How Long Do Mini-Splits Last?

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorJanuary 10, 2024
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Homeowner adjusting the temperature of their ductless mini-split system

Ductless mini-split systems offer energy-efficient and customizable heating and cooling solutions, providing enhanced comfort without the need for extensive ductwork. Mini-splits are commonly used to provide heating and cooling to garages, attics, basements, and new additions.

While mini-splits are considered durable and reliable, like all HVAC systems, they have a specific shelf life, causing many homeowners to ask – how long do mini-splits last compared to traditional HVAC systems?, your trusted advisor for all things HVAC-related, explores the lifespan of ductless mini-splits, signs indicating the need for replacement, and the crucial role HVAC maintenance plays in extending their lifespan.

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The Average Lifespan of a Ductless Mini-Split

The average lifespan of a ductless mini-split is 15-20 years, which is comparable to other HVAC systems. The long lifespan of a mini-split is often associated with its efficient operation, simpler mechanical design, and lack of ductwork, which is prone to wear and tear.

Common Signs Your Mini-Split Needs to be Replaced

If you own a ductless mini-split, pay attention to the following signs that indicate it may be time to consider replacement:

Frequent Repairs

If you’re frequently contacting your HVAC contractor because your mini-split is breaking down or in need of repair, it’s time to consider replacing the system. Put your hard-earned money toward the purchase of a new system instead of frequent repairs that are only serving as a temporary band-aid.

High Energy Bills

If your monthly energy bills are significantly higher than the same time a year or two ago without any corresponding weather events or changes in usage, your mini-split could be the culprit. Aging components or reduced refrigerant can cause your ductless mini-split system to work less efficiently. This causes it to run longer cycles to reach the desired temperature, leading to increased wear and tear and higher energy bills.


Mini-splits typically require replacement every 15-20 years. If your mini-split is within this age range and still operating, albeit inefficiently, it may be a wise choice to replace it preemptively before it completely breaks down on one of the hottest or coldest days of the year, leaving you without a working home comfort system.

Unusual Sounds or Odors

Any unusual sounds or odors from your mini-split system should be inspected immediately, as they may indicate internal issues. Banging or grinding sounds could signal a loose or broken part, while a hissing sound is a telltale sign of a refrigerant leak. Meanwhile, a musty odor could indicate the presence of mold and mildew due to a leak within the system.

Regular Maintenance Can Extend the Life of Your Ductless Mini-Split

The best way to extend the lifespan of your ductless mini-split system is with regular maintenance.

DIY Mini-Split Maintenance Tasks

Between professional mini-split tune-up visits, be sure to keep up to date with DIY maintenance tasks. Regularly clean the unit’s filters which are located in each one of the indoor air handling units. This task should be performed according to the owner’s manual recommendations and may need to be performed more frequently if you have pets or family members who suffer from allergies, asthma, or respiratory illnesses and are more sensitive to airborne pollutants.

You can also clear away any debris such as leaves, twigs, or weeds around the outdoor condenser unit to ensure unobstructed operation. Consider using a garden hose to spray any dust or excess dirt off of the coils.

Professional Mini-Split Maintenance

A qualified HVAC technician should perform maintenance twice a year on your mini-split condenser, as well as the indoor air handling units. During an HVAC maintenance tune-up, your technician will inspect all of the system’s components to ensure they’re operating properly, make any required adjustments, and clean necessary components. They will also check for smaller issues and recommend the needed repairs before they balloon into bigger, more expensive repairs down the road.

During a mini-split tune-up, your HVAC will also check electrical connections, inspect the run capacitors, look for refrigerant leaks, and examine the drain line for blockages.

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