A couple of homeowners enjoying each other's company on the couch with a mini-split air handler prominently shown on the wall behind them

Choosing the best way to heat and cool your home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make, and ductless mini-splits should be on your list of options.

Getting an HVAC system is a significant investment, not just because of the initial outlay, which can be similar to buying a car, but also because your choices will continue to affect your household budget well into the future.

The more efficient the system you install, the less you will spend on energy bills.

Talking of saving on energy bills, we’ve put together a roundup of 21 ways to save money on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning you might find helpful.

Maintenance costs are another factor to consider carefully before investing in a new HVAC system. For example, how reliable is the technology you are thinking of installing, and what will it cost to have it repaired or serviced?

A more challenging question to answer is how a ductless mini-split heat pump will affect the resale value of your home. Unfortunately, few homeowners think about this, despite making a significant difference to the overall calculation.

Knowing the impact on the value of your home in advance is essential, especially if you’re likely to move and sell your house within the lifetime of a new heat pump.

How Do Ductless Mini-Splits Affect Home Value?

Mini-splits provide an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to heat and cool your home. In addition, installing a mini-split will likely increase your home’s value because prospective buyers know they could have lower energy bills and the convenience and comfort that a heat pump provides.

It makes sense that home improvements will add value to your home. After all, a better home should command a higher price.

But is this always the case, and is there hard evidence pointing to ductless mini-splits positively affecting home values?

Mini-Split Return on Investment 

Before looking at the amount you could add to the value of your home by installing a mini-split heat pump, you should examine its installation and running costs.

A homeowner sits at a desk against a wall below a mini-split's head unit near the ceiling

After all, it’s still your home for the time being, and you will be running the new system yourself until you sell. Any value it might add to your home won’t be realized until you sell up, so this should be a secondary but still important consideration.

Mini-Split Installation Cost

When deciding about spending money on items for your home, the first thing that comes to mind is the sticker price—how much the unit costs to buy.

Just like any other item you might want to purchase, the cost of a ductless heat pump depends on various factors, such as the type, size, brand, and features it has.

However, the sticker price isn’t the actual cost because unless you are going to install the system yourself, you need to account for paying a professional HVAC company to install it.

Note that there are DIY heat pumps on the market, such as the Mr. Cool, which come with comprehensive instructions and components homeowners can assemble without specialist equipment.

At the time of writing, the 18,000 Btu Mr. Cool Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner and Heat Pump is available from Home Depot for under $2,000. It comes with a 25 ft. install kit, has a rating of 20 SEER, and is Energy Star-rated, which means it’s very efficient.

However, unless you are an accomplished DIYer, it’s probably better to hire a professional, especially if you need multiple zones to run off a single outdoor unit.

A technician installing the 18,000 BTU 20 SEER ENERGY STAR Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner & Heat Pump outside a home
Courtesy of Home Depot

The overall cost of installing a mini-split in your home depends on many factors, including the following.

  • The size of your unit – a higher Btu requirement means higher cost.
  • The distance from outdoor to indoor units – the further this is, the more line needs to be installed, and the higher the cost.
  • How many indoor air handler units required – the more air handler units, the higher the cost. Also, ceiling head units tend to cost more and require more installation work.

As a rough guide, though, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $8,000 per zone. So installing mini-splits to heat and cool an entire home could set you back more than $20,000.

Mini-Split Running Costs

The running costs of mini-split heat pump systems tend to be low because they are so efficient.

However, how much you’ll pay in the long run depends on several factors, including:

  • The size of your home – a larger home will have a larger heating and cooling requirement
  • How well insulated your home is – the better the insulation, the lower the heating and cooling load
  • The price of electricity in your area
  • Which climate zone your home is located in

So, running costs can vary a lot, but as a general example, running a 12,000 Btu mini-split system will cost you $0.46 per hour, based on an electricity price of $0.13 per kWh.

You can find many instances online of people sharing their actual experiences running mini-split heat pumps in different climate zones.

It’s worth checking some of these out, particularly the videos, because these can give you a feel for how the systems perform and offer insight into features and issues that could influence your decision on which brand or model to choose.

For example, this person shares his experience with a mini-split in mid-Michigan, where he saved $5,700 in six years, having only spent $4,100 on installing the system.

A screenshot of a YouTube video in which a homeowner shares his experience installing and running a mini-split in Michigan

For more information on how much energy mini-splits use and how much they cost to run, why not read our article on the subject here?

How Much Value Does a Mini-Split Add to Your Home?

Figures for how ductless mini-splits affect home value are hard to come by. Still, a recent report from the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) has looked into this and shared its findings in the journal Nature Energy.

The researchers found that in addition to attractive running costs, thanks to their high efficiency, heat pumps increased home values in almost half of US states by between $10,400 and $17,000.

The study shows that people are more likely to pay more for houses with heat pumps and other energy efficiency measures if they are middle class, more environmentally conscious, or live in mild-climate parts of the country.

The research findings also concluded that the increase in the price of homes achieved from installing heat pump systems is even more significant than the cost of installing the systems.

This statistic is excellent news for anyone considering installing a mini-split system in their home.

As well as saving money in running costs compared to many of the alternatives, if they are in the right market, they can expect to see the value of their home increase by more than the cost of the installation.

Summary

The decision about which HVAC system to install in your home is significant. There is a substantial financial outlay to get a new system installed, and if you make the wrong choice, it could cost you money well into the future.

Ductless mini-splits offer a very efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to heat and cool your home, making them an excellent choice for many homeowners.

Mini-splits can pay for the cost of installation within a few years and go on to save you much more in the long run.

Even better, if you decide to sell your home and live in one of the US states where buyers place a premium on energy-efficient housing, including heat pumps, the value added is likely to be greater than what you paid to have it installed.

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