A ductless air conditioner is extremely efficient, while being easier to install and more cost-effective over its lifespan than a central AC system. However, you’ll only benefit if your air conditioner is properly cared for. For those who are wondering how to maintain a ductless heating/cooling unit, here are some important steps and tips to follow:
Don’t Forget the Outdoor Condenser/Compressor
The outdoor unit and condenser coils are more exposed to the elements than any other AC component. Dust, leaves, branches, ice, and mold can affect the condenser. Small pieces of debris and particles can collect on the unit, obstructing airflow and causing it to overheat, while anything that gets inside can strain it and cause a breakdown.
The condenser should be cleaned regularly (or as needed) and dusted weekly. To perform a simple dusting, use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior. Wetting the cloth with water is usually fine. If using a chemical cleaner, make sure it is gentle and safe. When cleaning the coils:
- Clear any obstructions within four feet of the outdoor unit.
- Remove any dirt or dust from the outdoor vents.
- Turn off the power; wait an hour so it’s cool and there’s no risk of shock.
- Clean the coil with a soft, dry cloth.
- Check for mold and mildew, condensation, or ice.
- Inspect the fan wheel, blower assembly, refrigerant lines, and other components.
- Ensure the unit is secured to its base on the ground.
Don’t place any large furniture near the unit. Leave at least four feet of space around the machine in every direction. Don’t obstruct indoor ductless AC units either. Wall pictures, bookcases, and other items should be moved away to allow the system to run properly.
Tips on Cleaning the Coils
You can spray the coil clean with a garden hose. Then check the fins for any bending. If a fin is bent, restore its shape with an alignment comb and then dust off any remaining debris. Wait for the unit to fully dry before using the AC again. The indoor evaporator coil can be dusted using compressed air. This is an effective way to quickly remove dirt and debris.
Clean the Filters
A dirty filter can reduce AC efficiency and air quality. Follow the system’s user manual for removing and cleaning each filter. To clean, gently remove a filter and wipe it with a dry cloth. If the manufacturer says so, clean it with a HEPA vacuum. Repeat this about every four weeks unless your home is excessively dusty and filter cleaning is needed more frequently. Replace any filter that cannot be cleaned or appears damaged.
Clean Any Air Purifying Components
If there are air scrubbers, UV light components, negative ion air purifiers, MERV filters, or other indoor air quality components installed, make sure to clean them as well. Remove the component per the manufacturer’s guidelines and follow the recommended cleaning procedures. These components are most effective when they are clean.
Clean and Inspect the System’s Pipes
Connecting the outside unit and indoor air handlers, the pipes move coolant so that heat can be transferred outdoors or delivered into your home. These pipes can develop leaks, become clogged, or start to corrode. In addition to checking that they’re clear, make sure there’s nothing accumulated that can affect heat transfer. Clear any dust present, but if there’s ice or a component appears worn or damaged, contact an AC professional.
Contact a Trained Specialist If Your System Needs Repair
A ductless mini split AC may need repair if your electrical bill goes up, it makes a lot of noise, or you don’t get cool air. Fluctuating or uneven temperatures also indicate a problem. If water pools under a unit, a condensate line may be clogged. Water damage and mold growth may occur. By performing regular maintenance, you can spot such issues early and call a professional to fix them before they escalate.
Contact Air Stars
Air Stars provides ductless AC service across the Portland and Salem region. Our licensed technicians know how to maintain a ductless heating/cooling unit and are committed to helping you save time, stress, and money. Join our Star Treatment Maintenance Plan for biannual cleanings and inspections plus savings on repairs. To schedule HVAC maintenance in your home, book online or call 503-455-7311.