Performing regular maintenance on a mini-split heating and cooling system is crucial to its durability and efficiency. It may be tempting to perform some maintenance tasks yourself; however, to ensure proper care, always leave mini-split maintenance in the hands of a professional technician.
What Is a Mini-Split System?
Mini-split heating and cooling systems allow you to achieve precise temperature control throughout different rooms and areas of your home. These systems consist of two main parts: an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser unit. They are typically very easy to install, requiring nothing more than a three-inch hole in a wall to run the conduit. The conduit houses the copper tubing, power line, drain line, and communication cables that link the indoor and outdoor units to each other.
Mini-split systems adapt well to both newly built and older homes. They are highly preferred in homes with non-ducted heating units, such as those already using radiant panels or space heaters for heat. If you want to heat an addition to your house, such as a sunroom, but installing or extending ductwork isn’t an option, a mini-split system is a good alternative.
When compared to window-mounted air conditioning units, mini-split systems use much less energy. They are an excellent improvement over standard forced-air units as well. You can keep each room at a specific temperature with a mini-split system, which makes it easier to improve overall indoor comfort without sacrificing indoor air quality or heating and cooling efficiency.
Are Mini-Split Systems High Maintenance?
Regular maintenance on a mini-split system ensures it can continue operating at peak performance levels. Its required maintenance, however, isn’t considered high maintenance. The only reason a mini-split system would need high maintenance is if you let it go for extended periods with no maintenance at all.
What Kind of Maintenance Do Mini-Split Systems Require?
A mini-split system needs continuous and uninterrupted air circulation to operate effectively and efficiently. This means the areas around the system’s indoor and outdoor units should be clear of obstructions, such as trees, shrubs, and clutter.
Maintaining optimal airflow also necessitates changing the air filter regularly. With a dirty filter, air cannot pass through as efficiently as it can with a clean filter, which shortens a mini-split system’s lifespan and can increase energy expenses.
When our technicians visit your home for a mini-split maintenance session, they will change or clean the air filter in addition to:
- Wiping down condenser coils
- Cleaning pipes
- Clearing away any obstructions to airflow
- Washing the outdoor unit
How Often to Invest in Mini-Split Maintenance
Don’t look at maintenance sessions as a costly expense. Instead, view them as a cost-effective way to keep future repairs and replacements to a minimum. At the very least, a mini-split system requires annual maintenance. A lot of HVAC professionals recommend a maintenance session twice a year: once before the onset of the heating season and once before the year’s cooling season.
If you have a warranty on your mini-split system, you’re likely required to invest in maintenance at least once a year or according to certain predetermined intervals of time; this requirement keeps your warranty valid and prolongs the lifespan of the system.
Mini-Split Systems and Mold
Now that you know how often to have your mini-split system serviced, let’s consider why maintenance is important. One of the main reasons to invest in mini-split maintenance is because the system can produce mold without proper care. Mold and mildew formation in a home is detrimental to indoor air quality and severely aggravates allergy and asthma symptoms.
A mini-split system that receives regular care and maintenance is unlikely to produce mold. Without regular servicing, though, and just like any HVAC system, a mini-split system can develop mold and harm your health. Four signs that indicate you may have mold in your mini split are:
- Odd-colored splotches on the air handler
- Excess moisture throughout the home
- Aggravated allergy or asthma symptoms
- Nasty odors, like cheesy smells
If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, contact Polar Air & Heating, Inc. right away to have your mini-split system inspected and serviced.
Mini-Split Systems and Pest Issues
Another reason regular mini-split maintenance is so important is that it can reduce pest issues. Bugs and pests make their way into your home through the tiniest of holes. Pest issues are especially of concern in homes that have ductwork with holes. However, even ductless mini-split systems can serve as access points for pests if they are left unserviced. A technician can reduce the likelihood of bug infestations by putting coverings and screens over all of the air vents in the mini-split system during routine maintenance visits.
Mini-Split Systems and Freon Maintenance
It’s not uncommon for technicians to add freon to air conditioning systems to help the system produce cooler air, which allows the HVAC to use less energy as it cools your home. Not all systems, however, need freon added. In fact, HVAC systems, including mini-split systems, come with enough freon to produce cold air for 15 to 20 years. The only reason to add more freon is if it leaks through a leaky refrigerant line, which will cause the system to produce lukewarm air.
When a freon leak occurs, not only can it cause the distribution of lukewarm air, which can skyrocket your energy bills, but it can cause damage to your mini-split system. If you ever notice frost on the system’s evaporator coils or hear a hissing sound coming from the mini-split system, contact Polar Air & Heating, Inc. right away to have it inspected for a freon leak. With regular mini-split maintenance, a technician can check for a leaky refrigerant line and fix any leaks before they become a problem.
Do Mini-Splits Have Self-Cleaning Settings?
In addition to regular maintenance sessions, you can extend the lifespan and efficiency of your mini-split system by leveraging its self-cleaning settings (if it has them). Some systems refer to these settings as an auto-clean function. This mode both cleans and dries the interior part of the mini split’s indoor unit, reducing the likelihood of mold and mildew by removing excess moisture and hindering the growth of harmful microorganisms.
The number of times you use this function each month depends entirely on your preferences. Ideally, you should run it at least once a month or any time you notice any excess moisture in the home or frost on the system’s coils.
Our Mini-Split Maintenance Services
How long has it been since you had professional maintenance performed on your mini-split system? If it’s been more than six months, go ahead and give us a call to book your next maintenance session. If you don’t have a mini-split and are wondering whether this type of system is high maintenance, you can rest easy knowing it requires less maintenance because there is no ductwork to clean or service.
At Polar Air & Heating, Inc., we offer heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services to Las Vegas residents. Contact us to schedule an appointment.