On average it costs between $3,000 and $8,000 to install a ductless air conditioning system. This is the national average for a home that is 2,000 square feet.
Ductless Air Conditioner Cost Overview
How much you will spend on the install will depend on the number of air conditioners you are installing, the type, where you live and a few other factors that will be discussed later.
To mount a ductless air conditioner, you would need the services of a certified HVAC installer. The cost of the installation will add a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to your total cost. Usually, the company you buy the air conditioners from will supply you with an installer. If they do not or you would like to request someone else, you can find options from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
How much you spend will depend on the extent of the work. If the installer will be removing a current system, adding heating functions or getting rid of duct lines that are now obsolete, it can cost significantly more.
For a routine installation, the first step would be to make a concrete pad for the outdoor condenser. The installer will also create a hole in the exterior wall, through which the refrigerant and electrical lines will pass, to the wall or ceiling where the air handler or indoor unit will be. This process of running the refrigerant to the required indoor units is the most intricate and demanding part of the install. Depending on the level of complexity, your installation cost could increase significantly.
Types of Ductless AC Installation: Single vs Multi-Zone Systems
Another factor that will affect the cost of your ductless AC installation is the type of system you require. The two main types are single and multi-zone. A single zone system is a set up that requires one condenser, one indoor unit and one refrigerant line. A multi zone system, on the other hand, needs one condenser (which can handle up to eight indoor units), two or more indoor units and multiple refrigerant lines.
The average cost of the ductless ACs are:
Single – $1,800 for a BTU at 24K and an above average SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of 17 or higher
Two units – $2,500 for a BTU at 18K and an above average SEER rating of 16 or higher
Three units – $3,000 for a BTU at 24K and an above average SEER rating of 16.2 or higher
Four units – $3,500 for a BTU at 24K and an above average SEER rating of 16.5 or higher
As you would expect, a single unit is also much cheaper to install and rather straightforward. The line will be run directly to the wall or ceiling where the indoor unit will be placed. In the case of a multi zone system, the refrigerant lines would have to connect each indoor unit to the condenser. As mentioned earlier, this can be very challenging, particularly if the air handlers are going in the attic, basement or other hard to reach places.
Factors That Influence Ductless Air Conditioner Installation Cost
- Location – where you live will have a large influence on how much it will cost to install a ductless AC. The costs of equipment are usually the same in different states. Labour costs are the main difference, as they vary per state.
- Accessibility – where the indoor units will be placed and how easy or difficult it is to access can add hundreds of dollars to your cost. Also, the type of material used for construction will determine the ease of drilling the holes and passing through the lines.
- Removal of Existing Equipment – if existing duct lines are to be removed or managed, that would also significantly affect your cost. If there are older ACs to be removed as well, that again will drive up the price.
- Permitting – the type of home you have and its location might affect your ability to install an HVAC. If permission is needed before you can install a ductless AC, the price could be affected. On the other hand, if your state offers tax incentives for energy rating, that should be worth considering.
- Additional Heating Functions – for residents in very cold climates, you might need extra heating functions, or if the AC will service a large room. Therefore, you might want to attach a heat pump to the unit, which will affect the price.
Ductless vs. Central AC: Pros and Cons
|Cheaper to install||The ACs are visible|
|More energy efficient, as cooling/heating can’t escape through the ducts||They don’t work well with very large rooms|
|Independent temperature control in each room|
|Lower utility bills due to increased efficiency|
Cost of Ductless AC Summary
The cost of a ductless AC installation can vary a lot from house to house and from state to state. As you prepare your budget, it is important to consider all the factors written above. Despite the cost, bear in mind that it is still cheaper than installing a central AC, plus it takes special training to be able to install it right. Ensure you only use accredited installers and you will be happy with your new ductless AC system for many years.