Do You Need a Permit to Install a Ductless Mini Split?

Installing or replacing a ductless mini split requires a permit in virtually all local municipalities in the U.S. The rule is the same for any permanently-insulated heating or AC system like a furnace or central air.

While this is an extra step in the process, and a slightly higher cost, it comes with benefits. A properly-permitted installation means better home comfort, less chance of a breakdown, and less risk of liability or injury if something goes wrong.

In this article, I’ll explain exactly what a permit is, what it entails, why it’s important, and what options you have for obtaining it. I’ve put this together from my 14 years as a product manager for Peirce Phelps, a national HVAC distributor.

Working in the mid-Atlantic region, I work closely with dozens of HVAC constructors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Through thousands of installations across the region, we’ve learned what questions and concerns are most common for homeowners here.

If you’re ready to learn more about specific models, click below to download our free product guide. Or. schedule a free consultation with a certified installer in your area.


What is a Permit?

A permit is a legal document issued by building departments that allows you to undertake certain construction projects. This includes HVAC installations like heat pumps and air conditioning systems.

You or your contractor submits plans for the work. They’re reviewed to ensure they meet all safety standards, zoning ordinances, and building codes.

What is an Inspection?

Once the work is complete, a licensed inspector checks the work to ensure that it meets safety standards and complies with building codes.

In the case of HVAC installations, the inspector will check that the heat pump or other equipment has been installed correctly and is functioning as it should.

Reasons You Need A Permit and Inspection For HVAC Work

Personal Safety and Property Safety

HVAC equipment that is not installed correctly can pose a significant danger to your family and your property. A building permit and inspection ensure that the work is done safely and up to code.

Avoiding Legal or Financial Liabilities.

In some cases, you may be required to pay a fine or have to remove the equipment if it is found to be non-compliant with local building codes. Additionally, if an accident were to occur due to faulty HVAC equipment, you could be held liable.

Ensuring the Quality of the Work

Obtaining a permit and inspection for your HVAC installation also ensures that the work is done to a high standard of quality. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your heat or AC unit has been installed correctly and is functioning as it should.

Pros and Cons of Pulling a Permit Yourself


Save Money

When you hire a contractor to perform HVAC work such as mini-split work, they will often include the cost of pulling a permit in their estimate. However, if you do the permitting yourself, you can avoid this added expense.

Avoid Problems

By ensuring that your work is up to code and meets all permitting requirements, you can reduce the risk of running into issues during inspections or when you try to sell your property. It’s even more important if your system is hooked up to solar power with panels on your properly.


You can ensure that everything is done to your standards and preferences, and you can address any issues or concerns as they arise.



The permitting process can be complex, and it may require multiple trips to various government offices.

Complex Process

There are often many requirements and regulations to follow, including building codes specific to Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) work. It can be challenging to navigate this process, particularly if you don’t have experience with it.

Can Delay Work

You may need to start over if you make errors during the permitting process or fail to follow the correct steps

Three Risks Of Not Pulling A Permit For Heat Pump or Mini Split Installation

Fines and Penalties

You can get hit with fines and penalties if your municipality catches you doing work without a permit. It’s costly and can delay the installation.

Insurance Risks

If your heating and cooling system causes damage or injury, your insurance company may refuse to cover the costs, leaving you with a significant financial burden.

Poor Quality Work

You may be tempted to cut corners, leading to poor quality work, with no inspection coming up. Improper installation leads to poor performance and can be dangerous. There’s the potential for fire hazards, electrical shocks, and other safety issues.

Why It’s Important to Hire a Licensed Contractor

Hiring a licensed HVAC contractor for your mini split system is crucial for ensuring its optimal performance and longevity. A licensed contractor is equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to perform the job effectively and safely. They also must adhere to strict safety procedures.

How To Check A Contractor’s Credentials

Before hiring an contractor, it is essential to verify their credentials. Check if the contractor has a valid license issued by the state, indicating that they have met the necessary requirements and qualifications to work on HVAC systems. 

You can also check if the contractor has any complaints filed against them by reviewing their record with the Better Business Bureau.

Additionally, ensure that the contractor has liability insurance, which covers any damages that may occur during the project.

Five Great Questions to Ask Before Hiring An HVAC Contractor

  1. Do you have references from previous jobs?
  2. Are you licensed and insured?
  3. Can you obtain all necessary permits and inspections?
  4. Are you performing the work or subcontracting it?
  5. Do you offer warranties or guarantees for your work?


Q: Can I buy a heat pump and install it myself?

A: While it is possible to buy and install a heat pump yourself, it is recommended that you hire a licensed professional to ensure that it is installed safely and properly. Doing so can help you avoid safety hazards and costly repairs down the line.

Q: Do mini splits add value to a home?

A: Mini splits can add value to a home by improving energy efficiency (using less electricity), reducing utility costs, and enhancing comfort levels with Inverter technology. Additionally, many home buyers value the flexibility and convenience of mini splits, which can be installed in various areas of the home.

Q: What is the average cost to install a heat pump?

A: The cost to install a heat pump can vary depending on factors such as the size of the unit, the complexity of the installation, and the location of the home. On average, however, homeowners can expect to spend between $3,000 and $8,000 on a heat pump installation.

Are you ready to learn more? Get a free consultation to learn more about Cherry Hill, NJ’s trusted heat pump installation experts or anywhere in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland.