Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to install a ductless mini-split AC system?

$2,000 – $6,000 Install single-zone
$3,200 – $10,500 Install 3-zone system

A ductless mini-split installation costs $3,000 to $10,000 on average. A mini-split AC system costs $1,500 to $8,000 on average, depending on BTU size in tons, SEER rating, mount type, and number of zones. The average labor cost to install ductless air conditioning is $500 to $2,000.

Get free estimates from split AC installers near you or view our mini-split cost calculator below.

Reviewed on December 7, 2020, by Tom Grupa and 5 expert air conditioning companies on HomeGuide.

Ductless mini-split installation cost

A single-zone ductless air conditioner costs $1,800 to $6,000 to install. The average cost to install a 3-zone mini-split is $3,200 to $10,500. Each additional mini-split AC zone costs $500 to $2,000 in a multi-zone system. Ductless HVAC prices depend on size, type, brand, zones, and labor.

Ductless mini-split installation cost - chart

Ductless mini-split installation cost
Zones Average Installation Cost
1 $2,000 – $6,000
2 $2,500 – $8,000
3 $3,200 – $10,500
4 $4,000 – $11,500
5 $5,500 – $13,000+
  • Quietly controls the temperature of each zone without ductwork.
  • Mini-splits cost 30% more than central air (ducted system) and twice as much as window units of similar capacity.
  • Lowers electric bills which costs $30 to $150 per month to run, depending on size.
  • Not as effective in large homes and units are obtrusive.

Average cost to install ductless mini-split AC

Average cost to install ductless mini-split AC - chart

Average cost to install ductless mini-split AC
National Average Cost $5,600
Minimum Cost $1,800
Maximum Cost $20,000
Average Range $3,000 to $10,000

*Based on 316 project costs reported by homeowners on HomeGuide.

Mini-split system costs by type

A standard wall-mounted mini-split system costs $1,500 to $8,000 without installation, depending on the type and number of zones. Mini-split systems include an outdoor condenser, indoor air handler(s), and sometimes a wireless remote control.

Mini-split system cost by type - chart

Mini-split system costs by type
System type Single-zone Multi-zone
Indoor wall-mounted $700 – $4,100 $1,900 – $7,800
Indoor ceiling cassette $1,800 – $5,800 $2,600 – $9,900
Indoor ceiling-suspended $2,400 – $6,400 $2,400 – $8,000
Indoor floor-mounted $1,600 – $3,300 $2,700 – $8,000
Indoor concealed $1,700 – $6,000 $2,600 – $7,900
LG Art Cool Gallery wall mount $1,300 – $2,100 $2,900 – $6,400

*Not including installation.

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  • Outdoor split AC condensers are placed on a concrete pad or wall-mounted with brackets. Each unit supports up to five indoor air handlers.
  • Wall-mounted air conditioners are installed at least 7' high and are the most popular and least expensive option for homeowners. LG Art Cool Gallery wall mounts hide the air handler behind a picture frame for a stylish look.
  • Ceiling cassettes are recessed so the grill is flush with the ceiling and can distribute air in up to four directions via controllable vents.
  • Ceiling-suspended units protrude 14" to 16" and work best in rooms with high ceilings or limited wall space.
  • Floor-mounted air handlers mount at the bottom of the wall at floor-level for rooms that don't have upper wall space available.
  • Concealed duct AC units, or slim ducts, mount inside the ceiling and connect multiple vents to provide even cooling in large rooms.
  • Vertical air handlers connect to pre-existing ductwork. They are self-contained in an insulated metal cabinet for noise reduction and offer a cost-effective alternative to central air. They are installed vertically or horizontally.

Mini-split AC unit installed in sunroom

Single vs. multi-zone mini-split system cost

The average cost to install a single zone mini-split is $1,800 to $6,000, plus $500 to $2,000 per additional zone for a multi-zone or multi-split system. One outdoor condenser supports up to five indoor air handlers, or "zones," depending on size.

  • A single-zone unit cools one room or area with an open floorplan. Enclosed spaces need their own indoor units.
  • Small bathrooms and hallways do not require their own zones.
Multi-zone mini-split installation cost
System type Average cost installed
Single-zone system $2,000 – $6,000
Multi-zone system $2,500 – $13,000+

Mini-split sizing chart and prices

Ductless mini-splits cost $1,500 to $2,000 per ton (12,000 BTU per hour) of cooling capacity. An HVAC contractor conducts a load analysis to calculate the correct size of each indoor unit (evaporator units) and determine the best location for its installation.

mini-split AC prices by ton - chart

Mini-split sizing chart and prices
Square feet BTUs needed System price
150 – 250 6,000 (0.5 ton) $450 – $1,600
300 – 400 9,000 (0.75 ton) $600 – $2,300
450 – 550 12,000 (1 ton) $700 – $3,200
600 – 1,000 18,000 (1.5 ton) $1,000 – $4,200
1,200 – 1,600 24,000 (2 ton) $1,100 – $5,200
1,600 – 1,900 30,000 (2.5 ton) $1,600 – $5,700
1,900 – 2,500 36,000 (3 ton) $1,800 – $6,000
2,500 – 3,000 42,000 (3.5 ton) $3,000 – $8,000
> 3,000 48,000 – 60,000 (4-5 ton) $3,500 – $10,000

*Not including installation.

Other factors required to calculate the correct mini-split size are:

  • Kitchen – Add 4,000 BTUs for kitchens.
  • Floor – Add 2,000 BTUs for a third floor.
  • Ceiling height – Add 20% BTUs for ceilings higher than 8'.
  • Climate and insulation – Add 30% BTUs for climates with seasonal temperatures over 90°F or poorly insulated areas.
  • Sunlight – Add 10-20% BTUs for rooms with large windows that receive direct sunlight.
  • Occupancy – If the space is regularly occupied by more than two people, add 600 BTUs for each additional person.
  • Shade – Reduce the BTUs by 10-20% for heavily shaded spaces in a temperate climate.

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Mini-split AC installation cost calculator

Mini-split air conditioner prices vary based on the size, type, brand, number of zones, upgrades, electrical work, and labor complexity. The following table calculates a typical install for a multi-split system.

Mini-split AC cost calculator
Factor Average cost
Ductless multi-zone AC system $1,500 – $8,000
Labor $500 – $2,000
Electrical circuit and wiring* $150 – $800
Carpenter or handyman $200 – $400
Refrigerant line set $70 – $400
Remove old HVAC equipment* $80 – $150
Permits $250 – $400

*Electrical circuit is not needed for every installation. Most HVAC companies include removing old equipment in their quote.

Labor cost to install ductless air conditioning

The average labor cost to install ductless air conditioning is $500 to $2,000. Replacing a single-zone costs $300 to $1,500, while a multi-zone system costs $1,200 to $5,000+. Labor costs depend on each zone's location, electrical work requires, and the complexity of running refrigerant lines.

Labor cost to install ductless air Conditioning - chart

Labor cost to install ductless air conditioning
Zones Average Labor Cost
Single-zone $300 – $1,500
Multi-zone $1,500 – $5,000+

*Not including ductless system.

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Price factors for mini-split installation

  • Location – Second or third-floor installs require additional wiring, conduit, and refrigerant lines. Labor and material costs increase for refrigerant lines longer than 25 feet or lines running through crawl spaces or attics.
  • Accessibility – Hard to access areas or installations through difficult siding increase labor costs and may require more materials.
  • Permits – Pulling permits for ductless AC installation costs $250 to $400 on average, and requirements vary by municipality.
  • Climate – Extremely cold climates need a mini-split system designed to perform in temperatures below freezing.
  • Season – Many HVAC companies offer installation discounts during off-peak seasons, which run from January to March and September to November.
  • Rebates and Tax Credit – Energy-efficient systems may be eligible for utility company rebates and a federal HVAC tax credit up to $300.
  • Warranty – Major brands require installation by a certified HVAC contractor for the warranty to be valid.

Ductless mini-split system installed in home office

Ductless HVAC cost by zone

The following table contains ductless HVAC system prices by the number of zones without installation.

Ductless HVAC cost by zone
Zones System Cost
1 $500 – $4,000
2 $1,500 – $5,000
3 $2,000 – $6,000
4 $2,500 – $6,500
5 $3,500 – $8,000

*Not including installation.

Split unit AC cost by component

Individual ductless heating and cooling system components are also sold separately for system customization.

Split unit AC component prices
Component Average cost
Outdoor unit $600 – $4,600
Indoor wall-mounted unit $300 – $1,300
Indoor ceiling cassette $600 – $1,600
Indoor ceiling-suspended unit $700 – $1,200
Indoor floor-mounted unit $650 – $1,500
Indoor concealed duct $650 – $1,700
LG Art Cool Gallery wall mount $550 – $700
Vertical air handler cost $1,500 – $3,400

*Not including installation.

Mini-split accessories and upgrades

The following mini-split accessories and upgrades allow for system customization:

Mini-split accessories and upgrades
Component Average cost
Wireless remote controller $50 – $300
Wired controller / thermostat $100 – $300
Drain pan heater $140 – $560
Condensate removal pump $120 – $280
Replacement filter $10 – $70
Concrete or plastic condenser pad $40 – $100
Wall mount bracket for outdoor unit $40 – $100
Condenser stand / snow legs $100 – $210
Installation kit $150 – $870

*Not including installation.

Homeowners using remote to turn on ductless air conditioning unit

  • Drain pan heaters keep the system from freezing up in colder climates or at higher elevations.
  • Condensate removal pumps improve dehumidification by draining excess condensation when using a gravity drain isn't possible.
  • Replacement filters should be cleaned monthly and replaced annually.
  • The outdoor compressor is either mounted on a prefab condenser pad or wall-mounted.
  • Condenser stands, or snow legs, elevate the condenser off the ground in areas that regularly receive 3" to 5" of snow.
  • Installation kits include line sets, connector boxes, wiring, and drain tubing.

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Ductless split system HVAC cost by brand

Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, LG, and Daikin are leading brands offering ductless systems at varying price points, features, SEER ratings, and BTU sizes.

Ductless split system HVAC cost by brand
Brand Single-zone Multi-zone
Mitsubishi / Trane $1,200 – $4,000 $2,600 – $7,800
Fujitsu / Rheem $1,100 – $3,900 $2,300 – $8,300
Daikin $900 – $4,700 $2,500 – $7,600
LG $900 – $4,200 $2,000 – $7,600
Panasonic $950 – $2,900 $2,200 – $6,000
MR COOL $700 – $2,400 $2,200 – $5,900
Cooper & Hunter $700 – $1,900 $1,750 – $4,850
GREE $750 – $3,200 $1,950 – $6,000
Senville $900 – $1,500 $1,800 – $3,300
Samsung $1,700 – $3,600 $3,900 – $9,400
Frigidaire $600– $2,500 $2,500 – $3,700

Mitsubishi mini-split cost

Mitsubishi mini-split systems cost $1,200 to $7,800, depending on the BTU size, number of zones, and features. Mitsubishi split system air conditioners are customizable and operate efficiently in extreme heat and cold.

Fujitsu mini-split cost

Fujitsu mini-splits costs $1,100 to $8,300, depending on the size, number of zones, and SEER rating. Fujitsu split system air conditioners are discreet, have deodorizing filters, are energy-efficient with zone control, and comes in several design options.

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Ductless mini-split vs. central air cost

A ductless mini-split costs $3,200 to $11,000 for three zones vs. central air that costs $3,300 to $6,000 (without new ductwork) for the average home. Central air is more effective for larger homes, while ductless mini-splits cost less to run and maintain.

Ductless mini-split vs. central air cost
AC type Average Cost Installed Typical use
Ductless mini-split (single-zone) $2,000 – $6,000 Small homes or single room
Ductless mini-split (multi-zone) $2,500 – $13,000+ Homes with 2 to 5 zones
Central air unit $3,300 – $6,000 Homes with existing ductwork
Heat pump $3,800 – $8,200 Homes without ductwork
HVAC system with new ductwork $7,000 – $16,000 Homes without existing ductwork, AC, or heating
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The most cost-effective choice depends on the size of the home and whether the house has pre-existing ductwork.

Ductless mini-split vs. central air pros and cons

The following table compares the pros and cons of mini-splits vs. central AC units.

Ductless mini-split vs. central air pros and cons
Type Pros Cons
Ductless mini-split
  • Runs quieter at 32 decibels
  • Adjust each room's temperatures individually
  • More efficient and lower cost to run
  • Quicker and less invasive install
  • Works in tandem with central air
  • Works well in garages, basements, attics, and sunrooms.
  • $2,500 to $13,000+ for multi-zone system
  • Limited to rooms with indoor air handlers
  • Not as effective in large homes
  • Wall and ceiling mounted units are obtrusive
  • Doesn't improve air quality and possible uneven cooling
  • May require mini-ducts to distribute air
Central air
  • $3,300 to $6,000 on average
  • Provides even cooling in small or large homes
  • Installed outside and brings fresh filtrated air inside
  • Option to add a whole-house humidifier
  • Higher electric bills
  • Louder at 50 to 80 decibels
  • More invasive install requiring ductwork that costs $2,000 to $3,000 more
  • Annual duct cleaning costs $300 to $700
  • Temperature controls the whole house in one zone

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Mini-split AC cost to run

Mini-split AC systems cost $0.15 to $0.50 per hour or $30 to $150 per month to run. The operating cost depends on the units' size in BTU's, SEER rating, climate, insulation, and electricity rates. Mini-splits with a higher SEER rating are more efficient and cost less to run.

Mini-split cost to run - chart

Mini-split AC cost to run
Mini Split AC Unit (BTU) Cost Per Hour Cost Per Month
12,000 (1 ton) $0.06 – $0.16 $15 – $40
24,000 (2 ton) $0.12 – $0.32 $30 – $75
36,000 (3 ton) $0.20 – $0.48 $50 – $120
48,000 (4 ton) $0.30 – $0.64 $75 – $150

*Monthly costs are for running 8 hours per day.

Other home modifications reduce how often the AC needs to run, lowering electricity bills:

  • Attic insulation costs $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot and provides savings of 15% to 25% on utility bills.
  • Window tinting costs $5 to $8 per square foot and reduces 85% of the interior heat generated by sunlight.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the lowest priced ductless mini-split AC unit?

The lowest-priced ductless mini-split AC unit costs less than $700 from brands such as GREE, Cooper & Hunter, and MR COOL. Other brands such as LG, Daikin, Panasonic, and Senville also offer low-cost wall-mounted mini-split systems for under $800.

How long does it take to install a mini-split AC?

Installing a single-zone mini-split AC takes a professional less than one day. Installing a multi-zone ductless mini-split system takes one to four days, depending on the number of zones, type of air handlers, and complexity.

How long do mini-split air conditioners last?

Mini-split air conditioners last 15 to 20 years when properly maintained. In comparison, conventional AC units last 10 to 15 years. Cleaning the filters and air handler monthly and hiring an HVAC technician to inspect the system annually prolongs its lifespan.

What is a mini-split SEER rating?

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) is the ratio of an air conditioner's cooling output divided by the amount of energy it uses. AC units with higher SEER ratings cost more upfront but are more energy-efficient and lower electric bills.

AC's with high SEER ratings may be eligible for utility company rebates and state and local tax credits.

Is a mini-split air conditioner or heat pump best for cooling?

Ductless mini-split air conditioners and heat pumps are both equally effective at cooling. A ductless air conditioner only provides cooling, while a heat pump is capable of heating and cooling a home.

How much does Home Depot mini-split installation cost?

Home Depot mini-split installation costs $500 to $2,000 on average, depending on the number of zones and complexity. Home Depot outsources this work to a network of local installers. These HVAC installers are licensed, insured, and background checked.

Does ductless air conditioning increase home value?

Installing a new ductless air conditioning system in a house with no previous ductwork increases home value. If the home has existing ductwork, replacing the central AC system with a ductless mini-split does not add value to the home.

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DIY mini-split air conditioner cost

DIY ductless air conditioners cost $800 to $3,000 for a single-zone or $2,500 to $4,500 for a multi-zone system. DIY mini-split systems come with wall-mounted indoor air handlers and are pre-charged with refrigerant, so no EPA license or special tools are needed for installation.

DIY mini-split air conditioner cost
Size Average Cost
Single-zone system $800 – $3,000
Multi-zone system $2,500 – $4,500

Installing a ductless air conditioner yourself is possible with significant electrical, plumbing, and carpentry experience. However, most brands void the warranty for DIY installations.

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Hiring an HVAC contractor

Licensed HVAC installers are trained to evaluate your home's heating and cooling needs and calculate the ideal ductless mini-split size. Before hiring an HVAC contractor, be sure to:

  • Look for a NATE or ACCA certified technician with experience installing ductless mini-split air conditioners.
  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Let professionals know you’re getting bids from multiple contractors, so they offer you a competitive price.
  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for longer than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Ask for a written contract and warranty.
  • Get a full breakdown of all costs involved.
  • Avoid making large payments upfront. Come up with a payment schedule for the work completed.

Questions to ask

  • How many ductless mini-split systems have you installed?
  • What size mini-split system do you recommend for my home?
  • How many zones or indoor heads do you recommend for my home?
  • Which brands and product lines do you carry, and what are the benefits of each brand?
  • Are there any accessories or upgrades you recommend, and why?
  • Do I need to prepare my home for the installation?
  • Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • How do you handle damages that happen on the job?
  • What permits do I need, and will you obtain them?
  • What does your warranty policy include?
  • What is your payment schedule?

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