If you’re thinking about investing in a mini-split system, it’s most likely that you’re considering a wall-mounted system. And, it’s understandable; not only are wall-mounted mini-split systems more affordable, but they are also easier to install.
Above all, wall-mounted air conditioners don’t take up space on the floor, meaning you also don’t have to worry about unnecessary impediments or accidents.
This guide seeks to answer a common question – how much does it cost to install a wall-mounted air conditioner? We’ll explain the primary factors that impact air conditioner installation cost and what budget you need on average, among many common concerns.
How Much does it Cost to Install a Wall-Mounted Air Conditioner?
The average cost to install a wall-mounted air conditioner is $700 to $7,800, depending on several factors, including the type of AC, brand, location, selected contractor, and the complexity of the installation process.
What is a Wall Air Conditioner?
The first step to understanding why mini split air conditioners are so expensive to install and estimating the budget needed to install a wall-mounted system is to understand how wall-mounted air conditioners work.
What is a Wall-Mounted Air Conditioner?
Wall-mounted air conditioners mini split air conditioning systems with indoor air handlers installed on the wall.
Remember that mini-split systems comprise two parts – the outdoor and indoor components. The outdoor component draws warm/cool air from outside, extracts heat from it, then sends the heat indoors via the refrigerant lines.
Meanwhile, the indoor air handler draws cold air from your home, facilitates heat exchange between the refrigerant-bearing evaporator coils and the cooled air from your home, and sends back warm air into the home to keep you and your family warm and comfortable.
While the outdoor unit typically comes in the same design or very few variations, indoor air handlers come in at least six different styles;
- Wall-mounted air handlers
- Floor-mounted air handlers
- Ceiling cassettes
- Ceiling suspended
- Concealed duct systems
- Vertical air handlers
Wall-mounted air handlers are installed to an exterior wall, typically above the window height and the position professionally adjusted for maximum cooling impact throughout the intended space.
Wall-Mounted vs. Through the Wall Air Conditioners
However, beware that wall-mounted air conditioners aren’t the same as through-the-wall air conditioning systems.
Through-the-wall systems are a different category of air conditioners from mini-split systems. They are all-in-one systems installed “into” the wall, meaning you need to tear a large hole in your exterior wall enough to hold the entire AC. Thus, the AC effectively becomes part of the wall, visible inside and outside the house.
On the other hand, wall-mounted systems are mini-split air conditioning units with two parts, an outdoor unit that stays outside and an indoor unit installed inside the house, connected by a refrigerant line, and electrical wiring that run through the wall.
The mini-split system is known as a wall-mounted system if the indoor unit is mounted onto (not built into) the wall.
Advantages of Wall-Mounted Mini Splits
There are a few important advantages of choosing a wall-mounted air conditioning system over other mini-split air-handler styles;
- More affordable: Wall-mounted air handlers are the most affordable of all mini-split air handler styles.
- Easy to install: Wall-mounted air handlers are also the easiest and cheapest to install all mini-split air handler systems.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Installing a Wall-Mounted AC
Let’s now find how much you’re likely to pay for the installation of your newly acquired wall-mounted mini-split system. The cost depends on four main factors;
Size in BTUs
One of the first things installers consider when giving a quote is the size of the mini-split system in British Thermal Units (BTUs).
The technician will assess your home, including the size and insulation quality, to determine how many BTUs you need to keep your and your loved ones comfortable throughout the hot (and cold) months. Then they’ll give you a quote based on the size.
For instance, it costs around $700 to install a one-ton (12,000 BTU) wall-mounted mini-split system and at least $1,500 to install a 24,000 BTU system.
Number of Indoor Units
How many rooms do you want to cool/heat? If it’s just one room, you’ll need a single-zone mini-split system with one outdoor unit and one indoor unit. Single-zone mini-split systems are easier to install. They take a shorter time and involve less work. Therefore, they’re cheaper to install.
However, every additional air handler means more work; therefore, more time is spent on the job. This usually means increased installation costs, given that many HVAC technicians charge an hourly price.
The AC Brand
Two factors are important here. First, different manufacturers make their mini-split systems differently. While some systems, such as Senville units, are straightforward to install, others are incredibly complex, requiring a high level of installation skills. Therefore, installers charge more for the luxury models.
Secondly, some manufacturers insist on professional-only installation and even go ahead to provide a list of professionals who can install their systems – otherwise, you void the warranty. Such systems attract even higher installation rates because of increased demand for the listed installers.
Many wall-mounted mini-split systems arrive complete with all the accessories necessary to install the air conditioning system. In other words, you don’t have to worry about purchasing extra items to complete the installation.
But what happens if a few items are missing from the installation kit? You’ll need to buy the missing parts separately.
For instance, some units arrive without the indoor air handler brackets, costing $150. Separately buying these accessories pushes the total installation costs up.
Type of Contractor
Finally, the contractor you choose also determines how much you pay at the end of the installation project. First off, you may pay more depending on whether the contractor charges a flat-rate fee or hourly.
For instance, hourly fees can add up quickly if you run into issues such as missing accessories and site accessibility challenges.
Of course, the installation services provider will charge more if they’re more qualified or experienced. You may also pay more to hire an HVAC contractor outside your municipality or a different state.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Wall Mounted Air Conditioner?
So, given the above factors, the following are the average wall-mounted air conditioner installation prices at the moment;
Nationally, the average price to install a wall-mounted mini split air conditioner is $5,600. This price is for all mini-split sizes and the number of zones. The average price is $5,600.
The minimum cost of installing wall-mounted mini-split air conditioning units is $1,800. This includes the cost of installing the outdoor unit and indoor air handler.
It also includes the cost of connecting the two components using refrigerant lines. But, of course, you’ll pay less if you’re only replacing the indoor or outdoor unit.
The maximum cost to install a ductless system is $20,000. Remember that it costs significantly more if you’re doing a design project with a designer.
However, for standard air conditioners, the maximum you’ll pay is $20,000. This cost usually applies to extra-large 8-zone units that take close to a full week to install.
So, how much should you expect to pay?
For wall-mounted air conditioners specifically, you should expect to pay between $1,900 and $7,800 for the installation work.
Wall-Mounted Air Conditioner Costs Based on Common Factors
Let’s now discuss how the various factors, including the number of zones and accessories, impact mini split installation prices.
Single vs. Multi-Zone Air Conditioners
Single-zone air conditioners are much cheaper to install compared to multi-zone systems. The average cost to install a single-zone air conditioning unit is $1,800 to $6,000, whereas multi-split air conditioner units cost $500 to $2,000 more to install. This means you can expect to pay between $2,300 and $8,000 to install a multi-zone mini split AC system.
Remember that the required number of zones depends on the size of the house and the number of rooms. For instance, you need at least five different zones for a 5-roomed house.
However, you may need more to split some of the larger rooms. Generally, you should split any rooms larger than 700 square feet into two separate zones for maximum comfort
Location covers two things. First, it refers to your geographic location. Where do you live? In which state and which country? This is important as different regions have different average mini split installation prices.
For instance, it costs 25% more to install a mini-split on the west coast than in the south-central states.
Secondly, location also means the specific position of the air conditioner within the house. For example, do you intend to install it on the first, second, or third floor? And how accessible is the location?
Second and third-floor installations are generally more expensive. Installing the air conditioner in difficult-to-access areas, such as siding, also costs more.
You probably saw this one coming. You cannot install a mini-split AC system without a permit. If you do, you risk jail time and relevant penalties.
A permit is mandatory because mini-split system installation is considered a massive project that directly impacts the lives of the home’s occupants and the neighbors.
In addition, a permit confirms that your installer is licensed and has the necessary knowledge to handle the project. Permits also protect you, the installer, and your neighbors.
The average cost of a mini-split installation permit in the US is $250 to $400, depending on your municipality.
Season of the Year
The installation time is also important. Generally, it’s cheaper to install a mini-split in the off-season when the best installers aren’t in high demand. This means you should aim to install your ductless mini-split system in spring. You may even get a discount during this period.
On the other hand, installations during the peak of the summer season can be very expensive for two main reasons. First, everyone wants to install their ductless mini-splits during the summer.
So, the high demand tends to push prices up. Secondly, HVAC technicians would also love to enjoy their summer holidays. So, you have to pay more to convince them to forego the fun and attend to your project.
Other Considerations to Keep in Mind
- You’ll need to pay for any accessories purchased separately. For instance, if the installation kit arrives without an indoor air handler wall bracket, you’ll need to purchase it separately.
- If the installation requires masonry work or carpentry, you’ll also pay for that separately. This can cost you up to $300.
- Typically, you need an inspection before you begin the installation process. An inspection costs at least $200.
- You need a new multi-face electric circuit for any air conditioning unit larger than 12,000 BTUs. This can cost a few hundred dollars.
- You also must be prepared to pay the electrician separately. This is especially necessary where significant electrical work is needed.
Wal-Mounted AC vs. Ceiling Mounted AC Installation Costs
While wall-mounted air conditioners cost between $1,900 and $7,800 to install, ceiling-mounted mini-splits are even more expensive to set up, costing $2,600 to $9,000. Meanwhile, floor-mounted mini-splits cost $2,700 to $8,000 to install.
How Much does it Cost to Install a Wall Mounted Air Conditioner FAQs
How long does it take to install a wall air conditioner?
Generally, installing a single-zone wall-mounted mini-split air conditioner takes one day. Meanwhile, multi-zone systems take 3-5 days to install, depending on the number of indoor air handlers.
Are wall air conditioners expensive to run?
No, it’s not more expensive to run a wall-mounted mini split air conditioner as the air handler design is more about aesthetics than function. On the same note, keep in mind that mini-split systems are 30% cheaper to run than standard air conditioners.
How much does it cost to install an air conditioner in one room?
The average cost to install a single-zone ductless air conditioning system is $1,800 to $6,000. Wall-mounted systems are the cheapest to install, while vertical air handler systems are the most expensive.
Why are wall air conditioners more expensive?
A wall-mounted ductless mini-split system is more expensive to install than a traditional air conditioner because of the added necessity to install each air handler one by one. It prolongs the installation process and even requires a higher skill set.
Do wall air conditioners need to be vented?
No, wall air conditioners do not require ventilation because they don’t produce fumes. Venting systems are only required for furnaces that produce harmful combustion gases.
It costs between $700 and $7,800 to install a wall-mounted air conditioner, on average. However, the actual price can be higher or lower, depending on the size of the AC in BTUs, the number of zones, and whether you need additional accessories to complete the installation. Nevertheless, rarely do the prices exceed $20,000.