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How to Clean Mini Split Filters?

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Did you just get a new mini-split air conditioner? Ductless mini-split systems are some of the most energy-efficient HVAC units. Ductless mini-splits are of the heat pump variety.

They come with higher upfront costs, but energy savings can easily compensate for that. On top of being a ductless system, each air handler comes with its own temperature control.

These air conditioners lessen the risks of heat loss, increasing efficiency and air quality. However, a little dust build-up can change all that.

That's right! Particle pollution can negate your highly efficient, sustainable, and innovative new mini-split.

Here's what you can do to protect your ductless mini-split system from everyday pollution.

How Often Should I Clean the Mini-Split Air Filter

Let's kick things off with the simplest tool in your arsenal against pollution. A good old-fashioned cleaning is always beneficial, especially for your air conditioning system.

Cleaning air filters are the easiest maintenance tasks you can conduct on your ductless mini-split system. It would be best if you did them at least once every two weeks.

Don't worry; depending on which mini-split unit you have at home, you won't have to clean inaccessible filters every other week.

There is a combination of mini-split filters with at least one on the inside and outside of your indoor unit. There should also be another pair on the outdoor unit.

The first layer of protection against dust, dirt, and other particles is more accessible on your air conditioner. You can easily slide it out of your indoor air-handling unit for unclogging and cleaning.

How Do I Know if My Air Filters Need Cleaning

You can't always visibly tell since accessible filters are often stowed away or hidden. However, there are other indications of clogged air filters. 

Indoor units audibly struggle when their air filters are saturated with particles. You will hear your air handler go bump in the night. It may vibrate louder or shake visibly. The same goes for your outdoor units!

The condenser unit is outdoors, which is exposed to more elements. Its air filters can succumb to pollution even faster than their indoor counterparts.

It may also domino into more hazardous indications, whether it's audible vibrations or visible shaking. You may notice any of the following manifestations:

  • Leaks
  • Short-circuiting/short-cycling
  • Surges in energy bills
  • Inadequate heating or cooling
  • Buzzing, bubbling, hissing, and banging noises

It's just a dirty air filter...now. Still, you should inspect your mini-split air filter before symptoms get worse. Remember, a clean filter makes a happy and efficient HVAC unit.

Can I Clean Filters By Myself?

Every homeowner has thought about cleaning their air conditioners by themselves. Are you thinking of cleaning your filters by yourself? Ah, yes.

Can I, Should I, How Would I? Here is the good news: you can clean your ductless mini-split air filters. You can clean your AC units with everyday household items. Rubber gloves, a medium-sized dry cloth, some detergent, and warm water is all you need.

A vacuum cleaner, preferably one with optional attachments, can certainly make your life easier here. If you want to clean your filters more thoroughly and efficiently, a vacuum with a brush or spray attachment can help you BIG TIME. 

You have everything you need to clean; all you need now is the confidence to get the job done. Don't worry; below, we have included a complete step-by-step list of the cleaning process for you.

If you are worried about handling a mini-split for the first time, we assure you that if you have ever cleaned air filters, cleaning the ones in your mini-split won't be too far a leap.

You can clean air filters in your ductless mini-split, just like you could the ones in your air ducts. Clean mini-split filters with a soft dry cloth or vacuum cleaner, especially if it comes with a brush attachment. 

How to Clean a Mini-Split Filter

Some homeowners just like to shake dust off filters, while others clean the front panel with mild detergent. 

Soapy water is always helpful but can be much too harsh on delicate filters. You can dilute half a teaspoon of detergent per liter of warm water to lessen the impact of harsh chemicals while maintaining its practical effects on your filters.

Speaking of using gentle solutions, remember that applies to everything. Whatever manner of cleaning you prefer, you can do it by yourself, but it would be best to handle each step of the cleaning process with complete care. 

Here's how you can clear your air filter of any build-up: Be gentle in cleaning, rinsing, detaching, and attaching HVAC filters. Turn your HVAC unit 'OFF' and put some gloves ON.

Find the blower unit.

First, you will have to find where they are. A specific system can have it in or out of its indoor units. Check with the manufacturer or the owner's manual to find where yours are.

Sometimes the most accessible filter on your mini-split air conditioners can be found at the topmost side of your air handler. However, it is more often behind the unit's front panel.

WARNING: Remember to wear gloves. You should also put on goggles and a mask to protect yourself against various potential irritants! You may inhale dust, dirt, and other debris which may cause different side effects.

  1. Feel around the bottom of your indoor unit to find the edge of the flap. 
  2. Gently lift the flap off using both hands.
  3. Locate the filters within, which should look like two plastic panels with thin wire weaving above the evaporator coil.

Remove Air filters

You can gently remove them by pushing the filters up to pull them out of their tracks. BE GENTLE! Be careful not to shake any dust off into other components.

Additionally, it is best to avoid keeping the front panel open. It may invite more particles from seeping into the mini-split unit.

Clean Mini-Split Air Conditioner

Once you bring the air filters out, ensure to gently remove any dust or debris from their tracks before closing the air handler again. Only clean the filters in open-air areas or near ventilation systems. Once you are outside, start cleaning.

  1. Pick off large particles and clusters from the filter with your hands.
  2. Use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to gently vacuum to remove dust and other residual particles with more force.
  3. Dip its brush attachment in lukewarm water and gently slide it up and down the filter. If your vacuum has a spray attachment, you can use a gentle spray solution before vacuuming your filter.
  4. Soak your filter in pure lukewarm water to rinse off any solution.
  5. Wipe your filter with a dry cloth and hang it to air dry.

Reinstall Air Filters

Once your filters are completely dry, you can reinstall your filters back into your indoor units. Re-open the flap the same way you did the first time to access the filters.

Reattach the air filters by latching them first to the bottom tracks before locking the top back in place. Close the front panel of your indoor handler and gently push down to establish its seal.

Do Mini-Splits Need Annual Maintenance?

Yes. All air conditioning systems require routine maintenance. To ensure a stable flow of clean, cool air efficiently, you must do more than clean air filters.

Refrigerant lines, coils, condenser pumps, and drain lines also require regular cleaning.

Observing annual maintenance prevents mechanical failure and system breakdowns. It can also boost your mini-split with regular tune-ups to increase energy efficiency and system safety.

Remember, a ductless mini-split has two units; a unit outside also needs your attention. The outdoor units face more exposure, such as extreme weather conditions and temperature shifts.

It is critical to your ductless mini-split HVAC system's overall performance. Neglecting its security and sanitation can result in serious HVAC concerns. If your outdoor unit succumbs to exposure, you are in for a sweltering summer.

Routine Maintenance for HVAC Systems

It doesn't matter if you have a ductless mini-split or central air conditioning system. Routine maintenance is necessary for all HVAC systems.

While you can clean your ductless mini-split system's air filters, you will need the right tools and techniques to conduct more maintenance tasks. Attempting an at-home AC repair or maintenance tune-up can further damage your systems.

It's best to call experts if you need any work done on your heat pumps and other heating and cooling systems. You can avoid damage and injury by entrusting your AC units to reliable professionals.

Does your ductless mini-split system have a clogged filter? Don't worry. Reach out to Sunset Heating & Cooling professionals for any AC Maintenance your ductless mini-split needs today! If you live in Portland, Oregon, we got just the guys for you!

Call Sunset Heating & Cooling at (503) 500-5866

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