Ductless Mini-Splits: What Maintenance is Needed?
When was the last time maintenance was performed on your ductless mini-split?
You might respond with: “I’m very disciplined about vacuuming the filter every two weeks as recommended by most major manufacturers”, or: “Maintenance? I didn’t know it needed maintenance!”
Ductless mini-splits actually require more periodic service than a traditional central heating and air conditioning system. Why? First of all, your typical ductless mini-split unit runs more, circulating and filtering the pollen, allergens, viruses, dust and odors from the air in the room or area it serves. Your central system pulls the air from the entire home and a substantial amount of the dust, dirt, bacteria, pet dander, pollen and viruses fall to the bottom of the ductwork long before they ever make it all the way to the filter in your central system.
That’s why air duct cleaning is necessary for all central heating and air conditioning systems. And in most central heating and air conditioning systems, the filter is ONLY there to protect the equipment, while the proper ductless mini-split filters are designed to protect the equipment AND the occupants—a big difference.
Since the ductless mini-split is capturing more dust, dirt and harmful particulate from the air you breathe, cleaning the filters is more important than ever. Once the filters accumulate the maximum amount of contaminants and dust they can hold, they become less efficient and less effective, allowing particulate to land on the blower wheel and the heat exchange coil. During the cooling season, the particulate “sticks” to the blower wheel and air conditioning coil, causing more inefficiency and eventually, providing any living organism (like mold) with a food source.
Unfit for Human Consumption?
Dust, dirt, bacteria, pollen, pet dander, viruses and other unhealthy waste matter floats and gets distributed throughout the air in your space. These airborne particulates cause numerous health problems that can be avoided with the proper air filtration and treatment.
The Growth of Mold
Molds grow in dark, damp and dirty spaces. The common particles floating in the air contribute to mold spores' growth. Some of us are more susceptible than others, but mold exposure can cause:
- Throat and nasal irritation
- Coughing and wheezing
- Itchy Eye discomfort
- Irritated Skin problems
- Long term respiratory issues
Even if you're not at high risk for experiencing respiratory complications, a dirty air filter can still cause health complications. Allergic reactions, headaches, and more severe ailments may occur.
Costly System Repairs
An obstructed air filter wastes energy and increases the price of your utility bill. Your unit must exert more power to operate, which can decrease your system's lifespan and increase the cost of using it.
Necessary Maintenance for My Ductless Mini-Split Unit
First, follow the manufacturer’s filter cleaning recommendations. Most will tell you to vacuum the large screen filters every two weeks. We say, “based on a couple of factors” to better direct the frequency required; such as pets, children, carpeting, proximity to highways, forests, respiratory and allergy issues.
Second, follow the manufacturer’s filter replacement recommendations. Most will tell you to replace the large screen filters every one to three years. Again, we say “based on those factors”.
Many ductless mini-split units accept healthy upgrade filters—with some lasting three months, and some lasting one to two years. Upgrade filters attack specific issues, including allergies, fine dust, odors, bacteria, and molds.
But if you’re wondering; “They don’t look dirty, so why replace?” Remember, the ductless mini-split filters are capturing very fine particles—so fine, that the human eye doesn’t see. You don’t see virus particles, but they are out there as we all have experienced this past year.
Where Can I Find Reliable Replacement Filters?
Sticking to a regular maintenance schedule to clean and replace your ductless filters is the best way to maintain and keep your system running smoothly. If your unit has not had a thorough and professional cleaning in two to three years, it’s long overdue! Watch for our next communication on why and how this should be performed.HEPA Filter Sales offers OEM filter replacements, directly from the manufacturer of the ductless system and most manufacturers of high quality filters and germicidal ultraviolet lamps to help you breathe easily and safely. Find your filters here.