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Split Ductless AC Expense


I hate to get into the argument about "running a business", but Im interested in running a split ductless AC into my home.  About as straightforward as it gets, from the unit outstairs, up the wall, in the hole to the air handler, and there is power from an expansion box right inside in the basement.

Ive also asked HVAC folks for costing for a ducted system.

To my surprise, the costs for each are within hundreds of dollars, and VERY expensive compared to the cost of the equipment, of which the retail price can be found online. 

What is it with the split ductless AC systems that drives their cost?  I can see the level of cost for the ducted system, because one would have to install ducts and not all are exactly straightforward.  But ductless is much more simple. 

Again, not trying to turn this into a cost of running a business type argument, just trying to make heads and tails out of the situation. 

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.  At this point, Im considering doing the install DIY and then having a company come out to charge (or really just verify and open the valve), as my capabilities appear consistent with the installation instructions Ive read for these systems. 

Thanks very much for your thoughts.


  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144

    You are talking to people who are in business and comparing them and their expertise, knowledge, on and on, to a DIY'er. It is a business thing!
  • JHZR2
    JHZR2 Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2013

    OK, but here's my question, how can a split ductless that requires NO duct installation, a far simpler/smaller air handler, and the same sort of exterior install be costed the same way as hanging ducting, and installing that larger equipment.

    Running a manual J, which I can also do, doesnt cost any different, but I would think that the work would be costed differently.  But every quote I get, it doesnt. 

    What I dont get is that the ductless companies, like Mitsubishi, sell these things as being easier to retrofit because all that complexity and expense is gone.

    Yet then you get to practicalities in terms of getting quotes and they are priced identically.

    As pro people, are you really saying that it is the same difficulty to install a split ductless and a ducted system into the same location(s) in a home? 

    I find that hard to believe, simply because running two pipes to an end location strikes me as far easier than running ducts through closets and walls in existing construction.  And the high and low pressure lines still have to be run to an air handler in the case of the traditional system.

    Remember, this is old construction, not renovation or new work.

    But that's why Im asking, as I appreciate the expertise and insight to help me understand. 
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144

    Then keep shopping until you get the price you are comfortable with.
  • JHZR2
    JHZR2 Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2013

    No, instead Ill DIY for a far lower expense.  Id rather give someone a job, but it is obscene.  Ive done the manual J, I have the equipment to pull a correct level of vacuum, etc. 

    I dont have time, but for the thousands they want for a simple install, Ill find it.

    I hate to say it.  Not trying to be rude. 

    But this is my issue - the split ductless manufacturers claim that the installs are far easier and cheaper to implement than ducted systems.  Yet I get the same cost to do one of these as to fully outfit my home with ducts.

    To me that is insane.  I'd love for someone with experience doing both to explain why this is the case.  Ive stated what the install is above. 

    None of the people giving quotes can give me a straight answer.  It appears to be completely arbitrary, which is why it is frustrating.

    Not trying to be rude.  Thanks for your time. 
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    I think your comparison

    is wrong! First, make sure the ducted system has all the features of the ductless.

    1.Variable speed compressor

    2.De humidification mode


    4 Sleep mode

    5 silver plated evaporator

    6 etc etc

    They are making central units with these features but I dont think thats what you got a price on.

    Now lets look at what the ductless wont do

    1 Blow fiberglass into the air you breath

    2 Lose 15 to 50% of its cooling effect through duct loss

    etc etc

    Go with the ductless! You will never look back
  • steve_25
    steve_25 Member Posts: 36
    heres y

    apples to apples

    equipment for 3 ton ductless is more then the equipment for 3 ton ducted.
This discussion has been closed.