How Much Does It Cost To Install A Mini-Split Air Conditioner?

A traditional central air conditioner isn't a viable option if your entire home or specific areas do not have ductwork. In conventional central air conditioners, the air is moved from the AC throughout the home through ducts or metal box-like structures often hidden in walls and the ceiling. When this isn't present, it may be necessary to consider an alternative option for cooling the home, such as a mini-split air conditioner.

The United States Department of Energy says that these systems have an outdoor compressor or condenser and an indoor unit called a handler. Instead of pushing air through ductwork, they create cooled air released directly into the home. Unlike ripping apart the walls to add ductwork, a mini-split air conditioner could be a more affordable option than adding central air. However, there is still a high cost to the process. How much could you expect to pay for the placement of a mini split?

The cost of installing a mini-split air conditioner

Factors such as size and model will influence how much you pay to have the mini-split air conditioner installed. However, the typical installation is between $3,150 to $9,000, according to Fixr. Per Carbon Switch, the number of zones in a home will also impact the installation price. A two-zone setup may cost around $11,749, while a three-zone may command as much as $13,827. Technicians will consider not just the number of rooms but also the tonnage — the unit of measure used to determine the cooling capacity of the AC — of the installed system. For example, a 0.5-ton unit typically has a single unit, and that's good for a single room, whereas those who want to use a mini-split for an entire home may need as much as 5 tons, per Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning

When it comes to cost, the average one-ton system with 12,000 BTUs has an average installation price of $3,000, whereas you can pay as much as $10,000 for a larger system with 60,000 BTUs, according to Forbes. The most crucial factor is selecting the correct number of BTUs for the home, with 12,000 BTUs being ideal for about 500 to 600 square feet. Some units are more energy efficient and work faster than others, which may impact the purchasing price of the mini-split air conditioner. 

Can you save money and install it yourself?

Air conditioners of any type are significant investments in a home. For that reason, it's typically a good idea to have a professional install it for you. According to Fixr, the average labor cost to install a mini-split is between $300 and $3,000 for a single unit. There could be a few additional costs related to hiring an electrician to run power to the area as needed. You may also need a carpenter to handle the work of cutting into the home to place the mini-split system. This could add to the costs overall, especially in areas where there is a need to install a larger mini-split into an ample space.

If you aim to save this money and do the work yourself, you may still need to hire these professionals. These investments could be worthwhile for a cool home on a hot summer day.