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HVAC Education, Ductless Systems

How Long Do Mini Splits Last?

By Ryan Mayes

Ductless mini split systems are a great way to heat and cool your room addition, converted basement, or even your entire home to maximize comfort levels. And when compared to central AC or heating they offer several benefits, including easy installation, high energy efficiency and quiet operation. Mini split AC and heat pump systems offer another benefit we’ll discuss for the remainder of this article – long life expectancy. So, how long do mini splits last? While there is no simple answer, there are a number of ways to improve the life expectancy of mini split heat pump and AC units. Of course, while DIY solutions can help, we recommend letting your local Carrier professional do the heavy lifting for more extensive mini split maintenance or service.

A woman and a play together as the woman wonders how long do mini splits last.

Mini Split AC Lifespan

You can expect 10 – 15 years of efficient, reliable use when you purchase a quality system from a reputable manufacturer. 20 years or longer is also realistic and not entirely unheard of, especially when following our recommendations for efficient usage, regular filter cleaning, and annual service by your local Carrier expert.

Similar to forced air heat pumps and air conditioning systems, there are three main factors that can determine the mini split AC lifespan – choose high-quality equipment, keep it properly maintained, and use it efficiently. Follow these simple rules and the answer to how long do ductless air conditioners last might be longer than you might expect.

A Carrier expert and homeowner discussing how long do ductless air conditioners last.

Choose A High-Quality System

The first step is to choose a high-quality system from a reputable manufacturer like Carrier. Carrier products are backed by the company most responsible for inventing modern air conditioners and one that continues to develop leading indoor comfort technology.

Carrier mini split systems provide long-term comfort in part due to inverter-controlled variable speed operation. This type of system is designed to adjust cooling and heating output to match changing conditions. Variable-speed operation puts less wear and tear on fans, compressors and other system components.

Don’t Skip Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your mini split ductless system is one of the best things you can do to maximize its performance, efficiency and longevity. That applies to both the indoor unit and outdoor unit of your mini split system.

  • For the indoor unit, mini split maintenance includes keeping the exterior cabinet clean and dust-free
  • Clean the indoor unit’s air filter monthly, and keep the interior of the unit clean and free from dirt and dust.
  • The outdoor unit should also be inspected periodically to be sure no leaves or other debris are accumulating around the unit.
  • The outdoor coil can be cleaned by turning the system off and gently rinsing it with a garden hose – do NOT use a power washer or high-pressure nozzle.

For the best outcome, we recommend mini split maintenance, including an annual tune-up and inspection, by a trusted HVAC contractor.

Energy-Efficient Use

Outside of maintenance, the other way you can add life to your mini split system is by using it efficiently. By nature, most mini split systems are very energy efficient thanks to their variable speed operation. You can add life to your unit by:

  • Turning it off when the room is not occupied, or at least setting the temperature for less heating or cooling operation.
  • Leaving the fan setting on “Auto” and letting the system decide the most efficient speed setting.
  • Minimizing heat sources during cooling can help – closing blinds or shades to block the sun as an example.

Increase Life Expectancy with Our Professional Service

If anybody can answer the question how long do mini split systems last, it’s your local HVAC company representative. A qualified Carrier service technician can analyze your HVAC system and make recommendations on how to get the most from your system, including steps you can take to increase its life expectancy.

To find a Carrier expert and make an appointment today, check out our dealer locator on the Carrier residential products website.

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FAQ About Mini Split Life Expectancy

Should I Leave My Mini Split on All the Time?

Yes, keeping your mini split running is what they were designed for. Thanks to its inverter technology that automatically adjusts to home conditions for optimal efficiency, you can efficiently run your system all the time. However, if the room sees infrequent use, it may be practical to turn off the system when not needed to conserve energy and enhance efficiency.

Does a Mini Split Turn Off Automatically?

Yes, most mini split systems are equipped with automatic shut-off features. These can include occupancy sensors that detect when a room is unoccupied, timer functions for scheduled shut-off, and optional wired controls enabling personalized programming to align with your preferences, enhancing energy efficiency and convenience.

Do Mini Splits Need Maintenance?

Yes, mini splits do require regular maintenance to ensure continued efficiency, longevity, and optimal performance. Routine tasks include cleaning the indoor unit, inspecting and cleaning air filters, and periodic checks of the outdoor unit, while a more thorough annual maintenance by a professional HVAC technician is recommended to address potential issues and maximize the system's lifespan.

How Long Does Mini Split Refrigerant Last?

The refrigerant in a mini-split system should last as long as the system itself under normal conditions. However, if a leak occurs, an HVAC professional may need to add refrigerant after completing the necessary repairs to ensure the system continues to operate efficiently. Regular maintenance checks can help detect and address any potential refrigerant issues early on.

How Often Do You Need To Replace a Mini Split?

The frequency of replacing a mini split system depends on various factors, including the quality of the system, usage patterns, and maintenance. Generally, a well-maintained mini split from a reputable manufacturer can last 10-15 years or more. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning filters and inspecting the unit, can help extend its lifespan, while factors like proper installation and efficient usage also contribute to longevity. If you encounter significant issues or a decline in performance, consulting a local Carrier expert is recommended before considering replacement.

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