Informational Guide

How To Clean Mini Split?

Mini-splits ACs are a great way to maintain optimal temperatures in the home. Learn more about cleaning and maintaining them with our guide.

by Josh M

Maintaining the temperature and humidity of the environment around you is essential. Keeping your home warm over winter and cool over summer will help maintain your physical and mental wellbeing but also just let you get on with life. Mini splits are a great way to maintain that equilibrium.

Mini-split air conditioners allow you to heat or cool a room as needed. It’s important that they run effectively, but even the best ductless air conditioners take some maintenance. To keep that high level of performance, you’ll need to clean your mini split regularly.

This guide will give you everything you need to know to clean a mini-split air conditioner effectively.

Air Conditioner AC Cool Cooling
Increased performance and efficiency

Your air conditioner has an important job to do and needs every component to function correctly to do it. By properly cleaning your mini split, you can improve the efficiency of the unit, so it heats and cools more quickly. Regular cleaning will also help improve the longevity of the mini split so it lasts longer.

Reduces the cost of your utility bills

A poorly maintained mini split won’t operate efficiently. Dirt and debris can mean certain components need to work harder, and this puts a strain on the whole unit. This can lead to higher energy bills and worse results. Regularly cleaning your mini split will help lower your bills and save you money.

Reduces the health risk to you and your loved ones

Mold and rot can be harmful to humans because of the spores released into the air. If you don’t maintain your mini split correctly, then mold and spores can develop in your air conditioner and will eventually be breathed in by you and your family. Regular cleaning will remove these and help to keep everyone in your house safe.

Reduces need for replacement parts

If you expose different components of your mini split to dirt and dust for too long, they will stop functioning properly. While a warranty should cover you, it’s still a hassle to get new parts, and regular cleaning removes the need to constantly replace different components.

How To Tell That Your Mini Split Needs Cleaning

It’s not always easy to tell if your mini split needs cleaning, but there are a few tell-tale signs that give it away. The most noticeable is a dip in performance. Mini splits are used to heat or cool an area, but if you notice it’s not as effective as it used to be, then there’s an issue.

Typically, this is caused by dust, dirt or debris building up on your fan or heating coils. This jams up your mini split and stops it from operating as it should.

Noise is another tell-tale sign. If your mini split has suddenly become noisy, then it’s likely there’s a build-up of dirt on your fan. This means the unit is struggling to operate and really needs to be cleaned.

A bad smell coming from your mini split may mean that your filters need to be cleaned. Those with allergies will likely notice this first because there’ll be a build-up of spores in the air around your home. Your filters need to be cleaned every two weeks to stop this from happening.

Often, issues arise when the airflow to your outdoor unit is blocked. This can be caused by debris, leaves, ice, or snow, and when it happens, it means the mini split has to work much harder. This can result in a higher electricity bill at the end of the month and can also wear out your air conditioner much more quickly.

When a mini split is working well, you should barely notice it. If you’re suddenly noticing something, even if it’s small, it probably means you need to clean the unit.

Dirty Air Filter of Air Conditioner

How To Clean A Mini Split AC Unit: Step By Step Guide

Cleaning a mini split air conditioner isn’t actually too difficult, but you need to take it step by step and consider each component individually. We’ll deal with the indoor unit first and then the outdoor unit:

Indoor Unit
  1. .Turn off the electricity and completely disconnect the device. You should turn off the power for the whole mini split, not just the indoor components.
  2. .Put a cleaning bag around the indoor unit. This will help prevent any dust or debris from falling on the ground.
Air Conditioner Indoor Unit wrapped in Cleaning Bag
  1. .Open the flaps and remove the air filters. These are long rectangular vents that should be at the front of the indoor unit.
  2. .Clean the air filters. Brush any of the visible dirt off the filters and then run under cold water. If there are still some stubborn stains, use a sponge and carefully wipe the whole filter down. Leave to dry while you carry out the following steps.
Panasonic Air Conidtioner Air Filter Diagram
  1. .Remove the dust from the cooling fins. Using an air blower, direct the air into your mini split and blow the dust from the back of the unit. You’ll need to clean all of the small fins and remove all the dirt and dust.
  2. .Clean the coils. Take some specialist evaporator spray and apply it to the coils within the mini split. Leave this on for 20-30 minutes to clean before wiping off the device.
  3. .Spray an antifungal cleaner into the mini split to help kill any harmful bacteria. This will prevent toxic particles from being sprayed all over your home. Leave this for up to 10 minutes to do its work.
  4. .Replace the air filters. Once the air filters are dry, slot them back into the device and close up the front.
  5. .Empty the drain line. A pipe connects the indoor unit to the outdoor unit in the mini split. Disconnect it and empty all the liquid, then flush the system using a pressurized blower. Leave this to dry for a few hours.
  6. .Test the system. Reconnect the pipes and the electricity and check to see the indoor unit is working. If you’re happy with it, then proceed to the outdoor unit.
Outdoor Unit
  1. .Turn off the power. Make sure the power supply is entirely off before you start work.
  2. .Brush and vacuum the fins. Take a brush to the fins on the outside of the unit and start to remove the dirt. Use a vacuum afterward to help remove the rest of the dirt and dust.
  3. .Straighten the fins. Over time your metal fins may become damaged or bent out of shape. Take a knife and run it down each row to gently straighten them out and move them into place.
  4. .Remove the fan. Unscrew the lid of the outdoor unit and undo any screws around the fan. Gently lift the fan out of the way so you can reach the fins at the back of the mini split. Remember that the fan will be attached to the condenser, so you won’t be able to move it completely.
  5. .Clean the fan. Take a wet cloth and very gently run it over the fan to remove any dirt or dust.
  6. .Clean the interior fins. Take a hose or pressure washer and spray on the back of the unit to clean the fins.
  7. .Let it all dry. Let the unit dry completely, including all the components, and then put it all back together.
  8. .Turn on the power. Reattach the power supply and turn it on. Check that both the indoor unit and outdoor units are working correctly.

To properly maintain your mini split, you should clean it completely every 6 months. However, your air filters in the indoor unit should be cleaned every month to avoid any dirt or dust blowing into your home.

Mini Split Refrigerant Lines and Wiring Diagram

Cleaning Your Own Mini Split AC Unit (By Brand)

There are slight nuances between brands, and it’s worthwhile looking into the specific cleaning instructions for your air conditioner. We’ve put a few tips for the most popular brands below, but always check the manufacturer’s manual before starting any work.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi mini split air conditioners are renowned for being some of the most reliable and energy efficient on the market. Mitsubishi deep cleans and applies a protective coating to their coils and other components so they last longer, but the main thing they emphasize is keeping the drain clean.

Make sure you’re emptying the pipe and cleaning it regularly to remove any potentially toxic bacteria from the system.

Mitsubishi recommends cleaning the unit every month and replacing the filters every 2 weeks.

Daikin

Daikin is one of the oldest manufacturers of air conditioners and offers an impressive 12-year warranty on its products. A Daikin air conditioner is going to be reliable and durable, and the cleaning will be pretty standard.

In fact, a Daikin air conditioner won’t need to be cleaned as often, though you will still need to replace the air filters every few months.

LG

LG is a very popular name in the air conditioning world, and they have some impressive mini splits as well as many other AC types. One thing to bear in mind with LG is that they have a range of different filters available, each with bespoke maintenance needs.

Your typical air filter will need to be cleaned every 2 weeks, a triple filter every 3 months, a 3M filter every 6 months, and an ionizer every 6 months. The cleaning for your LG mini split will be heavily determined by your filter choice.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu probably aren’t best known for their air conditioners, but they are a very well-known brand. Fujitsu mini splits are easy to maintain, but it is worth noting that they have a dust catcher built into the unit. This needs to be cleaned every 2-3 weeks, and they recommend you use an ionized detergent which is gentle but effective.

Pioneer

Pioneer is a US brand that has expanded to conquer the international market. Pioneer air conditioners are known for their quality, but there are some issues with their interior fans. Over time, dust can build up on the fan and slow it down.

This is tricky to clean properly and can result in the air conditioner becoming noisy. The good news is that their customer service is fantastic, and they have a decent warranty so it’s easy enough to get replacement parts if you need them.

Other popular brands include:

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How much does it cost to have a mini split cleaned by a professional?

It will typically cost $100-200 to have your mini split professionally cleaned. Of course, doing it yourself is a lot cheaper.

How long do mini split air conditioners last?

If properly maintained, mini split air conditioners can last up to 20 years.

How much are replacement filters for mini split AC units?

Typically replacement filters are less than $10 but this may vary depending on the make and model of your mini split.

How do you keep mold out of a mini-split AC?

The best way to keep mold out of your mini-split AC is to clean it regularly, drain and dry it. You can also help prevent mold by switching the unit off when you’re not using it.

Conclusion

Mini splits are really useful pieces of equipment that help put you in control of your home environment. As with any equipment, it will only operate well if you take care of it. Maintaining a mini split isn’t difficult, but it needs to be done regularly.

Hopefully this article has given you everything you need to know about maintaining your mini split, and you can get as much use from it as possible.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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