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How Expensive Is Ductless Mini-Split Installation?

How Expensive Is Ductless Mini-Split Installation?

The average cost of ductless mini-split installation (as of 2023) is $3,000, but how expensive it is depends on the size of the unit, the cost of materials, and your contractor’s labor rate. Ranging between $2,000 and $14,500, installing a ductless mini-split requires numerous considerations.¹ Each of these can affect the cost. Here are some factors that determine how expensive a ductless mini-split installation project in Upstate South Carolina may be.

System Size/Capacity

The size of ductless AC systems is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). A 12,000 BTU system will suit an average home.¹ But the larger the house or space to be cooled, the larger the unit you’ll need. Sizing a ductless mini-split is different than sizing a central HVAC system; it only requires knowing the square footage of the room a unit is installed in.

A 12,000 BTU mini-split costs about $3,000 for equipment and labor. For a smaller 6,000 BTU system, you may pay up to $1,600 or as little as $450. However, a 60,000 BTU unit that can cool up to 2,500 square feet of space costs from $3,500 to $10,000.¹ Calculating the right-sized unit can be challenging, but your HVAC contractor can help by performing load calculations and making recommendations based on their evaluation.

Total Number of Zones

The more zones you have, the more indoor units you’ll need. Installing an outdoor unit and a single indoor air handler costs from $2,000 to $8,000. Installing two air handlers can cost from $2,700 to $11,100, three units from $3,400 to $13,400, and five units from $4,800 to $18,000. In general, each additional zone will cost from $700 to $2,300, on top of the base installation price.¹

Type of Indoor Unit

During ductless mini-split installation, indoor air handlers are most often wall-mounted. A wall-mounted unit costs $400 to $1,000 on average. If you prefer a ceiling-mounted unit, it can go from $700 to $2,000 (recessed ceiling units range from $500 to $2,000; they’re hidden but cost more in labor to install). However, if you opt for a floor-mounted model, expect to spend $1,300 to up to $4,000 for each unit.¹

Ductless Mini-Split Brand

The brand of equipment strongly influences the cost of installing a ductless mini-split. Daikin, Frigidaire, and Panasonic are the most budget-friendly brands. However, Mitsubishi, Rheem, and Fujitsu are among the higher-end brands. The name alone can determine a price of anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000 per unit.¹

Energy Efficiency

Higher efficiency units cost more to install, but you’ll see long-term savings. Like many other types of HVAC systems, mini-splits are rated using the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the number, the more efficient a unit is, and the more it can reduce your utility bills. Higher efficiency units are recommended for larger homes or if you live in a hot climate.

The Cost of Labor

An HVAC technician charges from $75 to $150 per hour. Ductless mini-split installation takes five to 10 hours, so labor can add anywhere from $375 to $1,500 to the cost of your project.¹ A contractor may charge more for labor if you need additional units or some locations are hard to access. 

More complex projects require additional contractors. Aside from an HVAC company, you may need a new breaker box or wiring, which requires an electrician who may charge $50 to $100 per hour. Depending on the project, a carpenter may need to cut through a wall or perform ceiling modifications. They generally charge an average of $60 per hour.¹

Other Ductless Mini-Split Installation Costs

Size, efficiency, and number of zones are the most influential cost factors. However, there are many others to consider when estimating how expensive a project will be. These include:

  • Materials: Refrigerant lines ($6 per foot), mounting hardware, and an installation kit (costs from $300 to $500) add to the price of the system. You can purchase a kit separately. But an HVAC technician will factor all these into your estimate and determine, for example, how long the lines should be.¹
  • Upgrades: On average, a condensate removal pump costs $120 to $280, while each wall mount bracket costs $40 to $100. You may pay $100 to $210 for a condenser stand. A drain pan heater can range from $140 to $560. Meanwhile, wireless remote controllers can cost $50 to $300 each.
  • Permits: Obtaining a permit is a process and can cost between $250 and $500. By hiring a technician, you should receive help getting the job permitted.

How Can I Make Ductless Mini Split Installation Less Expensive?

If you’re on a budget, you can reduce the cost of installation by installing the system in the spring or fall. HVAC companies charge higher rates in summer and winter when extreme temperatures yield higher demand (which in turn increases prices). Obtaining multiple quotes, taking advantage of tax credits and equipment rebates, and investing in a higher-efficiency unit can help you save in the short term and long term.

Call Waldrop Plumbing, Heating & Air Today

Our NATE-certified HVAC technicians install, repair, and maintain ductless mini-split systems in Upstate South Carolina. We’ll determine the size and number of indoor units you’ll need. Once we install the system, our team will ensure it runs smoothly; our Home Protection Plan includes routine maintenance and membership discounts. To learn more about our service plan, coupons, and financing (or request a ductless mini-split installation quote), continue browsing or call (864) 536-0887 today.


  1. https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/hvac/mini-split-installation-cost/
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