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Ductless Mini Split Cleaning

If your home is equipped with a ductless mini split AC or heat pump system, regular cleaning and maintenance should be one of your top priorities to keep the system running smoothly. Keeping your mini split clean and properly maintained will make its components last longer, helping the unit operate more efficiently.

Like with your other appliances and mechanical devices at home, your installed ductless mini split system can accumulate dirt, dust, grime, mold, mildew, and other contaminants. Long-term use and exposure to the elements impact their physical integrity and affect their efficiency and performance in the long run.

A mini split system has two main components: the outdoor compressor/condenser unit and at least one indoor air handler or evaporator unit. Proper maintenance of your mini split system requires you to clean both outdoor and indoor elements.

To clean your ductless mini split system safely and efficiently, you will need to observe a couple of pre-cleaning procedures, prepare some cleaning materials, and follow specific steps in cleaning the unit’s two primary component types.

Pre-Cleaning Preparation Stages

Safety is critical when conducting any kind of cleaning or maintenance operation with your home appliances. Here are the steps to follow before starting the cleaning procedure:

1. Turn the Unit Off

The first and most critical safety step to follow is to turn off your system before you begin cleaning it. Attempting to conduct maintenance on a powered unit is dangerous and carries a high risk of electrocution.

For additional safety, you can disable the circuit breaker. You can also check the power cable and unplug it from the outlet or the main electrical panel to shut the system off entirely.

2. Make the Cleaning Materials Available

Cleaning your mini split air conditioner doesn’t have to cost you much. Your cleaning materials may include a combination of items that you readily have at home and items that you might have to buy if they’re not available at your home.

The necessary items that you are most likely to already possess at home are as follows:

  • A set of cloths for both damp and dry use
  • Cleaning or dishwashing gloves
  • A shop vacuum
  • Soap
  • Household cleaners
  • Water
  • A water hose with water spraying mode

Less common items that you might have to purchase are:

  • A fin comb
  • Air conditioner coil cleaner
  • Cleaning brushes
  • Spray bottle
  • Wash bags
  • Scrubs
  • Condensate drain pump treatment
  • Condensate drain cleaner

If you need help completing your cleaning product cabinet, ComfortUp offers a range of great products to help you clean your mini split more efficiently.

Cleaning the Outdoor Compressor/Condenser Unit

Once you have the necessary cleaning equipment, you can begin maintenance on your mini split. The first part of the process is cleaning the outdoor unit. Here are the steps to clean your compressor efficiently.

1. Clear the Debris Around the Unit

First, inspect your outdoor unit for objects obstructing the fan grille like cobwebs, branches, and leaves. Clean the surrounding area by removing any dry leaves, twigs, grass, and other debris you can find around the unit.

2. Wash the Outdoor Cabinet

Dampen one of your cloths with mild soap and water and use it to wash the outdoor cabinet. Use a water hose to rinse it, and then wipe and dry the housing with a dry cloth.

3. Remove the Dirt Collected from the Exterior of the Unit

Inspect the compressor unit’s interior and remove any debris you find by hand. After extracting debris and large objects, use the water hose or water spray to clean the unit so you can remove all the dirt on the exterior surface. You can use soap and water to clean the rest.

4. Scrub and Wash the Grille or Fan Cage

Use the water hose to spray the fan grille with water and remove as much dirt as possible from the fan cage. If any dirt or grime remains, you can use the brush to scrub it off.

5. Clean the Fan Blades.

Unscrew and open the fan grille to access the fan blades. Inspect the blades for signs of dirt and grime, and then clean them using soap and a damp cloth. Rinse afterward and wipe the blades with a dry cloth.

6. Clean the Interior of the Unit

Check the inside of the unit and remove all the dirt. Use a dry cloth to clean the interior surface. You can use a vacuum to remove the dust and other dirt inside.

7. Clean Condensate Pan

Inspect the condensate pan and remove any growth of mold. You can wash it with soap or use a bleach solution. Rinse with clean water afterward.

8. Clear the Drain Hose of Dirt

Check the drain hose and remove any objects that might block the free flow of water. Wash it with soap and clean water.

Cleaning the Indoor Air Handler Unit

After cleaning your outdoor unit, you’ll need to inspect and clean each indoor unit. The number of indoor units depends on your mini split air conditioning system’s configuration. For instance, if your system is a tri-zone, you’ll need to check and clean three indoor units.

1. Clean the Exterior Surface of the Air Handler

Inspect the air handler’s housing and exterior for signs of dirt, grime, and excessive humidity. Wipe the air handler unit with the damp cloth, and then immediately dry it with a dry cloth. Use soap only if the stains are hard to remove.

2. Remove and Clean the Air Filters

Remove the air filters from the unit and remove all the dirt. If they aren’t too dirty, you can simply wipe them with a clean and dry cloth. Otherwise, clean air filters with soap and clean water.

Either way, you should ensure that you consulted the owner’s manual and followed the manufacturer’s recommended way to clean the filters. Also, remember the frequency of cleaning the filters so you will know when to clean them again and preserve your home’s indoor air quality.

3. Clean the Evaporator Coil and Blower Wheel

Remove the unit’s cabinet to access the evaporator coil and the blower wheel. Clean the coils by removing all the dirt and accumulated molds. Repeat the process with the blower wheel, ensuring it is free of dust, grime, and mildew. You can simply wipe it with a clean dry cloth or use a coil cleaner for more effective results.

Create or Prepare a Cleaning Checklist

For your guidance and easier cleaning, you can create a simple ductless mini split cleaning checklist that provides details of the important components of the unit that you should not miss when cleaning your system. Here’s a sample checklist for your reference:

OUTDOOR UNIT

  • Surrounding space
  • Exterior surface
  • Cabinet
  • Grille and fan cage
  • Fan blades
  • Unit interior
  • Condensate pan
  • Any other applicable elements

INDOOR UNIT

  • Surrounding space
  • Exterior surface
  • Housing
  • Air filters
  • Evaporator coil
  • Unit interior
  • Drain hose
  • Any other applicable elements

Keep Your Mini Split Running Optimally with ConfortUp

While you can certainly avail yourself of cleaning services from HVAC professionals, it is important to note that cleaning your mini split unit is not a hard task at all. It is a simple chore that you can easily accomplish on your own.

Remember that a regularly cleaned ductless mini split system runs more smoothly, quietly, and efficiently. Consider the cleaning procedure of your ductless mini split system as an essential part of your preventative maintenance schedule. Regular maintenance is critical to extend the life of your unit and save you money on costly system repairs or whole-system replacement.

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