Mini Split Maintenance: Extend The Life Of Your System

Mini splits are excellent heating and air conditioning systems that come in many different models, sizes, and capacities. They can provide superior comfort for 15 to 20 years. These ductless systems work differently than traditional HVAC, but they require maintenance just like all heaters and air conditioners.

Part of my job as a product manager for the HVAC distributor Peirce Phelps more nearly 15 years has been to stay on top of the latest heating and cooling developments and innovations. 

And, I’ve learned what maintenance tips and practices are most effective thanks to working closely with dozens of HVAC contractors throughout the mid-Atlantic states.

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In this article, I’ll tell you exactly what care and upkeep you can use to extend the life of your ductless mini split. That includes what you can do and when you’ll need a professional.

If you’re considering one of these great systems for your home, use our dealer locator to set up a free consultation with a reliable, certified installer near you.

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Are Mini Splits High Maintenance?

Ductless mini split systems are not high maintenance when compared to traditional furnace and central air. All major heating and cooling systems require annual maintenance. But, mini splits require a few HVAC services that those traditional systems don’t.

You should get your ductless system inspected twice a year, which is the same frequency as a furnace tune-up and central air tune-up.

Next, you should replace a furnace air filter every month. Ductless air handlers, on the other hand, have reusable plastic screens that require a few minutes of cleaning instead.

(That’s why the mini split installation locations are important: You need to access each unit easily.)

The big difference is the annual deep clean, which I’ll address later. It’s an extra step from forced-air systems.

Four Signs That Your Mini Split Needs Service Right Away

Paying attention to indications that your system has a problem helps keep it running efficiently for as long as possible. Here are four signs that your mini split needs service right away:

Strange Noises

Grinding, buzzing, or rattling indicate a problem with the motor or other components.

Bad Smells

Funky smells can indicate mold or bacteria growth inside the unit. This can be a health hazard and should be addressed immediately.

Weak Airflow

A mini split not producing enough cool or warm air could have a clogged filter, refrigerant leak, or malfunctioning fan.

Rising Energy Costs

A mini split with a clogged air filter, refrigerant leak, or damaged blower motor may use much more power than usual to maintain your desired temperature. 

Regular Mini Split Maintenance Tasks

These regular maintenance tasks extend the life of your system and save money on energy costs. Homeowners can handle most themselves.

Clean the air filters monthly

Each air handler, or indoor unit, has a plastic air filter that traps dirt and debris. Each one, whether it’s a wall-mounted or recessed ceiling mini split unit, needs a monthly leaning with a damp cloth.

Clear debris from the heat pump

Debris such as leaves, sticks, and dirt can accumulate around the outdoor heat pump, causing it to work harder and less efficiently. 

Inspect the outdoor unit

Check the outdoor unit for any signs of damage, wear, or leaks. Also, look for signs that animals have nested in or near the unit. 

Professional Maintenance Services

Regular mini split service helps extend your system’s lifespan and keep your home comfortable. The most common way to do this is with a tune-up, which is necessary for any HVAC system.

What is a tune-up?

A mini split tune-up is a comprehensive checkup of your system by an HVAC professional. During the tune-up, the technician will clean, and adjust various components. They’ll check refrigerant levels, inspect the condensate drain line, and ensure your mini split system is running efficiently.

Mini Split Deep Cleaning

An annual mini split deep cleaning prevents dust and dirt from building up in the components. It also prevents mold and mildew from growing inside them. A professional will clean out the  indoor and outdoor components, including the condenser coils.

Benefits of Professional HVAC Maintenance

You may not want to for professional HVAC service when nothing seems to be wrong. But, here are three big benefits of preventative maintenance: 

Longer Lifespan

Annual inspections can identify potential problems and address them before they turn into more expensive issues.

Better Comfort

Properly functioning components ensure that the system can maintain consistent temperatures and airflow throughout your home.

Lower Bills

 A well-maintained mini split system operates more efficiently. That means it uses less energy to achieve the same level of comfort. This translates to lower energy bills and a lower carbon footprint.

Ductless System FAQs

Here are a few more common maintenance questions. If you’d like to learn more about these systems, schedule a free consultation with a trusted, certified HVAC contractor.

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Do mini splits require more maintenance than other systems?

Mini split system maintenance is typically about the same maintenance as traditional HVAC systems. They all require seasonal tune-ups and cleaning or replacing the filters. But, an annual deep cleaning is recommended for ductless systems to prevent dirt or mold buildup.

How often do mini splits need freon?

Mini split systems that are installed properly and not damaged should not require a regular refrigerant charge. That’s usually Freon of R410A coolant. A unit that requires a recharge likely has a refrigerant line leak. That needs to be addressed by a professional technician.

How often should I have my mini split cleaned or flushed?

Mini splits should be deep cleaned, or flushed, annually. The process takes less than an hour, even with multiple air handlers. That schedule is enough to eliminate any potential mold infestations or debris buildup inside the air handlers or heat pump. 

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