Cost of mini split installation?

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bostondan
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Cost of mini split installation?

Post by bostondan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:47 pm

We recently purchased a 2800 sq foot duplex condo in a HCOL area. It is fairly updated, with very recent kitchen/bathrooms/etc, but was not fitted with central air when it was gut renovated most recently about 20 years ago. We cannot do duct work without gut renovation and it would be a waste of money to do that given that the place is fairly nice otherwise.

We plan to use Samsung "wind-free" mini splits to provide AC/heat (with hot water baseboard backup). Our HVAC guy has proposed to install 7 total units. There would be 6 ceiling cassette units (two bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining room, exercise room, office) that integrate nicely into the ceiling and don't look too bad compared to the wall units (which I don't mind, but DW doesn't like them). The two downstairs bedrooms would have a concealed ducted unit sharing one zone.

We have been given a quote of about $43k for this installation. I do trust this HVAC professional, but was wondering if any Bogleheads members had experience with these types of installations and if the general cost has been similar.

I'm leaning towards accepting the bid and moving forward, since it is not my goal to penny pinch. I just trust the Bogleheads community so figured I would ask in case there were any helpful comments.

Thanks!
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

GuySmiley
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by GuySmiley » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:57 pm

I've had mini-split installations on two homes. Work done in 2011 and 2015. LG but let's say that doesn't matter. Pardon my imprecise terminology below.

Each system is an outdoor unit and either one or two "heads" (indoor wall units). $6000 for a one-head system, and $7500 for a two-head system. I don't know what a ceiling unit is, but assuming it's a similar deal, your cost is inline with mine if you are getting a bunch of one-head systems. You might want to find out how many outdoor units (blowers?) are supporting these 7. I assume at least 4 if I was told correctly there is a max 2:1 ratio. I don't really know the pros/cons of sharing an outdoor unit outside of cost.

Good luck! I consider these units to have added much usable square footage to my home, since my home office would be intolerable during the summer without the extra cooling.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:21 pm

The pricing sounds absurd.

I had two separate regular HVAC systems and duct installed for $25k.

I mini split is usually cheaper.

TeeDee
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by TeeDee » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:28 pm

In my area price is not more then 3K max per unit. So this price sounds absurd

teamDE
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by teamDE » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:34 pm

My name is Dan, i live outside of Boston, and i'm currently shopping for AC installation... :sharebeer

We live a couple towns north in a 100yr old colonial. We just got a quote for $30k for a central air install including routing ducts to the downstairs through upstairs closets. We're awaiting a second quote.

Ours might be an easier case than the condo and all of those minisplits. How many floors is it? In fact, the contractor said don't even bother with thinking about minisplits for our whole house as it would cost more. So *maybe* $40k is inline? Labor is not cheap in this area. We're paying $13k to have our house painted as we speak. :oops:

Retirednomad
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by Retirednomad » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:54 pm

Yes, your costs seem quite high. We have a 3 head all separate zones pulled off one outside unit for about $9k. We did this about 4 years ago and love it. Might want to check your local Costco because we did and got a 10% gift card to match so yep, about $900 gift card so it brought the actual cost of our unit to $8,100. I don't know if they are still doing the Costco pricing though.

sk2101
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by sk2101 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:02 pm

Not apples to apples, but I had 1 mini-split installed for $1,500.

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bostondan
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by bostondan » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:27 pm

It's interesting how wide the range of prices can be for these installations. I think ours will probably be more on the complex side because we're doing 7 heads, which can run off a single outdoor unit, so I assume it is a slightly higher end system. It's also the newest Samsung wind-free model, which I can see is priced around $4k+ per head even for the lower BTU heads. Also, we are asking him to go to great lengths to hide all piping and heads to make it as seamless appearing as possible.

It seems like it is worth getting another HVAC person to give me a bid.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

HomeStretch
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by HomeStretch » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:35 pm

bostondan wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:27 pm
It seems like it is worth getting another HVAC person to give me a bid.
Another bid (or two) makes sense for this or any other large home project.

You might ask if pricing is lower if work is done off-peak (fall or winter).

random_walker_77
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:19 pm

You should definitely get multiple quotes. Maybe as many as 5. Consider taking the 2nd lowest bid.

dalbright
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by dalbright » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:35 am

Does each of those split units pull power from the associated room with that install? Would be a large per room drain of power if so. It would seem that although messy at install, drywall is cheap to fix compared to the complexity that this system would add along with future repair costs for a multi-system design.

Cheyenne
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by Cheyenne » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:10 am

We had five single Mitsubishi mini split units installed 2 years ago for about $17,500 ($3,500 each). That price included a fair amount of electrical work with a new box and wiring. Plus, two units in the front of the house have the exterior modules outside the back of the house and that required a significant amount of wiring and piping under the crawl space.

I know it can be done more cheaply but you get what you pay for. A few people have told me that they have them and they don't work. Some leak inside. Others stopped working after a few seasons, and in one friend's house they never worked right due to faulty installation. Ours work really well for both cooling and heating. This past winter we had a few days of sub-zero temperatures and the mini splits provided all the required heat.

UpstateNY86
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by UpstateNY86 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:24 am

I would *always* recommend getting a quote for Mitsubishi equipment. With the amount of money you plan on spending, its wise you deal with a reputable manufacturer. Mitsubishi is in a class of their own when it comes to tech support, which is vital. These are complex machines, and a lot of service techs will get stumped dealing with them.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:29 am

I volunteer in my locale (cold weather, similar to Boston) with the local extension program to help people make good energy choices. I have focused on mini-splits the past year and while no expert have gleaned some essentials.

1) Many installers lack experience in sizing and installing systems. This inevitably leads to unhappy consumers.

2) Price for comprable systems varies greatly among installers as they are learning as they go.

3) In cold climates, there is something of a conflict between cooling requirements and heating requirements. In most systems, if you size for maximum winter heating you will be oversized for summer cooling, cooling is way more efficient/effective. The result is that in the summer you will be cool AND wet, the system cools well but shuts off before it has fully dehumidified. There are some newer approaches that eliminate this factor. The fact that you have a good backup may allow you to forego heating once it reaches 15 degrees or so and you can then size accordingly.

4) If eligible, you want to select a unit from the approved list for rebates from MA:

https://www.masscec.com/eligible-air-source-heat-pumps

Here is a discussion that might have relevance for you:

https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/qu ... ump-sizing
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ddurrett896
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:30 am

My neighbor just paid $12,500 for a single outdoor unit and 5 heads.

UpstateNY86
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by UpstateNY86 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:31 am

I imagine the extensive price has to do with hiding all the accessories, and having the heads be in the ceiling. You can have top shelf ductless units cool 2800 square feet for 15K. The parts are all hidden except for the unit mounted on the wall. This is unacceptable to you guys? My wife didn’t like it at first, but she doesn’t mind now.

jwasilko
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by jwasilko » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:41 am

Hi Dan:

We're sort of in the same boat as one of our AC units is leaking (at the air handler coil) and we're looking at replacing both the 1st floor and 2nd floor system.

We've got quotes for Mitsubishi, and have a friend that works for them that suggested we talk to NETR in Andover ( https://www.netrinc.com/ ). If they're close to you, they might be worth getting a competitive quote. They only do mini-splits, and have worked really hard to optimize labor costs.

-j

jwasilko
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by jwasilko » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:52 am

Also, https://hvac-talk.com is a good resource, though you can't talk about pricing there.

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Ged
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by Ged » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:58 am

Mitsubishi is generally considered the best quality manufacturer of these systems. While wind-free sounds nice I would also get a quotation from a reputable Mitsubishi dealer in your area.

teamDE
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by teamDE » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:04 am

Agreed on considering Mitsubishi. I'm not an expert, but that's the name i often hear recommended. And absofreakinglutely get more quotes.

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bostondan
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by bostondan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:25 pm

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts on this topic. I'll look through it more closely and reach out for other quotes.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

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bostondan
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by bostondan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:39 pm

jwasilko wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:41 am
Hi Dan:

We're sort of in the same boat as one of our AC units is leaking (at the air handler coil) and we're looking at replacing both the 1st floor and 2nd floor system.

We've got quotes for Mitsubishi, and have a friend that works for them that suggested we talk to NETR in Andover ( https://www.netrinc.com/ ). If they're close to you, they might be worth getting a competitive quote. They only do mini-splits, and have worked really hard to optimize labor costs.

-j
I just called that place. I was impressed by how friendly and knowledgeable everybody seemed on the initial phone call. Someone from NETR is coming to our place tomorrow to give a quote. Thank you for the recommendation.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

dowse
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by dowse » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:24 pm

We just had a system installed about 6 weeks ago. Four zones with indoor wall units on one outdoor condenser. Total price about $12,500. Your quote seems out of line to me. I would definitely get more quotes. I think these systems roughly scale with the number of zones, so figure a little more then $3K per zone. I think 7 zones may require two condensers, so that may increase it some, but I would be skeptical of anything more than $25K. Our equipment is Mitsubishi. I learned a lot from www.ecomfort.com.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:41 am

43K sounds awfully high to me. So I read some about mini-splits.

I read that (1) they are not as ugly as they used to be (2) they cost more to install than conventional systems and (3) supposedly they are more energy-efficient.

A while ago I installed a high-velocity AC system that uses much smaller ducts that are considerably easier to install. I don't know if they still do that sort of thing. I was very satisfied with the system- and although it was many years ago it did cost a lot less than 43K and was installed in an old house with little disruption.

UpstateNY86
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by UpstateNY86 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:08 am

That’s called a Unico system. Believe it or not those are generally more $$ than a mini split.

sortimat
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by sortimat » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:36 am

I went the Mitsubishi Mr Slim route back in 2016, 42k BTU outdoor unit. branch box, and 5 inside units. Total was $16k before MassCEC rebates. This included a relatively complicated install involving routing everything across a garage and through my attic.

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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:40 am

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (HVAC).

sortimat, Welcome!
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looking
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by looking » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:43 am

bostondan wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:47 pm
We recently purchased a 2800 sq foot duplex condo in a HCOL area. It is fairly updated, with very recent kitchen/bathrooms/etc, but was not fitted with central air when it was gut renovated most recently about 20 years ago. We cannot do duct work without gut renovation and it would be a waste of money to do that given that the place is fairly nice otherwise.

We plan to use Samsung "wind-free" mini splits to provide AC/heat (with hot water baseboard backup). Our HVAC guy has proposed to install 7 total units. There would be 6 ceiling cassette units (two bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining room, exercise room, office) that integrate nicely into the ceiling and don't look too bad compared to the wall units (which I don't mind, but DW doesn't like them). The two downstairs bedrooms would have a concealed ducted unit sharing one zone.

We have been given a quote of about $43k for this installation. I do trust this HVAC professional, but was wondering if any Bogleheads members had experience with these types of installations and if the general cost has been similar.

I'm leaning towards accepting the bid and moving forward, since it is not my goal to penny pinch. I just trust the Bogleheads community so figured I would ask in case there were any helpful comments.

Thanks!
I have has been thinking to install, where I can find a reliable installer ???

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bostondan
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by bostondan » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:16 pm

bostondan wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:39 pm
jwasilko wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:41 am
Hi Dan:

We're sort of in the same boat as one of our AC units is leaking (at the air handler coil) and we're looking at replacing both the 1st floor and 2nd floor system.

We've got quotes for Mitsubishi, and have a friend that works for them that suggested we talk to NETR in Andover ( https://www.netrinc.com/ ). If they're close to you, they might be worth getting a competitive quote. They only do mini-splits, and have worked really hard to optimize labor costs.

-j
I just called that place. I was impressed by how friendly and knowledgeable everybody seemed on the initial phone call. Someone from NETR is coming to our place tomorrow to give a quote. Thank you for the recommendation.
Well, they were a no-show for the appointment today. I may be naive, but I believed him that it was an accident (he didn't write it down or something) and not usual behavior. They have good reviews online, most of which say that they are prompt (including this specific person who didn't show up). I'm going to meet him on Monday. Hopefully it goes better.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

dknightd
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Re: Cost of mini split installation?

Post by dknightd » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:35 pm

I suspect you’ll find hidden ceiling units cost more than wall mount units. I’d get at least 3 estimates. You might decide wall units are ok. Some spaces are well suited to mini split duct. We like our split system. One outside unit. Five inside zones. Cost about 12k. Every space is different. If yours isn’t t well suited will cost more

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