The average labor price to install a mini split system is $750 per outdoor unit and $975 per indoor unit. That makes the average labor cost $1,725 to install a single zone mini split system and $2,675 to install a 2 zone system.
Total labor cost to install a mini split is $1,250 to more than $11,000 when considering systems from 1 to 8 zones. In areas of the country with a very high cost of living, installation costs up to 30% higher, or $1,600 to $14,000.
Complete mini split installation labor costs are broken down below by system capacity and the number of indoor units installed.
Mini Split Labor Cost Only
It is not easy to find JUST THE LABOR COST OF INSTALLING A MINI SPLIT!
Sorry to shout, but every search yields results for installation cost of the entire system – the price of the equipment and what you pay to the contractor to install it.
This page focuses on only the cost of labor to install a ductless or mini split HVAC system. The expense of the equipment is not included.
*Pro-installation: If you are shopping systems online and want to know the total cost of the job, this page gives you the labor side of the equation
*DIY: Or this is what you can save by installing your mini split system. Just keep in mind that you’ll need DIY mini split equipment that comes pre-charged with refrigerant.
How Much Is Mini Split Installation Labor?
This chart shows mini split installation labor costs for 1 outdoor unit plus 1 to 8 indoor units.
|Number||Wall, Floor Units||Recessed Ceiling, Ducted Units|
|of Zones||Labor Cost||Labor Cost|
|1||$1,250 – $2,000||$1,550 – $2,450|
|2||$1,950 – $3,000||$2,475 – $3,800|
|3||$2,450 – $3,850||$3,400 – $4,950|
|4||$3,100 – $4,500||$4,350 – $6,150|
|5||$3,750 – $5,400||$5,275 – $7,500|
|6||$4,350 – $6,300||$6,200 – $8,800|
|7||$4,950 – $7,050||$7,150 – $10,150|
|8||$5,575 – $8,100||$8,100 – $11,450|
Installation labor cost factors are listed and explained below. They allow you to narrow your estimates to give you a better understanding of what to expect.
Labor Cost to Install 3 Zone Mini Split
The 3 zone mini split installation labor cost is $2,450 to $5,450.
The major cost factors are the type of indoor units installed and job site complexity.
|Capacity||Labor Cost||Total Installed Cost|
|27000 BTU||$2,450 – $4,275||$5,900 – $12,250|
|30000 BTU||$2,625 – $4,625||$6,250 – $12,475|
|33000 BTU||$2,815 – $5,000||$6,525 – $12,900|
|36000 BTU||$3,000 – $5,275||$6,950 – $13,250|
|48000 BTU||$3,175 – $5,450||$7,300 – $14,000+|
Labor Cost to Install 2 Zone Mini Split
Expect labor cost estimates of around $2,000 to $3,800 to install a 2 zone mini split system.
|Capacity||Labor Cost||Total Installation Cost|
|18000 BTU||$1,900 – $2,750||$4,450 – $10,600|
|24000 BTU||$2,025 – $2,900||$4,575 – $10,950|
|27000 BTU||$2,100 – $3,150||$4,700 – $11,100|
|30000 BTU||$2,150 – $3,250||$5,125 – $11,650|
|33000 BTU||$2,200 – $3,425||$5,675 – $11,900|
|36000 BTU||$2,275 – $3,600||$5,900 – $12,400|
|48000 BTU||$2,400 – $3,800||$6,450 – $13,250|
If wall or floor mounted indoor units are installed, then the labor charge will be $2,000 to $3,000. When ceiling or ducted indoor units are used, the charges rise to $2,500 to $3,800.
As with all systems, the major labor cost factors are the type of indoor unit and the complexity of installation. Local cost of living also impacts labor rates by as much as 30%.
Labor Cost to Install 4 Zone Mini Split
The 4 zone mini split labor fees are $3,100 to $6,150. Most homeowners pay around $4,900 in installation labor charges.
Once you consider multizone mini split systems with a large number of indoor units, a branch box might need to be installed. A branch box is a piece of equipment with valves that distributes the flow of refrigerant and that contains a mini condenser that returns refrigerant to a liquid state. This will boost the labor cost by up to $1,000.
Labor Cost to Install 5 Zone Mini Split
The 5 zone mini split installation cost is $3,750 to $7,500. The average expense is $5,400 for labor to install a multizone mini split system with 5 indoor units.
The most significant factors are the type of indoor units installed, the use of a branch box when needed and the complexity of the job site. For example, installation of ceiling indoor units through a cramped attic in heat over 100F takes more time and is much more difficult than working inside the home to install wall or floor units.
Home Depot Mini Split Installation Cost
Home Depot does not advertise its labor rates for mini split installation. Instead, the information indicates that you can get a free estimate on installation, but the total charges can only be determined when an HVAC technician comes to your home to sell you a mini split system.
Currently, the Home Depot sells mini split systems from 1 zone to 5 zone. All 3, 4 and 5 zone systems include wall mounted indoor units. They are easier to install than ducted and ceiling units, so the installation labor cost is lower. Single zone and 2 zone systems are offered with at least one ceiling unit.
Based on insider’s research, here are price ranges for Home Depot mini split installation labor.
|Number of Zones||Installation Labor Cost|
|1 Zone / Single Zone||$1,700 – $2,600|
|2 Zones / Dual Zone||$2,600 – $3,875|
|3 Zones / Tri Zone||$3,200 – $5,000|
|4 Zones / Quad Zone||$4,100 – $6,000|
|5 Zones||$5,000 – $7,500|
Note: Home Depot uses third-party installers. It contracts with local HVAC companies rather than employing its own installers. You have no control over who your Home Depot contracts with to install your equipment. And here’s a tip: Most HVAC pros that are highly experienced with excellent customer service and ratings have all the business they want.
This means that the installers who contract with Home Depot are hungry for work. It could be that they are just starting in business. Or that their reputation is poor, and they’re not getting repeat business or word-of-mouth referrals. Always check an HVAC contractor’s online Google ratings and other reviews before hiring.
What Is Included in Mini Split Installation Labor?
There’s a long checklist for installing a mini split HVAC system. Here are the main steps – the order of them might vary based on installer preferences.
- Perform a Load Calculation (like Manual J) to determine the proper size for the mini split system.
- Design the system including the number and location of indoor units.
- If necessary – Remove and dispose of old equipment.
- Set the outdoor unit on the ground or mount it on the wall.
- Install the indoor unit on the wall, floor or in the ceiling. Connect it to the electrical power supply. (Running a new circuit to the install location is a separate expense).
- Drill a hole in the exterior wall and install a sleeve in it to run the various lines through.
- Connect the power wiring, condensate drain line and refrigerant line to the indoor unit.
- Connect the lines to the outdoor unit.
- Install a Quick Disconnect box outside near the outdoor unit.
- Optional (and extra $$$) – Install a wall thermostat (to be used instead of the remote).
- Unless you have a mini split designed for DIY installation: Purge with nitrogen and vacuum the refrigerant lines, if necessary. Charge the system with the appropriate refrigerant (license required).
- Flush condensate lines to ensure they are clear.
- Start up, test and tune the outdoor unit and each indoor unit.
- If a thermostat is installed, program it per the homeowner’s preferences.
- Register the warranty for the system.
Mini Split Installation Cost Factors
In order of importance, here is what affects mini split installation labor charges.
The type of indoor units – Wall mounted and floor mounted are easier to install, so charges are lower, than when installing ceiling and ducted indoor units.
Job complexity – Running lines in the attic or crawlspace or around obstacles involves more labor and a higher price estimate.
Distance from the outdoor unit to indoor units – The further the distance, the longer it takes to run the various lines (refrigerant, power and drain).
Indoor unit capacity – Larger units take longer to install and might be a 2-person job. That increases labor time and cost.
Why do mini split systems cost so much to install?
The main reason is that each zone requires a separate installation. A central AC or heat pump has one indoor unit that connects to ductwork. But a ductless system has an indoor unit, rather than a heat/AC grate in each zone.
How many hours does it take to install a mini split?
The minimum installation time for a single zone mini split is 8 hours. Multizone systems can take more than 30 hours to install.
|of Zones||in Hours|
|1||9 to 12|
|2||11 to 16|
|3||14 to 24|
|4||18 to 30|
|5||24 to 36|
|6||30 to 42|
|7||35 to 48|
|8||40 to 55|
How is labor cost determined?
The factors are:
- Wages to installers
- Overhead needs such as equipment, trucks, various types of insurance
- Profit – HVAC companies make a profit of 5% to 20%. Most seek to clear at least 10%.
One contractor shared its formula: Wages x 1.5 + $100 = Labor Rate.
For example, HVAC technicians make $20 to $30 per hour according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If two installers are working on the job at an average wage, the formula is:
$25 x 2 + $100 x 1.4 = $210 per hour for labor.