How to install, clean and maintain a mini-split HVAC
Mini-split HVAC systems have become increasingly popular with homeowners due to their energy efficiency. These systems allow you to cool or heat specific zones of your home, improving efficiency. A mini-split unit can serve as a heater and air conditioning for the home.
Like any primary home system, however, you’ll need to make sure your mini split has been installed properly and then keep up with the cleaning and maintenance so that it’ll last. Let’s explore what you should do to care for your HVAC system.
How hard is it to install a mini-split HVAC system?
Compared to traditional air conditioning and heating systems, a mini split is generally easier to install because it doesn’t require extensive new ductwork. However, successfully navigating a mini-split installation requires a solid understanding of how HVAC systems work. DIY mini-split installation projects can be a real challenge for those who don’t already have experience.
For example, you might have to do things like:
- Route pipes in the home
- Properly handle refrigerant lines
- Make sure the system connects properly to the other necessary built-in systems
So, many people opt to have an HVAC technician help them get these heater and AC system units installed.
You also want to consider your warranty when determining the installation method. Trying to work on a mini-split heat pump and air-conditioning system yourself can void some warranties.
If you have experience and know what to do with a DIY installation, or if you just want to know the steps that an experienced service professional will take as they install your unit, we’re here to provide you with an overview of how the installation process works.
How to install your mini-split HVAC system in 6 steps
If you’ve decided that a mini-split system is the right HVAC option for you, here’s what you need to know about a ductless mini-split installation and how homeowners can benefit from one.
Step 1: Choose an appropriate system
The first step involves making sure you select the best system for your home. Mini splits come in a variety of options and can cover spaces of different sizes. The two main types are single-zone ductless mini-split systems, which cover one area (such as a garage), or multizone ductless mini splits, which can heat or cool two different areas. A dual-zone mini split is powered by one condenser unit but has two air handlers. These cooling systems are more complicated to install but allow for temperature regulation in several rooms of your home.
Step 2: Prep to power the system
Now you’ll get ready to install the unit. Before positioning the different components, make sure your electrical wires are ready to connect once you have the units in place. You want the necessary conductor wires running to the outside where the exterior unit will go.
Step 3: Install the indoor unit
Now you’re ready to install the indoor unit. You should have a bracket to hold the indoor section in place. Using a level, align the wall-mount bracket properly so that the unit will hang straight on the wall. If the unit doesn’t hang straight, it might not drain properly. Mark where your bracket will hang.
You’ll need to make a hole in your wall to run the refrigerant lines, the drain tubing and the control lines. Based on the construction of your unit, this hole should be on the lower left-hand or the lower right-hand corner of the same wall where your indoor unit will rest. Check the size of the lines to see how big the hole needs to be and create a hole that angles slightly downward to the exterior of the house.
Next, connect the control wire to your indoor unit according to the specifications of your manual. Connect the refrigerant pipe, the control wire you just attached and the drainage tubing with electric tape and feed it through the hole you made. Once you connect these components, put the indoor unit on the bracket. Then get ready to work on the outdoor condensing unit.
Step 4: Prep to connect the outdoor unit
You’ll need to determine where the outside portion of your unit will go. You’ll likely have a few options, such as placing it on the roof or ground, or using another set of mounting brackets to hang it on the exterior wall. The main criterion is that it needs to connect to the pipes and tubing that you set up in the previous step.
Look at your instruction manual to see what you need to connect your lines. You’ll likely need at least a few different types of wrenches.
Step 5: Install the outdoor unit
Once you determine where you want to place the unit, secure it. Then you’re ready to connect the pipes and tubing.
If your refrigerant lines are pre-charged, be certain not to cut them. If refrigerant gets released into the atmosphere, it can be dangerous. If your lines aren’t pre-charged, you might need a professional to help you cut and charge the lines.
Make sure you follow the instructions on attaching your wires and tubing and securing them in place. Once you’ve attached the outdoor unit, place any covers you have over the wiring and tubing to help protect them from the elements.
Step 6: Power on the system
Once you’ve successfully installed your system, it’s good to have a professional come and inspect your work before turning it on. An HVAC professional can help you verify your electrical connections or charge your refrigerant lines.
An electrician can also help you run the necessary 120-volt or 220-volt line to your unit, which can be risky for those not trained in working with electricity.
Once you have this process taken care of, you can turn on the HVAC system and enjoy the cool or warm air it brings. Many systems come with a remote control, making it simple to enjoy this central air conditioning and heating source.
4 tips to clean and maintain your mini-split HVAC
Once your mini split is installed, you want it to work for years, keeping your home cool or warm and comfortable. To keep it operating optimally and maintain its energy efficiency, you should have the unit regularly cared for and cleaned.
If your unit gets too dirty, it might struggle to keep up with your heating and cooling needs. If one of your goals with the mini split is to help you save money, let us walk you through the basic steps of cleaning your unit.
Clean the outdoor unit
Clear the outdoor portion of your mini split of dust and debris regularly. When dirt sits on top of the unit, it can eventually make its way inside, where it can disrupt the unit’s operation.
Check your vents to make sure they remain free of particles that could start to build into clogs. To keep it clean, all you need to do is regularly wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Clean the air filter
The filters in your system play a critical role in the overall operation of your mini split. If they become clogged, it will be harder for the unit to operate, which can decrease efficiency and cause premature wear and tear on the components. It can also reduce the quality of the indoor air in your home.
Remove your filters from the inside of the mini-split AC unit and heat pump and carefully wipe them down. Plan on doing this step about every one to two months, unless your user manual gives you different instructions. When the filters become old enough that a gentle cleaning doesn’t get them clean, it might be time for you to replace the filters.
Clean the coil and condenser
In the outdoor portion of your unit, you’ll want to regularly maintain the coil and condenser by keeping them free from dirt accumulating on them. Failing to do this can cause damage to the system in the long run.
To clean them properly, turn off the power to these components. You can then gently spray down the unit, taking care not to bend the fins. Use a cloth to wipe off any debris that remains. Allow the unit to dry completely. You’ll want to go through this cleaning routine a couple of times a month.
Clean the pipes
The last major component you should clean are the pipes that connect the interior and exterior portions of the system. Regularly checking your pipes can help you catch potential problems, such as leaks.
Make sure the pipes remain free of dirt and dust, and give them a quick wipe down if you notice any buildup. You’ll want to take care of this step about once every one to two months.
Protect your mini-split system from costly repairs with Cinch
Caring for your HVAC system can help keep your unit functioning optimally. However, if something goes wrong, you want to know that you can get the issue addressed and corrected as quickly as possible.
With Cinch Home Services, you can get protection for many built-in systems throughout your home. If you need help maintaining, repairing or replacing one of your systems, a home protection plan is there for you. The Cinch Built-in Systems plan can cover your mini-split HVAC system, which means you always have someone you can reach out to when you have problems with your system.
Breathe easier with Cinch. Reach out today for a free instant quote!