Ductless minisplit heat pumps have received a tremendous amount of attention in the last several years, and Peter L. would like to include one in his own house. There’s only one problem: an estimate that seems far higher than it should.
“I was quoted $4,800 to purchase and install a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim 1-ton unit (MSZFE12NA),” Peter writes at GBA’s Q&A forum. “That seems very high. Especially since it’s a new build and the 3-inch hole is already in the wall.”
Installers see minisplits as a niche market, Peter says, and because they’re not making money on the ductwork that a conventional heating and cooling system would require, they are charging “crazy install prices” to make up the difference.
In this case, Peter estimates that the installation should cost about $500, not the $2,000 his contractor has in mind.
That makes installing the system himself an attractive option.
“I might go the route of the DIY minisplit from Home Depot — Mr.Cool,” he says “I can get a 1-ton unit for $1,300 and install it myself since the refrigerant lines are pre-charged. The Mr. Cool unit (17 SEER) is not as efficient as the Mitsubishi (26 SEER) but at $1,300 for the 1-ton unit that cannot be beat. Even if it dumps out at 7 years of age, I got my money’s worth.”
Smart plan or not? That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight.
You’re paying for less risk
The question has come up before, GBA senior editor Martin Holladay points out, when Justin Fink, the editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine posted a question about installing a minisplit himself when he renovated his garage shop. That was back in 2013.
“If you pay for installation by a qualified contractor, you are paying for warranty service and…