Maybe you’re trying to find the perfect heating or cooling supplement for your home or a single room. Maybe you’re examining alternative options to a ducted heating system. Or maybe you’re just curious about the different types of mini-split heat pumps, and you’ve noticed that they seem to cost more to install than some other home system. Why is this the case? And with such a high installation cost, is the investment worth it?
We’ve broken down the cost analysis, utility expenses, and whether or not mini splits are worth the savings. Depending on the usage and the expectations, mini-splits can be a highly beneficial system that performs as desired and brings the comfort you need.
What is the Cost of a Mini Split System?
The cost of a mini-split goes beyond just the purchase price. The split system itself can cost anywhere from $900 to $9,000, which is a very wide range so there are options for different situations and budgets.
The price is generally determined by:
- The BTU capacity: the higher it is, the larger the area it can cool or heat.
- Single-zone or multi-zone: this determines how many indoor units can be connected, and thus how many rooms it can handle.
- Inverter technology: this is a feature that can dynamically adjust the output power of the mini split based on the temperature to make it more efficient.
- The SEER rating: the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the mini split’s efficiency over the course of one seasonal period.
- Brand or manufacturer
Mini Split Installation Cost
The installation of a mini-split typically costs around $800 to $2,000 per zone. It may seem expensive, especially if you are installing a multi-zone unit, but proper installation is important when it comes to any home heating upgrades, and this is especially true for mini splits.
The mini split installation cost is determined by several factors:
- Unit location: units installed on higher floors require more wiring, conduits and refrigerant lines, increasing the cost.
- Refrigerant line: this costs $5.00 – $8.00 per linear foot
- Wiring: runs $6.00 to $8.00 per linear foot
- Electrical upgrade: older homes may need to have their electrical panel upgraded, which costs $1,100 on average.
- Labor cost: a typical single-zone installation by an HVAC professional runs $500 to $1,200, but scales up depending on the location and complexity.
While it might be tempting to DIY your mini split installation to save on labor, keep in mind that you will most likely void your warranty. While portions of the installation can be completed by an avid do-it-yourselfer, the final installation requires a professional with the right tools, know-how, and licenses.
The most common cause of problems with mini splits is installation error. Let the professionals help you out and it will be well worth it. That being said, some mini-split systems are specifically designed for DIY installation. Our DIY mini-splits can be easily installed yourself. Each system includes all the necessary parts and accessories, and all you need are basic tools to install it. This is a cost-effective option for the handy homeowner; by eliminating the need for an HVAC specialist, you can reap some pretty significant savings.
Having the right mini-split unit installed in the ideal location in your home is important as well, and this often involves having an HVAC certified professional to install it. Improper sizing or installation can lead to many issues including an issue known as “short-cycling” — the system turns on and off rapidly, which prevents it from being able to run its full cooling or heating cycle. This leads to unnecessary wear and tear on your unit, as well as higher energy costs.
Mini Split Cost Breakdown
How much should I purchase a mini-split system for?
When researching mini-splits, seeing systems that cost upwards of $7k can make your head spin and your palms start to sweat, but purchasing a quality unit will go a long way towards cost-efficiency in the long run. Some decent units start anywhere from $900-$1,000 but don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest unit merely for that reason. You’ll want to buy from a major mini-split heat pump manufacturer, like GE, Daikin, Panasonic, LG, Friedrich, or Fujitsu, as there’s a greater chance the system will function as it should and that parts and warranty service will be available down the line. While that might seem more expensive initially, over the long term it will save you money. Total Home Supply is a certified parts distributor for LG as well as being certified to provide warranty parts for LG, Daikin, and Panasonic.
How much does it cost to install a mini-split system?
The minimum average cost to install a single zone mini-split system is estimated at $1000-1500, but the overall cost will vary case to case, depending on the size of the unit and the labor required to install, as well as the materials needed. Multi-zone system installation can vary in price. Most installers will charge an hourly labor rate ranging from $100-$180 per hour depending on the region. Multi-zone installations on average take 4-8 working days to install meaning that installation prices can vary from $1000-$5000+. As mentioned above, it may be tempting to conduct a DIY installation, but it’s wise to have your mini-split installed by someone who’s HVAC certified to ensure proper placement of your unit, as well proper connections to be made between the condenser and the evaporators. Calling around and getting estimates from several different companies is a good idea before settling on a certified installer.
Are Mini-Splits Worth the Cost?
Mini-splits are very much worth the investment over central air and heat options. They allow greater freedom and ease of use than a typical whole-house heating system. It’s important to remember that the cost to power efficiency is going to be influenced by the proper mini-split unit size for the area, placement, and a professional installation. If these guidelines are all followed, your new system should be worth the upfront cost.
Many models even offer settings to customize to your preference, such as sleep cycles and timers. Remote control options are great too, as this allows control of the unit from anywhere in the room.
Keep in Mind
- When it comes to choosing a mini-split heat pump system, size is important. Keep in mind your BTUs per square foot, room size, and general expectations for your unit when purchasing so that you can get the most efficient model for your space. This will matter most when it comes to selecting a mini-split for energy efficiency.
- Proper installation of mini splits. Poor insulation during the process could lead to heat loss, while the improper connection between the condenser and evaporator could bring future issues.
- To prolong the life of your mini-split, clean the air filters on your units every 1-2 months and take advantage of the sleep cycles and timed settings. If you’ve got your unit timed to kick on only while you’re using the space rather than cycling all day in an empty house, this will help with power costs.
All of the above will make a large difference in saving money, using less energy, and adequately heating or cooling your home with a mini-split heat pump. Total Home Supply carries a great selection of mini splits and can help you find the correct model to improve your home heating and A/C system. If you need help deciding, here are a few of our favorites:
Single-zone Mini Split with Inverter
The GE AS12URD 12000 BTU Endure Series 27 SEER Single Zone Mini Split features Inverter Technology, allowing you to run your system much more efficiently to reduce energy costs while reaching set temperatures more quickly.
Multi-zone Mini Split
The Panasonic CU-5E36QBU-5 mini split system is capable of servicing up to 5 zones, with a combined BTU of 36,000. It boasts SEER ratings of 18.5 when all non-ducted units are connected, and 16.5 with ducted units. It also features HSPF ratings of 10.0 and 9.5 (non-ducted and ducted units, respectively) for efficient operation.
This 3-ton mini split air conditioner system also includes Panasonic’s inverter technology – providing superb comfort, precise control and extremely efficient operation by constantly adjusting the power supply frequency.
Single-Zone Mini Split
The Panasonic YE12WKU1 Single Zone Mini Split is perfect for heating and cooling single rooms between 400 to 525 sq. ft. With up to 12,000 BTU output, it boasts a SEER of 20 and EER 10.5 with HSPF of 10.0.
Features include 5 fan speed settings, Automatic Heat and Cool Changeover for convenient hassle-free programming, washable Anti-Microbial Filter, and Blue Fin Condenser for longer lifespan.