The cost of a new heating and air conditioning system varies widely. This guide covers all the details including Low, High, and Average costs, plus the important details about installation and accessories.
Most homeowners spend between $6,500 and $9,700 for a standard central HVAC system that includes either a central air conditioner and furnace combination or a heat pump and air handler, not including the installation of new ductwork.
For an installed central heating and cooling system, you can expect to pay about $4,200 on the low end and more than $14,500 for premium equipment and installation.
Let’s dig into the numbers. The first table covers complete systems. Tables below provide more cost detail and comparison to other heating and air conditioning options.
Standard Split HVAC System Costs:
$4,200 to $6,300
$6,500 to $9,700
$10,300 to $14,900
* The above costs include system components, refrigerant line set and refrigerant, plenum, if needed, new thermostat and miscellaneous installation supplies.
* The cost of equipment, liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance and travel, contractor’s overhead expenses, plus fair profit are included.
The limits are off for ductless heating and cooling systems, as double-digit growth in installations for six years running demonstrates.
Mini split HVAC systems are no longer just for additions, rooms far from central heating that are too hot or too cold, or locations where installing or extending ductwork is impossible.
New technology and competitive costs are behind the growing number of applications including new construction.
This comprehensive ductless heating and cooling guide covers costs, system types, options, features, efficiency, pros and cons, and more.
Did you know?
Ductless mini split outdoor units are now being produced for cold climates. For example, the Fujitsu Halcyon XLTH Extra Low Temp system is an impressive 33 SEER ductless system that provides heating in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Haier America, Samsung, Friedrich, and several other brands have introduced cold climate ductless heat pumps. A base pan heater in these outdoor units allows condensate to drain without freezing.
How Much Does It Cost?
Mini split heat pumps cost higher than standard split systems, but significantly less than geothermal system costs.
Small, single-zone systems with installation start as low as $1,900. Large, complex systems can cost as much as $13,500 installed. Here are the average installed costs for three common system sizes. There’s more detail in various sections below.
Single zone systems: 1 indoor unit (6,000-36,000 BTU): $1,900 to $7,500
Average multi-zone systems: 2-4 indoor units (18,000-36,000 BTU total): $6,600-$10,500
Large multi-zone systems: 4+ indoor units (up to 60,000 BTU total): $9,250-$15,500
Here’s a quick breakdown of mini split HVAC costs for equipment and installation:
Outdoor unit cost: $950 to $5,800 (9K to 60K BTU)
Indoor unit cost: $200 to $2,000 (6K to 36K BTU)
Accessory package: $250-$1,950
Ductless HVAC system installation (warrantied labor) cost: $700 to $5,000
The accessory package may include a line set, drain tubing, wiring, thermostat, remote control, additional refrigerant when indoor units are distant from the outdoor unit, condensate pan heater for cold climates and other equipment required for installation.
Did you know?
Knowing the technical terms will assist you when researching your options, shopping and discussing the project with an installer. In technical terms, outdoor units are also called condensers.
A condenser contains the compressor that circulates refrigerant and the condensing coil that disperses heat during an AC mode and collects heat in heating mode.
Indoor units are also called air handlers and evaporators, and there are several types (explained in the section of Indoor Unit Types below).
Pro Tip: You’ll spend less on equipment and installation when you choose one large outdoor unit that supports multiple indoor zones rather than several separate single-zone ductless systems. In a multi-zone system, the climate of each room or zone can be independently controlled for customized comfort.
Mini Split System Cost Factors
Ductless mini split system costs vary widely based on:
Whether it is AC-only ($-$$$) or a heat pump ($$-$$$)
Cost rises as energy efficiency goes up.
Cost rises with the size of the outdoor unit, though again, one outdoor unit costs less than two outdoor units with the same cumulative capacity (1-48,000 BTU unit vs. 2-24,000 BTU units, for example).
The number, capacity and type of indoor units (single zone vs. multi-zone)
Indoor units with variable-speed fans for better climate control cost 15% to 25% more.