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How to Clean a Mini-Split: DIY Tips

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorNovember 10, 2023
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Woman inspecting ductless mini-split filter

Maintaining your ductless mini-split system is crucial for optimal performance and air quality in your home. One of the key components to focus on is the indoor unit, specifically the air filter. Regular cleaning of the air filter not only ensures efficient operation but also contributes to a healthier indoor environment. In this guide, HVAC.com walks you through the DIY process of how to clean a mini-split filter and touches on other essential maintenance tasks.

How Often to Clean Mini-Split Filters

Most ductless mini-split air handler units have reusable filters that need to be cleaned periodically, instead of the disposable filters used by most traditional HVAC systems. The frequency of cleaning your mini-split air filter depends on various factors, including the environment and usage.

As a general rule, it’s recommended to check and clean the air filter monthly and clean it as needed. However, if you live in an area with high dust or pollen levels, or if your ductless mini-split operates consistently, more frequent checks may be necessary.

How to Clean a Mini-Split Filter

  1. Turn Off the Mini-Split: Before you start cleaning, ensure that the mini-split system is turned off. This step is crucial for your safety and the effectiveness of the cleaning process.
  2. Locate the Air Filter: The air filter is typically located behind the front panel of the indoor unit. Refer to your mini-split system’s user manual for specific instructions on accessing the air filter.
  3. Remove the Filter: Gently remove the air filter from its housing. In some models, the filter may slide out, while in others, it may need to be unclipped or unscrewed.
  4. Inspect the Filter: Take a close look at the filter. If it’s a reusable filter, check for visible dust, dirt, or debris. If the filter is disposable, replace it with a new one if it appears dirty or clogged.
  5. Clean the Filter: For reusable filters, rinse them under lukewarm water to remove accumulated dirt. Avoid using hot water, as it may damage the filter material. If necessary, use a mild detergent to gently clean stubborn stains. Allow the filter to air dry completely before reinstalling.
  6. Reinstall the Filter: Once the filter is dry, carefully place it back into its housing. Ensure that it is securely positioned, and follow the user manual instructions for proper reattachment.
  7. Turn On the Mini-Split: After successfully cleaning and reinstalling the air filter, turn the mini-split system back on. Check for any unusual noises or issues to ensure that everything is functioning correctly.

Other DIY Ductless Mini-Split Cleaning Tasks

While the HVAC air filter is a critical component, there are other DIY cleaning tasks that homeowners can perform to maintain their indoor mini-split units:

Inspect and Clean the Drainage System

  • Inspecting and cleaning the drainage system of your mini-split is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of DIY maintenance. Regularly inspecting and cleaning the drainage system prevents water buildup, potential leaks, and ensures the efficient functioning of your mini-split system.
  • Ensure the mini-split system is turned off before attempting any cleaning to guarantee safety.
  • Begin by locating the drainage pipe that is connected to the indoor unit, and check for any visible signs of blockages or debris.
  • If the pipe appears clogged, use a mixture of warm water and mild detergent to flush out the obstruction. Consider using a pipe cleaning brush or a wet/dry vacuum with a thin nozzle for more stubborn blockages.

Wipe Down the Exterior

Periodically, take a few minutes to wipe down the exterior of the indoor unit with a soft, damp cloth. This helps remove dust and prevent its accumulation on the unit’s surface. Be gentle to avoid scratching or damaging the exterior finish. This routine cleaning not only keeps your mini-split looking well-kept but also ensures that dust doesn’t find its way into the internal components. A clean exterior promotes optimal performance and enhances the longevity of your ductless mini-split system.

Professional Help for Ductless Mini-Split Cleaning

If you’re uncomfortable performing these ductless mini-split cleaning and maintenance tasks on your own or if you encounter issues beyond your expertise, it’s advisable to seek professional help. Hiring a certified HVAC technician ensures that your mini-split system receives thorough maintenance and that any potential problems are addressed by trained professionals.

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