How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ductless Heat Pump?
$1,800 - $10,000
The cost to install a ductless heat pump can range from a low cost of $1,800 to a high cost of $7,542 for the average size single story home. It will depend how many mini split heat pump units you want to install in your home. If you want to install a heat pump air handler unit in 4 different rooms or zones, you could expect to pay up to $10,000 or more for the units and associated materials.
Here is a common price breakdown you could expect to see based off of typical ductless heat pump installation costs:
Mini Split Single Zone Heat Pump
1 Indoor Heat Pump Unit could handle anywhere from 6,200 BTUs to 35,000 BTUs and be used in a small home or garage to maintain heat and cooling. You could expect to pay around $1,850 for installation.
Multi Zone Heat Pump System (4 Units)
If you replace or install a 4 zone (rooms) ductless mini split heat pump system you could expect to pay anywhere from $8,500 to $10,000 for installation costs.
Large Multi-Zone Heat Pump System (5+ Units)
A homeowner installing a large mini split ductless heat pump system with 5 or more units could expect to pay more for materials as well as labor needed to get all of them installed in each room. You could expect to pay $15,000 or more depending on local labor rates and brand you choose to install.
Other Factors Affecting Installation Costs
Total installation costs will vary on a few main things that a qualified HVAC installer will be able to help guide you through and give you a proper cost estimate. A few of the things you will need to consider are:
The bigger your home, the more space you will have to heat and cool. If you want a full system that covers and maintains the entire home, you will most likely want a multi zone system for all rooms you will be utilizing regularly.
Ductless Heat Pump Energy Efficiency:
The energy efficient levels of your ductless heat pump unit will also affect cost. The more energy efficient your unit is, the more you will pay for upfront installation costs. However, you will save in the long run on lowered utility bills. Using the yellow energy star rating label can be very helpful for you to make an informed installation decision. You will want to be cognitive of the types of ratings that influence a ductless heat pump’s energy such as:
HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor: This rating will give you insight into the amount of electrical output to heat input you will want for your home. In areas with colder climates you will want at least a 10 HSPF.
SEER Ratings – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio: This rating is comparable to the HSPF but for cooling input vs electrical output of your ductless mini split unit. Most units start at 16 SEER but can go as high as 23 SEER.
Energy Star Ratings – Energy star ratings are simple and efficient ways to get a feel for if the ductless heat pump you want to install has a good energy efficiency level.
Additional Cost Add-ons:
Adding insulation to your home’s attic
Sealing off heat and air leaks in your home around the doors and windows.
Adding a low-e film to your windows can also be helpful to save money with a ductless heat pump.
Ready to start your project?
What is a Ductless Heat Pump?
Ductless heat pumps are a complete all in one HVAC system that allows you to cool and heat your home at a much more energy efficient level than other heating systems like a gas furnace. Flexible and small in size, ductless heat pump, also referred to as a mini-split heat pump system is a good choice for homes that do not have a ductwork system installed throughout the house. They are versatile as well as economical options for homeowners.
A ductless heat pump system consists of three main components:
Outdoor Heat Pump Unit:
An outside air unit, also known a condenser, houses the compressor and heat pump fan and usually is installed on a flat concrete pad ($150 to pour concrete if needed) or on the side of the house.
Indoor Air Handler Unit (AHU)
The indoor unit also known as an air handler is usually installed at a high point on the wall, on the baseboards below, or on the ceiling. You can have a single zone system with only one AHU or a multi zone system with 5 or more air handler units.
Heat Pump Refrigerant Line
A heat pump system has a line that a small hole is drilled from the outdoor unit to the correlating indoor air handler units through your walls. This line carries the electric cables, refrigerant lines, and condensate line.
What Size Ductless Heat Pump Do I Need?
A ductless heat pump system size is a very important factor in order to figure out what type of heating and cooling capability your home will need based off of your home’s size and the extremities of temperatures in your area. You will need a mini split ductless system with the capability to handle more BTUs per square foot of home depending on the zone you live in. Use or climate zone BTU guide below to decide which unit size you should install in your home.
Depending on the square footage of each zone you are trying to heat or cool you will want to have a certain amount of BTU capability for your square footage and climate. Use the following chart to decide what size ductless mini split heat pump you will need for each zone or room:
Ductless Heat Pump Size Needed
Ductless Heat Pump BTUs Needed
Room Square Ft.
150 to 250 sf.
250 to 300 sf.
300 to 350 sf.
350 to 400 sf.
400 to 450 sf.
450 to 550 sf.
550 to 700 sf.
700 to 1,000 sf.
1,000 to 1,200 sf.
1,200 to 1,400 sf.
1,500 sf. +
Pros of Ductless Heat Pump System
A major advantage to ductless air conditioning systems is that it works wonders as a retro-fit (add-on) to non-ducted systems and when installing, you do not incur the cost of ductwork installation.
Ductless heat pumps are also easier to install compared to other HVAC system. All that is necessary for the contractor is to bore a three-inch hole through whichever wall you choose. The hole is for the conduit and cables.
The air-handler has a lot of flexibility when it comes to positioning. The ductless heat pump unit(s) can be hung directly on a wall, mounted flush against a ceiling, or hung/suspended from a ceiling. Some brands also offer free-standing floor models.
Cons of Ductless Mini Heat Pumps
While fast, quick, convenient, and an economical source for providing additional heat to an already established heating method, a ductless heat pump does not provide the same heating or cooling power of a forced-air system. The ductless system is used more as an enhancement versus the main source of heating or cooling in areas with medium to heavy winter climates.