In other articles, we went over the importance of regular maintenance for your furnace and air conditioner. However, a traditional HVAC system is not the right solution for everyone, but maintenance is necessary for every piece of HVAC equipment. In this post, we’ll go over ductless air conditioner maintenance.
If you live in a warmer climate, you might only need a ductless AC. We want to make sure that unit lasts you as long as possible.
We’ll explain the benefits of regular maintenance, the maintenance that you can perform yourself, and the maintenance that requires professional help.
By the end of this article, we hope you are confident in your understanding of ductless air conditioner maintenance.
The Benefits of Regular Maintenance
As with other pieces of HVAC equipment, there are plenty of benefits to staying current on its maintenance.
Increase System Lifespan
Every piece of machinery has an estimated lifetime. An unfortunate truth is that moving parts break down. That being said, machines that are not maintained will usually break down before those that are. It’s also not unheard of for a well-maintained piece of HVAC equipment to last longer than its estimated lifetime.
By performing regular maintenance on your equipment, you are reducing the chance that it will break down on you. This means that under normal circumstances, your equipment will need fewer repairs and will last you a long time. Barring an extreme situation, you could save a lot of money by having less than average repair or replacement costs.
Reduce Energy Bill
Regular maintenance can help you save money in more ways than just low repair costs. Equipment that is not maintained can lose efficiency. This means that it will take longer to cool your home and use more energy.
Your ductless air conditioner might have a warranty if you bought it new. Most warranties require that a professional maintain your equipment regularly. The requirement is annual professional maintenance in most cases. That’s not to say that there are not things you can do yourself and, in fact, there are forms of maintenance that we recommend you perform before calling in an HVAC professional.
How Often Should You Perform Maintenance?
As we mentioned before, warranties will have a recommended time frame for maintenance. In this section, we’ll go over the recommended frequency for equipment maintenance in a general sense.
The owner’s manual for your ductless air conditioner will recommend how often you perform cleaning and maintenance. If it does not, or you do not have the manual, then there is some general advice. We recommend checking and cleaning your equipment once every month.
Most warranties require that a professional service your equipment once a year. We agree with that advice for all equipment. With proper maintenance and care, we should only need to visit your home for your cooling and heating tune-ups. We love our customers, but we hope that our high-quality equipment and service means we that visit your home as little as possible.
How To Maintain Your Ductless Air Conditioner Yourself?
The DIY maintenance of HVAC equipment does the heavy lifting to expand its lifespan and reduce the need for repairs. While annual tune-ups are necessary to check the fine details and do the more intricate work, the monthly maintenance from the homeowner is the key to a healthy HVAC system.
Here are 7 tips for ductless air conditioner maintenance that you can perform yourself with minimal equipment.
1. Turn Off Your System
This isn’t maintenance as much as general advice to follow before you work on any HVAC equipment. Working on HVAC equipment while it is still running can be dangerous to yourself as well as for the equipment. Safety first.
2. Clean the Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit, or condenser, is a resilient piece of technology, but high levels of dirt build up can reduce airflow and efficiency. In order to cool the air inside your home, it needs to expel heat outside your home. That’s hard to do if dirt is clogging the vents or is falling inside the unit.
Remove any dirt or vegetation debris that is building up on the outside of the unit with your hands and a damp cloth or rag. Clean the grates and vents, but be careful not to damage the fins or yourself.
Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for more specific or in-depth cleaning.
3. Clean Indoor Unit Filters
The indoor unit, or air handler, has a HEPA filter that prevents allergens and pollutants from being cycled throughout your indoor air. If dirt or pollutants build up on this filter, then it will reduce the amount of airflow your AC can produce.
In a lot of ductless air conditioners, this is a washable filter. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual on how to clean the model you own. If you don’t have the instructions, then gently wash your filter in the sink and dry it off with a clean cloth. Do this a minimum of once a month but your filter could need to be cleaned more frequently based on the environment of you home.
If your filter is not washable or damaged, then you will need to purchase and install a replacement.
4. Check Pipes for Cracks/Leaks
If have ever taken a peak at the outdoor unit of your ductless system, you make have noticed that there is a pipe or multiple pipes attached to it. Those pipes connect the outdoor and indoor units and allow the refrigerant to carry heat from inside your house to outside.
Give those pipes a quick lookover whenever you get the chance and look for any visible cracks or leaks. Also make sure to check them if your ductless air conditioner ever stops working. A leak can prevent your system from working at all.
If you notice a crack or leak, then contact your local HVAC professionals and schedule a repair.
5. Give Your Air Conditioner Room to Breathe
Make sure that your indoor and outdoor units have nothing that could obstruct air flow. Having furniture, trash, or other large objects too close to the indoor or outdoor units could limit the amount of airflow they can receive or produce. Large objects collect dust, which the AC could suck into its indoor unit. That dust will build and will cause problems to develop as time goes on.
6. Keep Vegetation from Growing into Your Outdoor Unit
This may seem obvious, but weeds, vines, and other forms of vegetation growing into your outdoor unit are not good for your air conditioner’s health and performance. Trim back vegetation or promote its growth away from your AC unit.
7. Remove Snow or Ice Build Up
During Winter, make sure snow and ice is not building up in or around the outdoor unit. If you use a ductless heat pump, it should have a defrost mode to thaw itself. However, it may not get all the snow or ice that can reduce its performance.
Snow can still contain dirt and other debris that can be trapped in your unit when it thaws out.
Gently remove build up by hand and scoop it and any debris away from the outdoor unit.
What Does Professional Maintenance Look Like?
We just explained all the things you can do to perform your own ductless air conditioner maintenance. However, there’s still a lot of complex machinery inside your HVAC equipment. For that we recommend that you have a professional perform the maintenance.
If you keep your equipment well maintained yourself, then that should limit the time the HVAC professional will need to spend working on your equipment and reduce the chance of equipment failure. That means that you’ll be keeping the cost of the service to a minimum.
So, what will the HVAC professional be doing when they come to service your ductless air conditioner?
This is what your HVAC technician will do on the outdoor compressor:
- Clean Fins and Coils
- Inspect Insulation on Refrigerant Lines
- Clean Electrical Components
This is what they perform on the indoor air handler:
- Clean Filter
- Clean Drain Pan
- Use Anti-Mold or Pan Tablets
- Prevents mold growth due to water build up
- Clean Evaporator Coil
- Refrigerant Flow Check
Having your equipment regularly serviced is a common requirement for manufacturer and labor warranties. By having a professional service your equipment, you will have a record showing that your ductless air conditioner is up to date on its maintenance. That means that should something go wrong; your warranty should protect you for the length of the warranty's lifetime.
Annual Service Plan
Ask your local HVAC professionals if they offer an annual service plan. If they offer such a program or contract, it could reduce the cost of annual maintenance and remove the hassle of scheduling maintenance yourself. Some of these contracts offer additional bonuses like discounts on other services or on new equipment when it comes time to upgrade.
Who Are Advantage Heating and Air Conditioning?
We are your local HVAC Experts out of Salem, Oregon. We hope that this post gave you the information you need to maintain your ductless air conditioner. If you have other questions about HVAC systems, check out our other blogs. To learn more about who we are and how we can help you, visit our website and follow us on social media - we’re here when you need us!