Ductless Heat Pump (Mini-Split) Maintenance Tips
Ductless heat pumps (also called mini-splits) are amazing in that they serve as a home heating and cooling device in one, they work without requiring ductwork, and are a significant upgrade from expensive baseboard heating. They’re also one of the most efficient HVAC options you can install, and a great way to enhance the comfort of an addition, ADU, or converted space. Ductless heat pumps run efficiently and quietly, and with their highly customizable and programmable options, it might be easy to forget they’re even there! However, proper maintenance is vital for your system’s longevity and your home’s comfort. What should you do to ensure your system will last a long time and run efficiently?
What is a ductless heat pump and how does it work?
To better understand how to maintain your heat pump, it helps to know that it uses (at least) two units to transfer thermal energy from one place to another: an indoor unit(s) and an outdoor unit. When the heat is on, warm outside air is collected and distributed inside. The opposite action occurs when you’ve set the system to cool.
Your indoor unit (usually installed on a wall or ceiling) is connected to the outdoor unit by a refrigerant line — not ductwork like you see in a conventional heat pump or furnace. Conditioned air is emitted from the indoor unit to directly heat or cool the space. Large homes may need multiple units although they can all be controlled independently.
What kind of maintenance does a ductless heat pump need?
Now that we know how these systems work, let’s look at the required maintenance. Just a few simple actions will keep your ductless heat pump working efficiently for years to come!
Clean the outdoor unit
Clear the outside unit of any debris or yard material. Look for fallen leaves or large sticks that have gotten stuck inside. Then clean any dirt and pollen from the exterior walls. A quick wipe down with a damp rag will do the trick. Letting dust, dirt, and other particles accumulate can lead to major issues if these materials find their way inside the unit. They can clog the unit and cause it to malfunction, so this small maintenance step is very important.
Clear the units
While ductless heat pumps are compact, they still require sufficient space to operate effectively. Clear an area around the outside unit to prevent blockages. Make sure there are no bushes or debris within a two-foot radius of the unit. The indoor units need space as well. Clear 4’ of space in front of the indoor equipment. Items that collect dust, like artwork or photos, shouldn’t be hanging too close to the system since dust can hinder its efficacy. We also recommend keeping at least 4’ of space between your indoor unit and any indoor electronics (such as televisions and stereos), to eliminate interference between the indoor and outdoor units.
Replace air filters
Dirty air filters reduce the efficiency of your mini-split, interfere with the airflow, and create allergy issues for your family. In standard HVAC systems, filters should be changed every 1-3 months. However with ductless heat pump systems, filters should only be replaced when damaged. Instead, keep your filter clean by removing it from the unit every 1 – 3 months, then rinsing and drying it well before returning the filter to operation.
Call the professionals
While the steps you take can do a lot to maintain your system, you still need to call in the HVAC pros once or twice a year. A trained technician will ensure everything is functioning optimally to keep your home comfortable no matter the weather. Plus, these regular checks prevent larger issues down the road. At Comfort Heating, we’ll examine the following:
- Airflow: We’ll inspect the cabinet for obstructions to airflow and clean and remove the air filter inside the indoor unit. Unobstructed airflow to the heat-exchange coils is required for proper operation!
- Refrigerant: We look for any leaks in the lines, coils, and flair connections.
- Drainage: Drain lines are flushed and treated to prevent mold growth.
- Electrical: Wiring is inspected for wear that could cause ice to form on the coils.
- Compressors: We inspect and test the compressors, valves, and sensors that regulate the refrigerant.
- Coils: Coils are cleaned to remove any debris and to prevent mold and mildew from developing.
Contact Comfort Heating & Cooling
Call Comfort Heating & Cooling at 503-679-9276 to schedule a tune-up and enjoy quiet, efficient, and affordable temperature control for your home all year long. And if you’re shopping around for a new heating and cooling system for your home? Contact us today for a free consultation and find out if these systems are a good fit for your home!
Whether you’re remodeling, building a new home or simply replacing your existing heating system, you can depend on Comfort Heating and Cooling for reliable, efficient heating solutions that will last for years to come. Your new furnace will help you comfortably ride out the harshest winter while you increase the resale value of your home. We understand that no other single system in your home plays a larger role in your comfort or how much your utility bill will be. That’s why we specialize in high efficiency heating solutions that can warm your interior space in the most cost-effective way.