home’s specific cooling and heating needs. Individual circumstances will vary, and it is advisable to consult with an HVAC specialist to decide which system is most cost-effective for your home.

DIY Mini Split Installation

Installing a mini-split system is not a DIY project. While certain aspects of the installation process may be straightforward, it does involve intricate electrical and HVAC work that if not done correctly will void the system’s warranty. Ductless systems also contain refrigeration which requires an EPA certification for safe handling.

Is it Worth it to Install a Mini Split?

Installing a mini-split system in your home offers numerous benefits, making it a worthy investment for many homeowners. One of the most compelling reasons is the flexibility it provides. Unlike a central air system that cools or heats the entire house uniformly, a mini-split system allows you to control temperatures separately in different rooms or zones. This zoning capability can significantly enhance your home’s comfort, and reduce the war over the thermostat by allowing each family member to adjust the temperature to their personal preference in their respective spaces.

Energy efficiency is another significant selling point for mini-split systems. Since they don’t involve ductwork, you avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork of central forced air systems, which can be significant. Additionally, many mini-split systems are equipped with advanced inverter technology, which adjusts the speed of the compressor to control the refrigerant flow rate and reduce energy consumption. Over time, this efficiency can translate into significant savings on your utility bills.

Mini Split Alternatives

If a mini-split system doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, there are other cooling and heating alternatives you might want to consider. Two of the most common alternatives are central air conditioning systems and ducted heat pumps.

Central Air Conditioning Systems

Central air conditioning systems are a popular choice for many homeowners. They work by cooling air in a central location and distributing it throughout the home via a system of ductwork and vents. This results in uniform cooling, which may be ideal for larger homes or households that prefer consistent temperatures throughout the home.

Ducted Heat Pumps

Ducted heat pumps, or central heat pumps, are another alternative to consider. Like central air conditioning systems, they also use ductwork to distribute cool or warm air throughout the home. However, unlike traditional central AC systems, ducted heat pumps can both cool and heat your home, providing a more versatile solution. They work by transferring heat from one place to another, which makes them incredibly efficient.

Get a Quote for a Mini Split Installation

When considering the installation of a mini-split system, Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning is the trusted advisor you need. Our team of certified HVAC professionals is equipped to guide you through every step of the process. From helping you select the HVAC system that’s right for your needs to providing a detailed cost estimate, we ensure a smooth and hassle-free installation. With our commitment to quality service and customer satisfaction, we make the process of enhancing your home’s comfort as straightforward as possible. Call us at (503) 444-8470 or contact us online with any questions, and let us create the perfect climate for your home!

About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.