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The Complete Guide to Installing a Split Air Conditioner: Costs and Considerations

Are you considering installing a split air conditioner in your home or commercial building, but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Installing an air conditioning unit in your home or commercial building is a significant investment and seems like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be! You just need to know about the different types of air conditioning systems available and the factors that affect their installation costs.

Installing an air conditioning unit in your home or commercial building is a significant investment. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about installing a split air conditioner- including the costs and considerations involved. Whether you are a homeowner, commercial-building owner, or property management firm, this article will provide you with the information you need to make an informed air conditioning installation decision.

What is a Ductless Mini-Split?

A ductless mini-split air conditioning system, commonly referred to as a split AC system, is an air conditioning unit that does not require ductwork to distribute cooled air throughout a building. Instead, it has an outdoor condensing unit and one (or more) indoor air handling unit that is connected by a conduit. The conduit contains the refrigerant line, power cable, and drainage pipe, and it runs through a small hole in the wall. Split AC systems are more energy-efficient than central air conditioning systems because they allow you to cool only the rooms you want to cool.

Split AC Installation Cost in the USA:

When it comes to split air conditioning systems, each air handler cools a “zone,” which is typically a single room. However, if you have an open floor plan, one zone may cover multiple rooms. Keep in mind that a multi-zone system will cost more due to both the additional materials and installation requirements.

The cost of installing a ductless mini-split air conditioner ranges from $3,000 to $9,000 on average. The total cost will depend on various factors, such as the number of zones, the size of the system, and the complexity of the installation. The cost can be as low as $600 for a single-zone system, while a whole-home multi-zone system can cost up to $20,000 or more. Hiring an HVAC contractor for the installation can add an additional $300 to $6,000 to the overall cost.

Cost Factors:

It’s essential to know about the several factors that can impact the overall cost of mini-split AC installation. These include the unit’s features, such as a remote control or programmable thermostat, as well as the cost of installation, which can range from $65 to $250 per hour.

Additionally, factors such as the location of the installation, the need for permits (to install multi-zone systems) – depending on local regulations, and the removal of old equipment can all contribute to higher costs. SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings can also affect the price, with more efficient systems costing more upfront but ultimately resulting in lower energy bills. It’s also worth noting that installation costs tend to be higher in the summer when demand for AC technicians is at its peak.

Mini vs Multi Split AC:

Split air conditioners come in two types: mini-split and multi-split systems. Mini-split systems have one indoor and outdoor unit, while multi-split systems have multiple indoor units connected to one outdoor unit. Mini-splits are more energy-efficient and less expensive, making them ideal for small areas, while multi-splits are better suited for larger spaces or multiple rooms. With a mini-split system, all indoor units have the same temperature and are controlled by one thermostat, while multi-split systems have individual thermostats for each unit.

How Split AC System Works:

A split AC system uses refrigerant lines to transfer heat between indoor and outdoor components. The indoor unit contains an evaporator to cool the air and a blower to send it into the room. The outdoor unit has a compressor to turn refrigerant into a liquid, expelling heat with fans and sending cool air indoors. A ductless mini-split system can cool more air than window units and provides the option of different temperatures in different rooms.

DIY vs. Professional Split AC Installation:

While some single-zone mini-split systems can be installed by homeowners, it’s generally recommended to hire a licensed HVAC professional to install a split AC system. Professional installation ensures proper installation, maximum energy efficiency, and avoids the risk of voiding the unit’s warranty.

Multi-zone systems require professional installation, as they require specialized knowledge and expertise. While DIY installation may save on labor costs, it may lead to decreased energy efficiency, higher utility bills, and a shorter lifespan for the unit.

Split AC Installation – Cost Saving tips:

Installing a split AC system can be expensive, but there are ways to save money. Some ways to do that are by installing during the offseason, choosing a less complex location, opting for a smaller or mini-split system, and looking for rebates or incentives from utility companies. Some HVAC contractors also offer financing options to spread out the cost of the installation. Regular maintenance can also help extend the lifespan of your system and save on repair costs.


In conclusion, installing an AC system can be a complex and expensive project, but with proper planning and professional help, you can ensure a comfortable living space while also saving money in the long run.

If you live in Frisco or the surrounding area, it is important to consult with an experienced HVAC contractor for AC installation Frisco. They can help you customize the most cost-efficient ductless air conditioner system for your home, perform professional installation, and offer financing options to make the process more manageable.

Remember to perform regular maintenance on your AC system and take advantage of rebates and tax credits offered by the federal government and utility companies.


  • What is the lifespan of a split air conditioner?

    The health and efficiency of your AC depend on a number of factors, including whether or not you properly maintained the unit throughout its lifetime. But on average modern air conditioners can last between 15-20 years, and older air conditioners last around 10-12 years.

  • How much maintenance does a split air conditioner require?

    Even without noticeable defects, it’s recommended to get the AC checked at least once a year to ensure it’s performing at its best.

  • How frequently should I clean my split air conditioner?

    During seasons of regular cooling, it’s recommended to clean the exterior and replace the filters every month or two.

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