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HVAC Education, Ductless Systems

Ductless Mini Split Maintenance

By Ryan Mayes

Ductless AC and mini split systems can be a great choice for comfort in your home. And just like any system, they require regular maintenance to ensure continued efficiency, longevity and peak performance. Mini split maintenance on a routine basis is a cost-effective way to help prevent larger issues from developing and might even save you from major repairs that typically cost much more.

Especially if you are a do-it-yourself type, you might already be familiar with how to clean a ductless split system on your own. And while some of the cleaning and maintenance tasks might seem easy for most homeowners, its best to rely on a professional HVAC technician to ensure your system is maintained and updated according to factory-recommended schedules and procedures. Your local Carrier expert is trained and equipped to clean your ductless system and will be better prepared if a deeper issue requires troubleshooting and parts replacement.

A ductless high wall unit in sunroom after mini split maintenance.

Do Mini Splits Need Annual Maintenance?

Ductless mini split systems, in many ways, are very similar to traditional, ducted forced-air systems. One distinct similarity is the recommendation for annual clean-and-check service by an HVAC professional. Just like your car and other household appliances, keeping a mini split unit serviced and maintained will help it deliver the comfort you expect more efficiently and potentially for many more years. Because it’s a system, both the indoor and outdoor units will need attention.

Mini Split Cleaning How-To

Learning the basics of how to clean a mini split system is something most homeowners can do. Here’s a look at some mini split cleaning tips for homeowners as well as an outline of tasks an HVAC pro should handle. The deeper cleaning and inspections should take place at minimum once per year, but twice a year is often recommended, especially for systems that both heat and cool. Keep in mind, your safety should be your number one priority. If you are not comfortable performing any of these tasks yourself, be sure to contact your local Carrier expert for ductless mini split repair or maintenance.

For homeowners, mini split cleaning includes:

  1. Clean the unit cabinet inside your home with a dry cloth or small vacuum periodically to keep dirt and dust from accumulating
  2. Every 4-6 weeks, inspect and clean the indoor unit’s air filter, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. For your safety, turn the system off before opening the cabinet.
  3. With the power turned off, clean dust and dirt from inside the cabinet using a small vacuum or dry cloth
  4. Inspect the outdoor unit periodically – remove accumulated leaves and other debris from the base of the cabinet, keep nearby shrubs trimmed away from the unit, and check the coil for dirt and debris between the delicate fins.
  5. With the power turned off, you can clean the coils on the outdoor unit with a garden hose – do not use a high-pressure nozzle. Be sure the unit is completely dry before turning the system back on.

When you call an experienced HVAC technician for a more thorough mini split cleaning, here’s summary of what they might do:

  1. Inspect, clean or replace the air filters. The recommended way to clean the air filter can depend on the type of filter used by your specific system.
  2. Clean removable parts, the fan and evaporator coil inside the indoor unit.
  3. To clean the indoor coil, the technician may treat it with a commercially available coil cleaner, followed by a light rinse.
  4. Clean the condensing unit and outdoor coil, possibly with a coil cleaning solution and rinse.
  5. Some technicians may follow up a coil cleaning by applying a fungistat or bacteriostat to discourage help prevent buildup on the coils.
  6. Inspect all other system components, including the mounting hardware, electrical connections and refrigerant lines. If the system is low on charge or showing an icy buildup on the coils, they may even check for a refrigerant leak.
A ductless mini split outside of home after a mini split cleaning.

Mini Split Coil Cleaning Tips

Sometimes your mini split heat pump or air conditioning system may require more than the typical maintenance. If you are performing a mini split coil cleaning or inspecting the system yourself, signs that you should call a professional include:

  • Excessive condensation, ice build-up or freezing of the coil
  • A part looks broken and you are not 100% sure how to fix or replace it
  • Signs of condensate/water leakage from or near the indoor unit
  • No airflow or reduced airflow from the indoor unit
  • New or unusual sounds coming from the indoor or outdoor units
 A HVAC dealer speaking to homeowner in garage after a mini split coil cleaning

How to Clean Mini Split Filters

Knowing how to clean mini split filters is one of the easiest and effective ways to ensure your comfort and the efficiency of your mini split comfort system. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the system
  2. Open the cabinet door
  3. Remove the air filter or filters – they usually slide out easily – paying close attention to how they are seated in the cabinet
  4. Clean the air filters using a light vacuum – or any other method recommended by the manufacturer
  5. Re-install the cleaned filter carefully as they were originally positioned
  6. Close the cabinet door and restore power

Professional Mini Split Maintenance Service

Of course, the best way to make sure your ductless heating and cooling system is operating at its best is with the help of an HVAC professional. You can find a Carrier expert using our handy dealer locator. Carrier experts can provide both repair and regular maintenance for virtually all HVAC systems, including ductless air conditioners or heat pumps.

A Carrier expert can help answer all your ductless mini split questions. Connect with a dealer to get a quote.
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