Show Me the Money: The Cost to Install Mini Split Systems

Show Me the Money: The Cost to Install Mini Split Systems

Mini Split Systems

When preparing to purchase a ductless mini split air conditioner, you are probably thinking carefully about your investment and how much you need to budget for it.

One area you want to look into in your budget is the installation costs.

In the world of ductless mini-split air conditioning systems, this is one part of the budget that often surprises people when they realize how many factors come into play in a mini-split’s total installation costs.


  • The cost to install a mini-split system includes several steps, all of which should be noted.
  • Understanding the cost of each step will help you budget effectively.
  • Several factors will influence the overall installation cost of your mini split system.
  • Upfront costs may vary, but mini-split systems offer long-term benefits that justify the investment.

No matter what the product is, it can be tricky to know the installation cost upfront.

Knowing the installation costs of a ductless mini split system is no different.

But the good news is this:

By thinking through your space, needs, and budget, you can understand what your ductless mini split air conditioner will cost to install, including the cost of any surprises along the way.

Knowledge is power. Let’s ensure you are armed with as much of it as possible so you will know what to expect regarding your mini-split installation costs before you begin.

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What is a Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner?

A ductless air conditioner, often called a ductless mini-split system, is a highly efficient and versatile cooling and heating solution for homes and businesses.


Unlike traditional central AC systems that rely on a network of ducts to distribute conditioned air, ductless systems operate without ductwork.

The core components of a ductless mini-split system include indoor and outdoor units.

The outdoor unit houses the compressor and condenser and is responsible for cooling or heating the refrigerant.

The outdoor unit typically includes:

  • Compressor: The compressor converts the refrigerant from a hot gas into a liquid. It then pumps that liquid through the refrigerant lines into every indoor unit.
  • Condenser coils: The condenser coils allow the outside air the time it needs to absorb heat from the refrigerant. After exiting the condenser, the refrigerant will be a cool liquid.
  • Outdoor fan: The fan blows air over the condenser coils, ensuring they cool down sufficiently.
  • Expansion valve: This small valve will allow the refrigerant to expand before it enters the evaporator unit. This cools the refrigerant down even more before it leaves the unit.

The indoor unit(s) will go in the room or rooms where you want climate control.

Indoor units deliver the cooled and heated air to those specific areas.

The indoor unit typically includes:

Blueridge mini-splits

The indoor unit typically includes:

  • Evaporator coils: Cold refrigerant flows into the evaporator coils from the refrigerant lines and absorbs heat from the surrounding air. This causes the refrigerant to evaporate into a gas.
  • Blower: The circular blower removes warm air from the room and blows cool air back into it. An indoor mini-split unit is often significantly quieter than the fans of a traditional central AC system.
  • Air filter: Cool air goes through the air filter before entering a room, which allows it to capture dirt particles, pet dander, mold spores, and other allergens that might be floating around in the room’s air. A high-quality filter improves indoor air quality while helping to keep the home cool.

The third element of a mini-split AC system is the series of lines that connect the ductless system.

The outdoor unit and indoor unit(s) connect by lines that serve different purposes in ensuring that the mini split’s operation is smooth and effective.

Blueridge mini-splits refrigerant lines

This line bundle typically includes the following:

  • Refrigerant lines: The refrigerant line consists of insulated copper tubing that carries refrigerant through the system. While the tubing size will vary, these lines typically consist of two copper tubes: a larger one known as the suction line (carrying cool, low-pressure refrigerant from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit) and a smaller one called the liquid line (transporting high-pressure, hot refrigerant from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit).
  • Drain lines: Indoor units will produce water from condensation during the cooling cycle. The drain line will keep that water from leaking into your home and will instead move it outside.
  • Electrical lines: Power cables from outside provide the electricity your indoor units require to operate effectively.
  • Communication lines: Electronic control cables will send signals between outdoor and indoor units, ensuring everything runs well. This means the outdoor compressor will only run when needed and maintain the right speed to keep your home at the desired temperature.

Once you feel familiar with the various components of a ductless mini-split system, you’ll have a better idea of your overall installation costs. You can start devising a plan for how you want the installation process to roll out.

Breaking Down the Costs: Installing Your New Ductless AC System

Now that you have a strong understanding of how the various components of your new mini-split system will work, you can start thinking through what factors will affect the cost of your installation.

From the size of your home to labor costs in your area, there are several things you’ll need to consider to get a realistic idea of what your installation costs are going to be.

1. Number of Indoor Units

One of the primary factors affecting installation costs is the number of indoor units you plan to install.

Single-zone systems with only one indoor unit are typically more straightforward regarding installation.

Also, a single-zone mini split heating and cooling system will require less labor and materials, which can add up when a multi-zone system is installed.

Let’s look at the reasons behind this more carefully:

A Single Zone Mini Split System:

As the name suggests, single-zone systems provide heating and cooling to a single room or zone.

They are generally less expensive to install because they require only one indoor unit and a simplified refrigerant line setup.

A Multi Zone Mini Split System:

On the other hand, multi-zone systems serve multiple rooms or zones independently.

This versatility comes with added installation complexity and costs since it will involve multiple indoor units, longer refrigerant lines, and potentially more significant electrical work.

2. Difficulty to Install

The ease or difficulty of installation is crucial in determining costs for mini splits.

A straightforward installation in a new home with pre-existing electrical and refrigerant line pathways will typically be more affordable than installing a mini split into a significantly older home or where a central air conditioner has been before.

Electrical tools and blueprints on the wooden table.

3. Local Labor Rates

An HVAC duct system begins with air being drawn into the HVAC outdoor unit — where it is heated or cooled — and then pushed through the ductwork by a fan.

The ducted system then distributes the conditioned air through vents and/or registers that are located in walls, ceilings, or floors throughout the home or building.


The hope with a ducted system is that it will give even distribution of air to all rooms while also maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature.

4. Structural Modifications to Your Existing Space

Structural modifications to your home or building may sometimes be necessary to accommodate new ductless mini-split systems.

A woman in a red short-sleeve shirt with a pen in her left hand, reviewing building blueprints.

This can sometimes mean new wall openings for refrigerant lines must be created, or walls may need to be reinforced to support wall-mounted air handlers or accommodate outdoor units.

The extent of structural modifications required can significantly impact installation costs, and it will be something you will want to research and consult with experts on before you set your final installation budget.

5. Brand and Model

While not a direct installation cost, your choice of mini split brand and model can influence the overall project cost.

And though the brand itself doesn’t directly determine installation prices, it can influence costs through several related factors, such as the system’s complexity, quality and design, warranty,  and level of customer support.

To get an accurate estimate for your mini split installation, consider all these factors before you decide which brand and manufacturer you will use.

Another option is to contact the manufacturer directly and ask them some of your more specific questions about their mini split units and the installation costs and concerns.

An online support staff member wearing a headset while seated at his office desk.

A reputable company like Alpine Home Air can walk you through the installation costs or connect you to a respected HVAC professional in your area who can help you.

Additional Installation Costs to Consider

While the basic installation of a mini-split system covers the core components, several additional costs and considerations should be factored into your budget:

  1. Accessories: Mini split installations often require accessories to enhance functionality and aesthetics. These accessories can include things like line covers to protect and conceal refrigerant lines, wall brackets to secure the unit placement, and condensate pumps to manage moisture.

    The choice of accessories can vary depending on the installation’s complexity and the specific requirements of your space.
  2. Thermostats and Controls: Upgrading or installing thermostats and control systems can add to the overall cost of a mini-split installation.

    Modern mini-split systems often come with smart thermostats that offer precise temperature control and energy-saving features. These advanced controls may have a higher upfront cost but can lead to increased comfort and energy efficiency over the long term for your home and your overall budget.
  3. Electrical Work: Ensuring your electrical system is compatible with the mini split’s power requirements is crucial.

    If your electrical panel needs an upgrade or additional circuits are necessary, these electrical modifications can incur extra costs.

    Though many homeowners will consider doing a DIY installation, hiring a qualified electrician to assess and make any necessary adjustments to the electrical infrastructure is highly recommended for a multi-zone or single-zone mini-split installation.
  4. Maintenance Agreements: While not a direct installation cost, some homeowners will purchase long-term maintenance agreements.

    Though mini-splits require less intensive and complicated maintenance than ducted central air conditioning systems, it is still important to do regular maintenance to keep your mini-split system operating efficiently and extend its lifespan.

    Maintenance agreements with HVAC professionals can help you budget for ongoing servicing and repairs, ensuring your system remains in optimal condition.
  5. Unforeseen Expenses: Remember that unexpected issues may arise during the installation process.

    These include structural challenges, hidden obstacles within walls or ceilings, or unexpected complications.

    A contingency budget for unexpected expenses is advisable to prevent delays and ensure a smooth installation.
  6. Permits and Inspections: Depending on where you live, your local building codes may require permits and inspections for mini-split installations.

    Be sure to factor in these costs. Obtaining the necessary permits and ensuring compliance with regulations is essential to avoid potential legal issues and ensure safety.
  7. Extended Warranties: Some manufacturers offer extended warranties for additional coverage beyond the standard warranty.

    While this is not an upfront cost, it’s worth considering for long-term peace of mind, even before you begin installation.

    Extended warranties can protect your investment by covering repair or replacement costs for an extended period.

You can ensure a successful installation without unexpected financial surprises by accounting for these additional costs and factors in your mini-split budgeting process.

Consulting with reputable HVAC professionals and obtaining detailed cost estimates for your specific ductless mini-split system will help you make informed decisions and plan accordingly.

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What Makes a Ductless Mini Split Installation Cost Worth It?

As the popularity of installing ductless mini split systems continues to rise, it’s understandable why.

Here are a few reasons why ductless mini-split air conditioners are here to stay:

Energy Efficiency:

Ductless mini splits are highly energy-efficient, resulting in lower monthly utility bills and long-term cost savings.


Zoning Capabilities:

They provide individualized temperature control for different rooms or zones, ensuring optimal comfort and energy conservation.

No Ductwork Needed:

Ductless systems eliminate the need for ductwork installation or repair, saving on upfront costs and preventing energy loss.


Easy Installation:

Installation is typically quicker and less invasive than traditional HVAC systems, reducing labor costs.

Year-Round Comfort:

Ductless mini splits offer heating and cooling capabilities, providing year-round comfort.


Improved Indoor Air Quality:

Many models have air purification and filtration features, enhancing indoor air quality.

Quiet Operation:

They operate quietly, creating a more peaceful and comfortable living or working environment.

Flexible Placement:

Various indoor unit styles, such as wall-mounted, ceiling cassette, and floor-standing, allow flexible placement to suit your space.


Various indoor unit styles, such as wall-mounted, ceiling cassette, and floor-standing, allow flexible placement to suit your space.


Environmental Benefits:

Their energy-efficient operation reduces your carbon footprint, contributing to a greener and more sustainable environment.


Ductless mini splits are known for their durability and longevity, providing reliable performance for years.

Increased Property Value:

Installing a ductless system can increase the resale value of your property, making it a wise investment.

Reduced Maintenance:

Minimal maintenance requirements and easy-to-clean filters save you time and money in upkeep.


Remote Control:

Many models come with remote control or Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing you to adjust settings conveniently.

Cost-Effective for Smaller Spaces:

Ductless mini splits are exceptionally cost-effective for smaller homes, apartments, or room additions where ductwork isn’t feasible.

Contact Alpine Home Air Products for a True Install Cost Analysis

When you are ready to explore your ductless mini split options and want help figuring out your total installation costs, consider Alpine Home Air to help you.


With 20 years of experience in the HVAC industry, Alpine has grown to be a trusted leader with a reputation for providing efficient, cost-effective, and reliable HVAC solutions.

Alpine Home Air’s mini split systems are designed to deliver comfort and value, offering innovative technology, exceptional performance, and exceptional customer support.

With ductless mini split products from Alpine, you can invest in your planet, your home’s comfort, and your family’s budget for years to come.

Reach out today and take the next step with Alpine Home Air.

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