We get a lot of questions from Minnesota homeowners about ductless heating and cooling units.
So in case you have the same questions, we’ve decided to share the most-asked questions about ductless heating and cooling systems:
- How much does a ductless unit cost?
- Ductless system vs. central air—which is better?
- Ductless system or window unit—which is better?
In this article, we’ll give our answer for each of these questions. Let’s start with question #1…
How much does a ductless heating and cooling unit cost?
It costs $3,500 to $15,000 to install a ductless system in Minnesota.
Why the huge price range?
Well, it depends on these 4 important cost factors:
- Number of rooms in your home
- The type of ductless system you choose
- Installation factors
- The contractor you hire
Let’s look at these factors in more detail...
#1: Number of rooms in your home
Basically, the more rooms you have, the more it will cost to install a ductless system. That’s because each room you want to have cooled needs an indoor unit to go in the room.
The good news is, 1 outdoor unit can serve up to 4 indoor units, so you may only need 1 outdoor unit for your home.
#2: Unit specifications
Ductless systems are like cars: some models have features that make them better, which also makes them more expensive.
You’ll want to consider these cost factors as you buy a ductless system:
- Cooling/heating capacity: The more capacity your system has to cool/heat your home, the more expensive it will be. Cooling/heating capacity is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units), and the more BTUs a system has, the higher its heating/cooling capacity. A heating/cooling specialist will help you determine how many BTUs you need for your home.
- Energy efficiency: The more efficient the ductless system, the more expensive it will be. Energy efficiency is measured by the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. So, basically, a higher SEER comes with a higher price tag but lower monthly energy bills.
- Additional features: If your ductless heating/cooling system has higher-end features such as a wireless remote control, adjustable airflow, or multiple fan speeds it’ll be more expensive.
#3: Installation factors
Installation factors like your home’s construction (how easy it is to install the system) and voltage tolerance (how many volts your home’s electrical system can handle) also affect the price to install a ductless system. When a contractor gives you an installation quote, they’ll walk you through these cost factors.
#4: The contractor you hire
Some contractors charge more than others for their installation services. As a general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. A cheap but poorly installed ductless system leads to expensive repairs down the road. So it’s worth having it installed correctly in the beginning, even if it’s a little more expensive upfront.
Generally, a contractor with good customer satisfaction is an indication they’ll do a good job on your ductless installation.
For a more in-depth answer of this question, read our article, “Cost to Install Ductless Air Conditioning in Older Minnesota Home.”
Ductless system vs. central air—which is better?
This question boils down to one factor: whether or not your home already has air ducts.
You see, a central air system requires ductwork, and adding ductwork to a home that doesn’t have it is very expensive (up to $10,000 just for ductwork installation alone).
So here’s our answer: If you don’t have ductwork, go with a ductless system. But, if your home already has ductwork, stick with a central air heating and cooling system (no sense in not using your ducts if you have them).
Read our related article, “Ductless mini-split AC vs. Central Cooling for Older Homes in Minneapolis.”
Ductless system or window unit—which is better?
The answer to this question comes down to money.
A ductless mini-split system is more expensive, but it’s also safer, more convenient and comfortable than a window AC.
But, if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to go with a window AC or heater.
Learn more about this question in our article, “Window AC Unit vs. Ductless Mini-Split: Which Is Best for an Older MN Home?”