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Ductless Air Conditioner Cost
Mini-split or “ductless” air conditioners are quieter and less visible than window units, and can be less expensive than adding central air to a house that lacks ducts and the space needed to install ducts.
- Expect to pay $2,000-$5,000 to install a complete ductless mini-split air conditioning system in a 800-1,000-square foot home, or $5,000-$7,000 for a 2,000-square-foot house. Ductless systems are generally twice the cost of window systems and about 30 percent more than installing central air with existing ducts, but can be less expensive than adding central air and ductwork. Some units provide both heat and air conditioning.
Related articles: Central Air Conditioner. Upgrading an Electrical Panel
What should be included:
- A ductless unit is a “split” system just like central air, only smaller and more flexible. The compressor sits outdoors and is connected by a pair of refrigerated lines to one or more air handlers inside the house. The hole in the wall for the lines varies, but is usually about 3 inches in diameter. ThisOldHouse.com [1 ] provides a brief overview and the US Department of Energy lists advantages and disadvantages.
- Designed to blend into the decor, the indoor units are usually about 7 inches deep. They’re smaller than window units, but generally not as unobtrusive as central air vents. These air handlers can be suspended from or mounted flush to a ceiling, hung on a wall or installed as a floor-standing unit.
- Like all air conditioning, ductless systems are rated by a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and capacity is gauged by BTUs (British Thermal Units) or tons. A HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) contractor will calculate how many BTUs are needed to cool a specific area; run lines for the coolant, electricity and drainage; and charge the unit with the correct amount of coolants.
Shopping for a ductless air conditioner:
- Mini-split systems are relatively new and, according to the US Department of Energy, qualified installers and service people may not be easy to find. Manufacturers include Mitsubishi [2 ]. Sanyo and Friedrich. These and other brands are sold online through DuctlessDepot.net [3 ] and MiniSplirtSystems.com [4 ]. Also try for contractor referrals through the Air Conditioning Contractors of America [5 ] .
- Get several estimates. Ask about training and experience. Check references, search for complaints with the Better Business Bureau [6 ] and make sure the contractor is properly bonded and insured, as well as licensed in your state [7 ] .