Homeowners sitting on their living room couch appreciate their ductless mini-split

If you’ve never had a mini split before, you might be wondering what kind of costs are involved.

How much are installations?

And what kind of utility bills are you looking at if you choose one of these systems?

Are Ductless Mini-Splits Expensive?

Mini-splits installs are not cheap. They are often cheaper than a full central HVAC system install (furnace + AC) but they are still costly.

The average ductless mini-split system costs between $2,000 and $14,500.

The factors influencing a mini split’s price are the size of the system, its output, number of air handlers, installation fees, and whether you add anything extra.

Ductless Mini Split System Costs (by Zone)

Number of ZonesCost of Mini Split
One zone$2,000 to $8,800
Two zones$2,700 to $11,100
Three zones$3,400 to $13,400
Four zones$4,100 to $15,700
Five zones$4,800 to $18,000

Factors Influencing the Costs of Your Ductless Mini Split


Like any consumer good, the mini-split brand you select does influence the price, at least somewhat.

The three prominent brands are Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, and Daikin. You can’t go wrong with one of these choices.

These are the brands most professional HVAC companies install.

There are other mini-split brands available but they aren’t as proven as “the big three.”

Note: If you live in a climate that experiences harsh winters, you will need to purchase a unit that works in low temperatures. Again, this will be a more expensive option.

How Many Zones Need to Be Controlled

More zones mean more indoor units.

While multiple indoor units can be connected to a single condenser, they will cost more simply because there is more equipment needed.

Installation labor will also be higher because each indoor head unit needs to be installed and connected to the outdoor unit with refrigerant lines and electrical cables.

The Heating/Cooling Output

Ductless mini-split systems, just like air conditioners and furnaces, produce cooling or heating in British Thermal Units (BTUs).

The more BTUs required, the higher the costs. The number of BTUs a ductless mini-split must produce for adequate heating and cooling depends on the size of your home.

Larger homes need larger systems, which are more expensive. This is the same with all HVAC equipment.

Here’s a handy chart:

Square Footage of Room or ZoneMini Split Output in BTUs
150 to 250 square feet6,000 BTUs
250 to 300 square feet7,000 BTUs
300 to 350 square feet8,000 BTUs
350 to 400 square feet9,000 BTUs
400 to 450 square feet10,000 BTUs
450 to 550 square feet12,000 BTUs
550 to 700 square feet14,000 BTUs
700 to 1,000 square feet18,000 BTUs
1,000 to 1,200 square feet21,000 BTUs
1,200 to 1,400 square feet23,000 BTUs
1,500 square feet and up24,000 BTUs

SEER Rating

Another factor that can drive up the cost of your ductless mini-split system is its SEER rating.

SEER is short for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The SEER tells you how efficiently your mini-split system uses energy.

To calculate the SEER, take your air conditioner’s cooling output during the summer and divide it by the energy it uses.

You want a mini-split with a baseline SEER rating of 16. The closer to 23 you can get, the better, with 21 considered an excellent SEER rating.

The higher the SEER rating of a ductless mini-split system, the costlier it is.

The Type of Mini Split

The most common type of indoor air handler is a wall-mounted unit but you can also get floor-mounted units and recessed ceiling cassettes.

While ceiling cassettes are more discreet than the other types, they will require more labor to install.

The external component of a ductless mini-split

Installation Costs

How much will you pay to have your ductless mini-split system installed? On the lower end, the fees might be $2,000.

The average price is $4,000, notes HomeAdvisor, but it can be as expensive as $14,500.

These fees are in addition to the costs mentioned above.

Is A Ductless Mini Split Worth The Installation Costs?

By far, the biggest reason to upgrade to a ductless mini-split is how much money you can save on your monthly utility bills. These units are designed to be incredibly energy efficient and have low operating costs.

All that wasted air from a leaky ducted HVAC system comes out of your pocket every month.

For this example, let’s say you live in Region Three of the United States. This mid-country region experiences moderate weather with fewer extremes than the northernmost and southernmost regions.

Let’s say you pay an average of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour or kWh for your electricity. Unfortunately, your current air conditioner has a SEER rating of only 12.

You buy a ductless mini-split air conditioner with a capacity of 12,000 BTUs and a SEER rating of 21.

You’ll save approximately $7,210 with your ductless mini-split system every year, says PowerSave AC’s energy savings calculator.

In five years, that’s $33,023 you’ve saved. After ten, it’s $61,511. Over 15 years, you’ll have saved $86,091.

Final Thoughts on Mini Splits

They are expensive to install; there’s no getting around that. But they make it back with their low operation costs.

Despite being a fully electric system, mini splits are integrated with their own smart technology to use the least amount of energy possible to maintain your indoor temperature setting.

If you’re willing to pay the high upfront costs, mini splits are often worth it. In my 15 years in the HVAC industry, I have yet to have a customer who was unhappy with the way their mini split system performed.

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