Ductless air conditioners (also known as mini-split ACs) can be a great option to cool a single room or your entire home. If you’re considering a mini-split air conditioner, the first thing you’re probably wondering about is how much one of these systems will cost. In San Antonio, the cost to install a ductless air conditioner ranges from $2,800 to $8,900.

What you’ll end up paying within that range depends on the following factors:

  • The number of ductless units you need
  • The specifications and features of each unit
  • Installation considerations
  • The contradictor you hire

To give you a better idea of what you could pay for your ductless AC installation, we’ll go into detail about each of the cost factors listed above.

Cost factor #1: The number of ductless units you need

At the most basic level, a ductless AC system consists of two units, one indoors and one outdoors. The more indoor and outdoor ductless units you need, the more you’ll pay for the installation.

The indoor and outdoor units of a ductless mini-split AC system

The indoor unit is designed to cool only one area or space in your home. So, the number of indoor units you need depends on the number of rooms or spaces you want cooled.

For example, let’s say you want to cool 3 rooms in your home. That means you’ll need 3 indoor units, one in each room, and at least 1 outdoor unit (an outdoor unit can support up to 8 indoor units).

An HVAC professional can help you determine how many ductless units you need based on your cooling needs.

Cost factor #2: The specifications and features of each unit

The cost of each individual ductless unit will vary, depending on its…

  • BTU output
  • SEER rating
  • Comfort and convenience features

BTU output

The BTU (British Thermal Unit) output of an air conditioner refers to its cooling capacity. The higher the BTU output of an AC, the more heat the unit can remove from your home.

When it comes to cost, the higher the BTU output of a ductless unit, the more expensive it will be.

That said, a higher BTU output isn’t always better. In fact, getting a ductless unit with too much cooling capacity can lead to problems such as:

  • Uneven cooling throughout the room
  • Increased wear and tear on your AC
  • Higher-than-normal energy bills
  • To help you avoid these problems, an HVAC contractor can perform a load calculation, which will tell you what BTU output is best for the space you want to cool.

SEER rating

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it measures the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. SEER ratings for ductless air conditioners typically range from 21 to 30. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the ductless unit will be. Increased energy efficiency ultimately leads to lower monthly energy bills.

However, ductless units with higher SEER ratings will also be more expensive upfront. An HVAC contractor can help you determine if the energy savings provided by a high-SEER unit will justify the higher upfront cost.

Comfort and convenience features

Some mini-split AC manufacturers offer premium features like advanced comfort and convenience —at an additional cost.

Examples of comfort and convenience features that will raise the cost of the unit include:

  • Multi-speed fans
  • Reusable air filters
  • Adjustable airflow options
  • Dehumidification features
  • And more…

Cost factor #3: Installation considerations

The following installation considerations may raise the overall cost of the project:

  • Installing multiple ductless units increases labor time, which makes the installation more expensive.
  • Upgrading your home’s electrical panel to accommodate the ductless units requires extra labor and additional parts, which raises the cost.
  • Needing to run electrical and refrigerant lines through sensitive wall material like stucco may require the help of a carpenter, which means an additional cost. A carpenter is necessary since these lines connect the indoor and outdoor units through a 3″ hole in the wall.

Cost factor #4: The contractor you hire

A mini-split air conditioner is a big investment. You want to hire a contractor who will install the units correctly and go the extra mile to make sure it works perfectly so that you get the most for your money.

When it comes to AC installation, you get what you pay for. Some HVAC contractors seek to attract customers by offering lower prices, but they cut corners during the installation, which just means more expense and hassle down the road for you.

Instead of just looking at price alone, we suggest asking yourself the following questions before hiring a contractor to determine if they are experienced and capable of doing high-quality work.

  • Is the contractor licensed and insured? If so, that means the contractor instead of you will be financially responsible in the event of an accident.
  • Does the contractor have good online reviews? Good online reviews indicate that other San Antonio homeowners had a good experience working with the contractor, which means you likely will too. You can look at sites like Better Business Bureau, Google and Yelp to see customer reviews.
  • Does the contractor offer warranties or guarantees on their labor? This shows the contractor will stand behind their work, which gives you more peace of mind that they’ll do the installation correctly the first time.
  • Does the contractor offer upfront, written estimates? Nobody likes to get a bill with unexpected costs on it. Make sure the contractor you hire offers upfront estimates (in writing) so there are no surprises when the project is finished.

Want a quote to install a ductless system for your home? Our comfort specialists will give you upfront and honest recommendations on a mini-split system that fits your comfort needs and budget. For more information about what to expect when you hire us, visit our ductless installation service page.

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