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6 Tips on How to Clean Your Mini Split Outdoor Unit

hvac air conditioner compressor

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Your mini split system comprises three groups of elements: the indoor units in each room of your house, the line sets, and the outdoor unit, also known as the compressor or condenser unit.

Although keeping your indoor units clean is essential to maintaining their optimal performance, you shouldn’t neglect the outdoor unit. Here are the top six tips for cleaning your outdoor unit.

Preparatory Steps

Whether your unit is a 9,000 BTU or a 30,000 BTU air conditioner, all mini splits require regular cleaning and maintenance to preserve their performance and prevent premature wear and tear.

Here are the tools and equipment you’ll need to clean your outdoor unit:

  • A garden hose with a sprayer nozzle
  • An air conditioner fin comb
  • Air conditioner coil cleaner (check your manufacturer’s recommendations)
  • A vacuum cleaner with a soft brush nozzle
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Soap and water
  • Personal protective equipment: gloves and plastic goggles

Before cleaning any element of your mini split, ensure that the system is turned off and disconnected from your power supply. If your system is equipped with a circuit breaker (e.g., most Gree 12,000 BTU mini splits), flip the switch to “OFF.” If it features a pullout switch instead, pull it out to turn the system off.

mini split air conditioning outdoor unit

Source: Charise Wilson / Shutterstock.com

1. Clear the Outdoor Unit’s Surroundings of Debris

First, remove any debris and objects accumulated around the outdoor unit, such as grass, twigs, dust, cobwebs, etc. Depending on your local weather conditions, your outdoor unit may also be covered in ice or snow, which you’ll also need to clear.

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2. Clean The Outdoor Unit’s Casing

Use your garden hose to spray the outdoor unit casing with water. Choose a soft, wide-area spray mode to cover as much surface area as possible.

After spraying it with water, use a microfiber cloth to wipe dirt, dust, and grime off your outdoor unit’s casing. Check your mini split’s user manual to see if your fan grille is removable; if it is, unscrew it, separate it from the case, and clean it using soap, water, and a microfiber cloth.

3. Open Your Unit and Clean the Fan Blades

Follow your user manual’s instructions to open your outdoor unit so you can access the fan blades. Each manufacturer may require you to follow different steps; for example, if you own an LG ductless mini split, don’t rely on the instructions for a Rheem model.

Once you reach the outdoor unit’s fan blades, use soap and a damp microfiber cloth to clean them. Be careful when scrubbing the blades, as they are fragile and prone to bending if handled too roughly.

Once cleaned, use your garden hose on the softest possible setting to rinse them and use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe the water off. Your outdoor unit fan blades are made of metal; failing to dry them properly risks introducing rust to your blades, which may degrade your unit’s effectiveness and increase the risk of a breakdown.

outdoor ac compressor

Source: Yevhen Roshchyn / Shutterstock.com

4. Clean the Condenser Coils

Inspect the outdoor unit’s condenser coil array for dirt, dust, grime, and lodged debris. Remove any larger objects stuck between the coil fins, and then use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush nozzle to clean the rest.

If you notice any bent fins, use a fin comb to straighten them out. Doing so can also reveal more hidden dirt and grime to clean, improving the efficiency of your outdoor unit maintenance.

After vacuuming the condenser coils, apply your air conditioning coil cleaner on the coils. Spray or spread the coil cleaner onto the widest possible surface area, and then use your garden hose to clean and flush the coils out from the inside out.

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5. Check the Condensate Pan

Inspect your outdoor unit’s condensate pan for dirt, grime, mold, or mildew. Some manufacturers may refer to it as the drain pan instead.

If it appears clean, reinsert the condensate pan into the outdoor unit. Otherwise, extract it and use a soap and water solution to clean it. Don’t hesitate to clean the drain hose as well if it appears dirty or obstructed.

6. Reassemble and Test the Unit

After completing your outdoor unit’s cleaning process, you may reassemble any elements you’ve had to remove (fan grille, front cover, top panel, etc.) and reconnect it to your home’s power supply.

Turn on your mini split to test your outdoor unit and verify it functions as expected. Inspect the outdoor unit while running to ensure it isn’t making any rattling or buzzing noises.

Control Your Home’s Climate with ComfortUp

At ComfortUp, our priority is to ensure your complete comfort, from the shopping experience to when your new mini split system is installed and ready to use. We offer a comprehensive selection of single- and multi-zone mini splits suitable for use in any room of your house, including garages, sheds, and home workshops.

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