Central air conditioning offers a great solution to hot climates; however, not all homes have the necessary infrastructure. Installing a central AC system requires extensive ductwork to circulate air throughout the house, and retrofitting ductwork in an existing structure can be challenging and costly.
A ductless air conditioning system, referred to as a split AC unit, offers more cost-effective cooling than central air conditioning. It is often ideal for smaller homes or residences with moderate cooling requirements.
This article outlines the typical expenses of split air conditioning systems and installation.
Average Split AC Installation Cost
The installation cost of a ductless mini-split air conditioner can range from $3,000 to $9,000 on average; the total cost for the AC system can vary from $600 for a single-zone system to more than $20,000 for a multi-zone system covering an entire house. Engaging the services of an HVAC contractor for installation will incur additional costs in the range of $300 to $6,000.
Split AC Installation Cost By Components
Split AC systems typically come equipped with a standard outdoor condenser; however, several mounting options are available for these units. Wall-mounted condensers are the most common and economical choice; however, floor- and ceiling-mounted models are also available.
Split AC systems, referred to as “ductless,” are ideal for installations that do not require any existing ductwork. However, options for ducted air handlers with short ducts to cool multiple rooms are also available. Below are the approximate price ranges for each type of unit.
• Wall-mounted Air Conditioning Unit-$700–$2,000
• Heat Exchanger or Condenser-$1,000–$6,000
• Air handler with ducts-$900–$3,000
• Air handler mounted on the floor-$1,300–$4,000
• Ceiling cassette recessed in the ceiling-$500–$2,000
• An air handler that mounts on the wall-$400–$1,000
The approximate pricing range for a system including one condenser, two wall-mounted air handlers, and one floor-mounted air handler, before installation costs, can be between $3,100 and $12,000.
Split AC Installation Cost By Unit Size
The British thermal unit (BTU) or ton is the unit of measurement for ductless mini-split systems. The recommendation is one ton of air conditioning per 500-600 square feet of interior space; however, hallways and bathrooms may not fall under this category.
A 3-ton air conditioner may suffice for cooling and heating the bedrooms or primary living spaces of a 1,500-square-foot home.
• 0.75 Tons- Cost-$600–$2,300
• 1 Ton – $700–$3,200
• 2 Tons – $1,100–$5,200
• 3 Tons -$1,800–$6,000
• 4+ Tons -$3,500–$20,000
Factors in Calculating Split AC Installation Cost
Several factors can affect the cost of split AC installation.
Higher-capacity air conditioners come at a more significant expense.
Varying models of internal systems may have varying price points.
The number of units-
Installing multiple indoor units can significantly impact the overall cost of a home’s system. It is advisable to have one unit per room, as the increased number of units will also require additional installation labor.
Additional Costs and Considerations
A unit with features like remote controls and programmable thermostats are expensive.
Location of the installation
Installing units on high floors or in complex layouts necessitating the relocation of condensers and air handlers to separate areas is time-consuming and costly.
Removing old equipment
Replacement of an existing AC system or outdated ductwork can increase labor costs.
A permit is necessary for installing most multi-zone systems, and the cost may range from $250 to $400, depending on local regulations.
How to Save on Split AC Installation Costs
Although a split AC system may be more cost-effective than a ducted air conditioner, the project will incur considerable expenditure. Professional installation is essential for most projects. However, there are still ways to save money on installation costs. The following tips are some ways to do this.
• Engage a specialist to design a cost-effective ductless air conditioning system for your residence.
• If your budget allows, consider upgrading to a unit with a higher SEER, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio rating. Although the initial cost may be higher, the increased efficiency will result in lower utility bills over time.
• It is advisable to conduct regular maintenance and inspections every six months to extend the lifespan of your system. It can be done through split AC care and assessment using a fitting cleaning kit.
• It is crucial to consider the number of cooling zones required. Some homeowners may only opt to cool the lower level of their residence since they are likely to be during the sweltering times of the day.
Frequently asked questions
How much will it cost to install a 2-ton split system?
Installation costs for a ductless split air conditioning system depends on the area to be cooled and the system’s size, typically measured in tons. Generally, one ton of capacity will cover between 500-600 sq. ft. of space, while two tons can cover 1,000-1,200 sq. ft., with installation costs ranging from $1,400 – $11,200.
Are split air conditioners worth it?
In brief, the answer is yes! Mini-split systems offer a range of advantages over traditional central air units, such as improved energy efficiency, straightforward installation, and heating and cooling capabilities. After installation, you can expect to see a decrease in your energy costs.
Why should I install a split ac system?
The installation of a split air conditioning system offers a variety of advantages.
These systems possess more excellent capabilities than window units, yet the cost to install them is lower than that of a ducted central air conditioning system.
Ductless HVAC systems provide an economical option for older homes that would be costly to retrofit while allowing for customization to match the layout and decor.
Split AC systems often have reduced energy loss through the duct system, making them more efficient than central AC systems.