A ductless mini-split air conditioning system is essentially a modern alternative to the conventional heating and cooling systems that involve vents and ducts to regulate air throughout the building. The ductless HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system provides energy-efficient air conditioning with variable adjustment options for each unit installed.There are single-zone as well as multi-zone systems that have single and multiple mini-split air conditioning units, respectively, with separate adjustable air conditioning options available for each zone. The growing trend of the installation of HVAC systems for homes, as well as commercial spaces, emphasizes the requirement of lower energy consumption while increasing the cooling and heating capacity of the product.
To facilitate high-efficiency technology, sometimes the cost reduction factors get overlooked, especially when the pros outweigh the cons. One such high-efficiency product leading the market consumer trends is the mini-split ductless air conditioning system.
The mini split installation costs are slightly higher than the other products in the industry; however, the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings speak volumes about the benefits of the system. Most modern air conditioning systems have SEER ratings ranging from 13 to 26+, and the ductless mini-split air conditioning system defeats the rivals with SEER rankings as high as 38.
Factors That Decide Mini Split Installation Cost Range
Along with efficiency, various other factors that play essential roles in deciding that the ductless mini split installation costs will be higher than its counterparts. These costs can easily be reduced if the customer knows their requirements and specifications. The ductless mini-split air conditioning system cost usually ranges from $2,000 to $14,500, with the installation price ranging from $200 to $1,000, depending on the availability and accessibility of required essentials of the HVAC system.
The primary factor that decides the mini split installation cost is the number of zones and the system size for the commercial/domestic space. A single zone ductless mini-split air conditioning system with a single indoor and outdoor unit will cost less than a multi-zone ductless mini-split air conditioning system where multiple indoor and outdoor units need to be installed.
The mount type – wall or ceiling mount type has varying design specifications due to which the costs can differ significantly, and hence it plays another vital role in deciding the cost range. The capacity and size of the HVAC system also affect the cost. For example, a 1.5-ton mini split unit costs less than a 3-ton unit. The average cost for a 2.5-ton ductless mini-split unit is $1500.
Apart from the material and the units, the installation costs vary significantly according to the availability and accessibility of materials, the existent electrical system in the space, labor costs in the geographical area, and the number of units to be installed.
Installation Material and Labor Cost Specifics
The ductless mini-split air conditioning system needs trained and qualified personnel to perform the installation. Unlike the window-mounted air conditioners, the ductless mini-split air conditioning system needs specific connections between the condenser and evaporator, which could be tricky for an inexperienced person. Besides, the primary benefit of the ductless mini-split air conditioning system, which is energy efficiency, requires proper insulation to maximize the favorable results.
To have a perfect hassle-free installation, the labor costs vary significantly for trained and untrained professionals. Trained professionals require 5 to 10 hour work time for a single zone ductless mini-split system, and the average labor cost ranges from $50 to $100 per hour.
Apart from the labor costs, the ductless mini-split system requires various materials for different mount types and extra material to make the installation long-lasting. These materials include a concrete pad for the exterior unit with the cost ranging from $75 to $150 per unit; an accessory kit with wires (cables, sleeves, box), insulation and drain tubes, ranging from $300 to $500; and a refrigerant line connecting the outdoor unit to the interior unit mount with a price of $5 per foot.
All in all, the average ductless mini split installation cost ranges from $200 to $1,500. For the multi-zone mini-split air conditioning system, the costs are higher for apparent reasons and vary according to the number of units installed. In older homes, an electrical panel upgrade is often required to support the ductless mini-split air conditioner, and the subsequent additional cost ranges from $600 to $1,100.
Pros That Outweigh High Mini Split Installation Cost Cons
The ductless mini-split air conditioning system has very high SEER ratings, which vouch for its energy efficiency and high cooling capacity. Apart from that, there are various other benefits of installing a ductless HVAC system. It provides a heating and cooling option for the space with added specific adjustments for each zone separately.
This means that in houses and office workspaces with the multi-zone mini-split air conditioning system, every unit can run at different temperatures depending upon the heating and cooling requirement of the rooms. This is a significant advantage over the ducted split air conditioning systems, where temperature variation for different zones was not an option.
If that is not beneficial enough, the ductless mini-split air conditioning system produces comparably less noise (practically none), even going below 50 dB. It takes up less indoor space than any other air conditioning system including the conventional ducted systems as well as window-mounted air conditioning system.
The ductless mini-split air conditioning system also provides a dehumidification option along with heating and cooling facilities. In many cases, the interior designers have to work around the air conditioning systems, which limits their scope for creativity.
Still, the ductless mini-split air conditioning system comes in variable mount types, including floor-mounted unit, wall-mounted unit, and ceiling-mounted unit. This gives more flexibility in designing the room and looks more aesthetically pleasing.
Mini Split Ductless Air Conditioning System Cost Recovery
The ductless mini-split air conditioners are proven to last about 20 years. This is much longer than the ducted conventional air conditioner systems with the durability of 12 to 15 years (with massive regular maintenance costs), and nearly twice as much as the window air conditioners. The ductless mini-split air conditioning systems last this long while also proving to be more energy-efficient than both the counterparts.
Also, the ductless mini-split system incurs practically no maintenance cost because the only required maintenance is washing the filters once a month. Since there are no ducts, the chances of dust or mold collection in any part of the system are significantly reduced. Hence the quality of air is much better than the conventional ducted systems.
The ductless mini-split air conditioning system uses 60% less electricity than the ducted central air conditioning system. The system recovers its cost with lower heating costs and electricity bills very quickly depending on the weather and climate conditions of the area.
Besides, the ductless mini-split air conditioning system increases the home value. It makes it easier to sell as compared to the houses with conventional ducted systems mainly because it emphasizes the modernity and aesthetic of the house, which attracts more customers.
Reducing the Mini Split Installation Cost
The ductless mini-split air conditioning system is one of the most energy-efficient high capacity systems currently available in the market for consumer use. The only drawback is the high mini split installation costs. However, these costs can be easily reduced with the right information and knowledge available to the consumer.
To begin with, the highly variable labor costs are area dependent and are reflected by the living costs of the region. These can be entirely avoided if the customers gain the proper knowledge and skills to install on their own.
Since the ductless mini-split air conditioning system is easier to install than the conventional ducted system, the customer can watch professional tutorial videos and learn about the specific connections and proper insulation techniques required. This might be time-consuming, but it will save the labor costs ranging from $200 to $1000 per installation.
In multi-zone systems, the mini-split installation costs can be reduced by placing the outdoor units together on a more massive concrete slab instead of placing every unit on a separate slab, and the distance between the outdoor and indoor units determines the length of refrigerant lines and insulation lines which subsequently increases or decreases the installation costs.
Besides, learning about the available electrical structure of the area and buying a suitable air conditioning system that can be supported by the existing electrical system is a significant plus. Electrical upgrades are costly and can increase the mini-split installation costs by significant margins, so the compatibility between the electrical system of the place and the air conditioning system being purchased can be a major deciding factor and help in cost reduction.