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What to Know About Ductless Mini Split Costs

America has joined the mini split revolution that began in Europe and Asia, and they have become one of the major stories in HVAC over the last several years. The future is definitely here-now.

With ductless mini splits gaining popularity due to their energy efficiency and custom zone control, you might be wondering if it's worth it to replace your conventional HVAC system with a ductless one. As variable speed inverter technology has grown, providing reliable heat to as low as 22 below zero, the versatility and affordability of mini split systems have led to a surge in popularity and research by homeowners.

In this post, we'll dive into the costs associated with ductless mini split air conditioners and discuss whether or not they're worth switching from a conventional HVAC system in your home or space.. Read on to learn more:

What is a Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioner?

A mini split air conditioner consists of two parts: an outdoor compressor and an indoor air handling unit. The outdoor compressor connects to the indoor handler via refrigerant lines that carry and return fluid, accompanied by an electrical connect line. Multi zone compressors can support multiple indoor air handling units, which make up zones throughout the home.

Mini splits can both heat and cool properties, by way of a reversible piston. In the summer months, the outdoor compressor works to compress the refrigerant to deliver cool air via the indoor air handler. In the winter months, it can expand the refrigerant to deliver warm air to the property via the air handler.

Ductless Mini Split Cost: What You Need to Know

If you are interested in a mini split system to replace your current central air system- or are building a new home and deciding between a conventional HVAC system and ductless air conditioning-here's a comprehensive look at some of the cost factors to consider regarding mini splits:

  • System costs: A single-zone mini split system ranges between a few hundred dollars up to $4,000, depending on tonnage, efficiency standards and brand. A multi-zone, whole-house system may range between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on these factors.
  • Installation: If you're having a mini split system professionally installed, it may add $1,000 to $2,000 to the upfront cost. However, some of today's mini splits are designed for DIY installation. If you opt to go the DIY route, the only cost is the time commitment necessary for installation. DIY savings can be sizable, so if you and your family are confident and handy, DIY may be the best answer ever for you and your home’s HVAC. Either way it is important to note that the increased efficiencies and zone control features, as well as the advanced inverter technology have a major impact on your energy costs year-round, immediately.We'll get into this more in the next section.
  • Rebates: Depending on the type of system you install, you may be able to recoup some of these upfront costs. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, mini split systems are eligible for a tax credit of up to 30 percent of your cost of purchase up to $2,000. These rebates are significant and encourage better energy practices for your home.
Even with these upfront costs, more households are beginning to install mini split systems due to the long-term cost savings they offer.

Long-Term Cost Savings with Ductless AC Mini Splits

We already discussed the federal rebates that can help offset some of the upfront costs of a mini split ductless unit. However, the true long-term cost savings are in energy savings. Mini splits simply operate more efficiently than conventional HVAC systems, for reasons including:

  • Custom heating and cooling:Multi-zone mini split systems offer households the ability to customize their heating and cooling preferences. For example, the air conditioning can be turned down on the mini split in the living room overnight when nobody is occupying the space and the zone can be turned up in the bedroom where you're sleeping. With a conventional HVAC system, the thermostat is set to deliver the same heating or cooling for every room in the home.
  • There's no duct loss:It's estimated that duct loss accounts for up to 40 percent of all energy consumption with a conventional HVAC system. Duct loss occurs when hot or cool air escapes from cracks, gaps or holes in the duct system. Since mini splits are ductless, there's no duct loss.
  • Less maintenance:Mini splits are known for being easy to maintain. Simply wiping down condenser coils, cleaning or changing the filters and cleaning the outside of the system can keep your unit working better for longer. Conversely, HVAC tune-ups and routine service can cost hundreds of dollars per year.
  • Longevity:When maintained well, mini splits can last for upwards of 20 years. AC units, conversely, only generally have a lifespan of about 15 years.
When you consider all of the following, it's easy to see the difference a mini split system can make in your household versus a conventional HVAC system. They can reduce heating and cooling costs up to 30 percent, are more maintenance-friendly and tend to last longer than conventional HVAC units. It all translates to a greater return on investment.

Are Ductless Mini Splits More Expensive than traditional HVAC systems?

As we've noted throughout this post, the upfront cost of a mini split system can be somewhat greater than a conventional HVAC system. The typical new AC system tends to cost between $4,000 and $8,000. A new single-zone mini split system may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $3,000. A multi-zone system generally ranges anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The number of zones needed to effectively heat or cool your property will depend on the size of your home.

However, the long-term energy savings with ductless air conditioners more than makes up for this higher upfront cost over time. This is especially true as energy prices continue to increase. And considering that mini splits can work effectively and efficiently for up to 20 years, they can prove to be a worthwhile investment.

Are Ductless Air Conditioners Worth it?

We already outlined some of the key benefits of ductless mini split systems - it's up to you to determine if they'd be a good fit in your home. Some ideal situations for installing mini split systems include:

  • New construction homes
  • Home or office additions
  • As a replacement to central air, especially if you're serious about reducing your property's carbon footprint and saving money on energy costs
Beyond the energy efficiency and ability to customize temperatures per zone, other benefits of mini splits include:

  • They operate quietly, with an average noise level of 19 decibels.
  • There are multiple mini split options. Concealed mini splits are smaller and tend to be mounted on ceilings, while floor-mounted mini split units are also available.
  • The ability to customize your system to respond to your individual needs and the challenges presented by your home. Mini splits allow real zone control and maximize your ability to monitor and deploy heating and cooling only when and where needed.

Contact Today

For more information on ductless mini split costs, contact today and talk to one of our trained mini split experts. We are ready to help you find your ideal “mini split fit”. Experience the Direct Difference-today!
June 14, 2023
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