It may be necessary for you to have your ductless mini-split air conditioner professionally repaired if it’s giving you trouble. The purpose of this article is to explain what a ductless mini-split air conditioner is, and about how much it will cost you to repair one should it fail.
What Is A Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner?
Mini-split air conditioners are just what they sound like: miniature versions of central air conditioning systems. The system does not use ductwork to deliver the cool air, which means it does not lose energy from leaking ducts.
The ductless mini-split air conditioner consists of three main components:
- A condenser unit located outside your home
- An evaporator/blower unit located in the room where you need cooling
- A conduit that links the outdoor and indoor unit (the conduit houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and condensate drain)
Several placement options make it easy to use them to effectively cool different rooms in your home. They are small, quiet and have several advantages.
Additionally, they have a remote control, making them convenient to use.
How Do Ductless (Mini-Split) Air Conditioners Work?
It works exactly like a regular central air conditioner, only without the ductwork.
How’s That Possible?
The indoor unit circulates warm air from your home over cold coils. In these coils, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air and delivers it to the outdoor unit. This is where the refrigerant dumps all the heat it draws from your home.
An average split system such as a central air conditioner, has an indoor unit located in the attic or closet. As air flows through ducts to this central location, it is cooled and returned to your home by more ducts. But with the indoor ductless mini-split air conditioning system, the unit is located inside the room it is cooling. Since the indoor unit is located in the room, air ducts are unnecessary. The indoor unit simply pulls warm air out of the room it is located in, and blows cold air back into it.
But Can A Ductless Air Conditioning System Cool An Entire House, Then?
This is an excellent question. The answer is yes. A ductless mini-split air conditioner system can cool an entire home.
How it works: Several indoor AC units can be connected to a single outdoor unit to provide air conditioning throughout your entire house.
When shopping around for a ductless mini-split air conditioner, you will also be able to choose from a variety of indoor unit styles to fit different spaces. We have already shown you the wall mount above.
However, other options include:
Why Would I Want A Ductless Air Conditioner?
There are several advantages to using a ductless mini-split air conditioner over a traditional central air conditioner. Since a mini-split AC unit doesn’t use ducts, and requires minimal installation, they can be used to provide cool air in a variety of settings, such as:
- Home renovations
- Home additions
- Sun rooms
- Zones (this is especially good for homes where the upstairs becomes incredibly hot during the summer months)
Are AC Units That Require No Ductwork Easier To Install?
If you are looking to add air conditioning to a room that does not already have the ducts, a ductless mini-split air conditioner provides a smart, convenient and cost effective alternative to the expense of having to install a bunch of ductwork, as would be the case with a central air conditioning unit.
Can Mini-Split AC Units Can Both Heat And Cool?
Almost all ductless mini-split air conditioner systems are heat pumps, which means that they can be used to heat and cool your home at the same time. Because of such, opting to use a ductless mini-split air conditioner has the added advantage of eliminating the need for a separate heater.
You can also get central air heat pumps, but choosing to go this route is going to be considerably more expensive.
Another added bonus of using the ductless mini-split air conditioner is that since each area of your home would have its own indoor AC unit, you would then also be able to individually control the temperature within each part of your home.
Better Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio Rating
We already know that one of the major downfalls of central air conditioners is that they tend to lose some of their cooled air due to leaky ductwork. Because the ductless mini-split air conditioner system does not require ducts to cool your home, you will not lose any of the cooled air it produces.
Introducing mini-split AC units to your home is a great option, particularly when compared to central air conditioners, for energy savings. Customers are no longer only concerned about cost, but also about their cooling needs’ effect on the environment. Efficiency is not just about cost. It is for this reason that mini-split AC units are such a great option, especially when compared alongside the central air conditioner. When evaluating the two options, consider their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the energy efficiency ratio (EER).
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): Federal requirements mandate that as of 2015, mini-splits must have at least a 14.0 SEER in order to be used in the United States. An AC unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio measures the cooling output during a typical cool season. So the higher the seasonal energy efficiency ratio is, the more efficient it is.
EER: This looks at energy usage per square foot of cooling. It’s an important number when considering how well different cooling options are going to perform in your desired space.
If you are stuck trying to decide whether to opt for a ductless mini-split AC unit or a central air conditioner, consider this report released by ENERGY STAR, which states the following:
In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
How Do You Know That Your Home Has Poorly Performing Ducts?
- You have high summer and winter utility bills;
- You have rooms that are difficult to heat and cool;
- You have stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable;
- Your ducts are located in an attic, crawlspace, or the garage;
- You find tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system.
Are There Any Downsides to Having a Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioning System?
Naturally, yes, there are some downfalls to the ductless mini-split air conditioning system. In general, ductless air conditioners are about 30% more expensive than central air conditioning systems- but that increase also does not include the cost of the ducts. Furthermore, the basic ductless AC units are not necessarily the most attractive either, although you do have the option to upgrade to a recessed model if you are able to spend a little more money.
Is It Easy To Install A Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioning System?
Yes and no.
In short, it isn’t something you should try to install yourself. That being said, the installation should be relatively easy for a qualified, professional contractor to do. The contractor will need to determine and set up the location of the inside and outside AC unit, and then drill a 3-inch hole through the wall to route the conduit.
Also, the conduits come in several lengths, which gives you the ability to use the inside evaporator unit to easily cool a room on the front side of your home, and doing so while the outside condenser unit remains inconspicuously in the back of your residence.
Another reason performing this installation yourself isn’t the best idea is because you will need the assistance of a professional in order to determine the appropriate size ductless mini-split air conditioner to install based on the space you are trying to cool.
- If you end up going with an AC unit that is too small, the air conditioning system will ultimately struggle to effectively cool the room, which in turn is going to increase your energy bill.
- Choose an AC unit that is too large and the system will short cycle, which means that it will cool the home too fast. Short cycling wastes energy and will not properly dehumidify the room.
How Much Does A Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioner Cost?
Several factors affect the cost of the ductless mini-split air conditioner, including:
The specific AC unit’s seasonal energy efficiency rating, or SEER. As we mentioned earlier, the SEER measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A SEER rating is a maximum efficiency rating, similar to the miles per gallon for your car. Your car might get 28 miles per gallon on the highway, but if you’re stuck in city traffic it could be lower. If your air conditioner is 21 SEER, that’s its maximum efficiency.
The minimum standard SEER rating is 13 for air conditioners. Most modern air conditioners have a SEER that ranges from 13 to 21. ENERGY STAR-qualified central air conditioners must have a SEER rating of 14 to qualify. It’s important to remember that the efficiency of your system can also depend on the size of your home, as well as other variables.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a mini-split AC unit will cost between 1,500 and $2,000 per ton (12,000 Btu per hour) of cooling capacity. As we stated previously, this is about 30% more than a central air conditioner (which, again, doesn’t include ductwork). And may cost twice as much as window air conditioners of similar capacity.
Get An Accurate Estimate For A Mini-Split Air Conditioner
If you live in the Southern Florida area and would like to schedule an estimate for a mini-split air conditioning system, Miranda can help!
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioning System in Florida?
For a home that does not have ductwork, ductless mini-split air conditioners are a great cooling and heating option. But what does it cost to install one?
The cost of installation varies locally, but can range anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000+.
Ultimately, your final cost of your ductless mini-split air conditioner system will be determined by the following two factors:
- The specifications of your ductless AC unit(s)
- The labor expenses associated with the installation of said AC unit(s)
Need a professional estimate for your mini-split air conditioner install? Just contact us online or by phone and we’ll send a technician over to inspect your home, discuss your cooling needs, and answer any questions you might have. The technician will also provide you with a fair quote for the system and its installation.
Are Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners Expensive To Repair?
South Florida ductless mini-split air conditioning repair costs typically range from $185 to $750+.
Factors that will affect your repair price include:
- What’s wrong with the AC unit
- How old it is
- If replacement parts are OEM or non-OEM
- And the contractor you choose to do the repair
Let’s take a closer look at those 4 cost factors.
Factors That Affect The Cost Of Your Ductless AC Repair
Factor #1: What’s Wrong With The Unit
The cost to replace or repair ductless mini-split air conditioner units varies based on where the problem lies.
For an idea of what the different ductless repairs might cost you, check out our list below:
- Bad compressor: $700–$900+
- Refrigerant leak: $150–$450
- Thermostat replacement: $100–$300
- Dirty evaporator: $200–$750
- Bad blower motor: $350–$750
- Bad capacitor: $150–$300+
Factor #2: How Old The Unit Is
It is typically more expensive to repair older units.
Ductless mini-split air conditioners are usually good for 10 to 15 years. By that time, it is likely that there will be more than just one worn-down part that needs to be replaced.
As an example, let’s say you need to replace a capacitor that’s bad. Because the capacitor is responsible for supplying the air conditioner’s blower motor with the extra power it needs to start up, a defective or weak capacitor would ultimately cause the blower motor to have to work harder, which puts additional strain on it. All of that extra strain can easily cause an older blower motor to eventually fail or burn itself out.
With that in mind, the cost to replace a bad capacitor might be very different for a 2-year-old ductless mini-split air conditioner unit vs a 12-year-old one (see below).
Capacitor Replacement On A 2-Year-Old Unit
- Typical cost: $150–$300+
- Labor/replacement parts needed: A replacement capacitor and a half hour of the technician’s time. There’s typically no need to replace the blower motor when the AC is this young because the blower motor is typically capable of handling the additional stress (for a while).
Capacitor Replacement On A 12-Year-Old Unit
- Typical cost:$350–$750+
- Labor/replacement parts needed for the repair: A replacement capacitor, replacement blower motor (to replace the old, burnt out blower motor) and 1.5 to 2 hours of the tech’s time.
Factor #3: Whether The Replacement Parts Are Oem Or Non-Oem
If your tech uses “non-OEM” replacement parts, the final expense to you will typically be less costly. To better explain why the cost goes down when the technician uses non-OEM replacement parts, let’s look at what the term “non-OEM actually means.
When we refer to a part as being non-OEM, we are talking about parts that weren’t designed and engineered by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This means the parts weren’t specifically made for your brand and model of ductless heating and air conditioning unit.
It’s very similar to you getting a generic replacement battery for your car instead of getting an exact replacement from the manufacturer.
You should know that getting non-OEM replacement parts can void your air conditioner’s warranty (depending on the manufacturer). Plus, OEM parts give homeowners peace of mind since they know the replacement part has been tested rigorously and is designed to fit and operate your specific air conditioner.
Make sure you ask whether your technician plans on using OEM or non-OEM replacement parts. If they offer non-OEM (also known as “universal” or “aftermarket”) parts, check if this will invalidate your AC warranty. If their answer is yes, ask yourself if it is going to be worth it for you?
Factor #4: The Contractor You Choose
If you hire a skilled technician, you will generally pay more upfront because they have a higher level of expertise. However, don’t let this deter you from hiring one. Try to keep in mind that paying a bit more upfront will likely end up saving you money in the long run.
Instead of hiring cheap, low-quality technicians, look for a reasonably-priced one who works for an HVAC company that:
- Has been in business for at least 10+ years
- Is licensed and insured in the state of Florida
- Are experienced in ductless AC repairs
- Offers at least a 1-year warranty on the repair
- Can provide referrals of past satisfied customers
Live In Florida And Need A Quote For Your Ductless AC Repair?
Miranda Plumbing and Air Conditioning has been proudly serving Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, and Beyond for over 40 years, and is a trustworthy and experienced local business available for same-day appointments and 24-hour emergencies.
Call us today at 833-514-8083 to get a quote or schedule service for your ductless mini-split air conditioner.