Mini Split Cleaning: The Basics
Youve already made a great choice by getting a mini-split unit that heats, cools, or does both for your home or other space.
Once your mini split air conditioner is installed and running smoothly, you may forget that there is another important step to keep in mind: maintenance.
Like any home appliance, mini split air conditioners run at their best when they are kept up and maintained properly by regular cleaning and checkups. However, most people arent quite sure where to start when it comes to maintaining a unit like this.
Thats why weve put together this handy how-to guide that lays out everything you need to know about keeping your unit clean and running in tip-top shape.
How To I Eliminate The Smell Coming From My Mitsubishi Mini Split Units
I have 2 Mitsubishi mini split units on the 2 additions on my house. One is a Mr. Slim Inverter and the other is an Inverter.
During the warmer months when I am running them in A/C mode, they frequently give off a pungent sour milk smell. It seems to be when it is particularly humid outside. Here’s what I’ve tried to fix the smell.
- Cleaning the removable/reusable blue plastic air filter
- Pouring a cup of white vinegar over the evaporator coil
- Pouring a cup of bleach over the evaporator coil
- Spraying the evaporator coil with Nu Calgon Evap Cleaner
- Removing an cleaning the blower wheel, drain pan and all surrounding plastic with the Nu Calgon cleaner.
These all seemed to help at first but the smell always comes back, sometimes within days. It is worth noting that the evaporator coil doesn’t look particularly dirty. The drain pan was a bit funky and seemed to have a good bit of water but I checked and the drain is clearly allowing water to flow through to the outside.
Any ideas? The smell is very unpleasant and doing a number on our sinuses.
Posting my experience here as it may help others.
This happened for the first time to me last night — same scenario: 2-year-old Mitsubishi units, very humid day , low cooling load. The whole room is damp and the air is smelly, after running for only ~1 hour.
What solved it for me what switching the unit to “dry” mode. 10 minutes later, the smell was gone and the room is no longer damp.
How To Maintain Your Ductless Mini Split System
Air conditioning is one of those things thats difficult to live without here in Austin, especially during the dog days of summer. Regardless of what type of air conditioner you own, the best way to keep it running reliably and efficiently is with good maintenance practices.
Our team at AiRCO Heating and Cooling is well versed in the makes and models of all air conditioners. One popular air conditioning system today is called a ductless mini split system, also known as a mini split or ductless system. Like all air conditioning systems, the mini split requires special care to keep it running in tip-top condition.
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Benefits Of Regular Maintenance
Overall, the best way to avoid mini split repairs or weird smells is with regular maintenance. We agree with manufacturers when we recommend two tune-ups a year: One in the fall, before winter, and another in the spring before the cooling season begins.
With a tune-up, a certified technician inspects your entire system for any problems. Thats when we catch issues such as electrical problems or worn-out mechanical parts. Theyll also clean the system, avoiding problems like mold.
Mold In Air Conditioners: How To Clean And Prevent Growth
Mold and mold spores can reduce the air quality in your home, especially if someone in your household has a mold allergy. Mold growing in the bathroom or basement is bad enough, but what if mold grows in your air conditioner or inside the ducts of your HVAC system? We will explain how mold might form in a window-unit air conditioner or in ductwork, how to prevent it, and what to do if you do find mold in your air conditioner.
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Cleaning Mold From A Wall Or Window
These air conditioner mold removal steps will work on most window or through-wall air conditioners as well as on wall-mounted split system air conditioners and heat pumps.
A split system or “ductless” air conditioning system dispenses with duct work entirely, using a wall-mounted indoor evaporator/blower unit and a separate outside compressor/condenser .
At above left you can see rather typical dark mold growth on the plastic surfaces of the indoor half of a wall-mounted split system air conditioner. Similar mold may appear on window or through-wall mounted air conditioners as well.
Mold grows readily on the plastic surfaces of the air conditioner’s face cover and on its air-directing louvers because these surfaces often are damp with condensate from the conditioned air.
Mold may also grow on the metallic surfaces of the squirrel cage fan that blows room air through the air conditioner, more so as those surfaces accumulate building dust that typically includes organic debris such as skin cells.
At left is a close-up of a fairly-clean split system air conditioner blower fan.
If you click to enlarge the image you’ll see normal dust accumulation on the blade edges. In contrast, if the curved blades have become dust-laden not only does that serve as possible mold food it also means that the air-flow of the blower fan will be reduced.
Below is a fairly dirty air conditioner air outlet grille or fan blade.
Take Care Of Your Mini Split So It Takes Care Of You
Ongoing maintenance of your unit has many practical benefits, including energy efficiency, cost savings, overall comfort, and a longer life for the unit in general.To make sure you are properly cleaning your system, its a great idea to have the right equipment ready, including any accessories, coil cleaning systems, or mini-split bib kit units that can help you get the job done.
If youre ready to optimize your systems performance, weve got you covered at Total Home Supply. Head on over to our mini-split accessories department to check out our many great offerings.
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How To Clean Split Air Conditioners
This article was co-authored by Victor Belavus. Victor Belavus is an Air Conditioning Specialist and the Owner of 212 HVAC, an air condition repair and installation company based in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to HVAC and air conditioning units, Victor also specializes in furnace repair and air duct cleaning. He has over 10 years of experience working with HVAC systems.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 476,696 times.
Air conditioners are essential to keeping your home and business cool during hot weather. Split air conditioners are a common type of cooling system well-known for their compact, ductless format. The inner unit looks like a long rectangle thats built into a wall of your home, while the outdoor unit, known as a condenser or compressor, looks like a large metal box. Any air conditioner is only as good as its inner workings, so its important to examine and clean your split A/C often. Start by accessing and cleaning your indoor A/C unit before you work your way outside to clean the condenser.
Why Is Maintaining Your Mini Split Unit Important
We already mentioned that routine mini split maintenance checks keeps the device running its best, but why else should you care?
For one, regular cleaning is the best preventive measure you can take against issues such as unpleasant smells or odors, growing mold, and internal pieces getting worn down. When the unit is left unkempt for a long time, these issues tend to arise.
Another big reason why mini split cleaning is significant is for cost saving, too. When the system is running at its peak performance, it doesnt have to work as hard. Higher energy efficiency in your air conditioning or heating unit helps lower your bills each month.
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Cleaning A Fujitsu Ductless Split System
Hoping MOL community can advise us on an issue we are having as I am not native to NJersey and I have no idea where to begin. In our kitchen, we have a Fujitsu ductless split system air unit. I keep it very clean, rinsing and or washing the two screen filters in lightly soapy water at least once a month and as of late, once a week. I make sure to dry them completely before returning them to the air unit and turning it back on.
Our problem? The unit has mold and dirt inside – on the blower some of which we think is from our apartment being “flipped” at some point before we moved in, and the second part being that the unit is in the kitchen that I cook in several times a day, always turning on the stove fan . I do make sure to open windows now too.
Needless to say, my partner and I spent most of that day sitting in front of an open window to breath, in addition to me wearing an air mask.
Now our unit is blowing out bigger chunks of black colored mold and dirtier than ever. The aforementioned guy turned the unit on while the Nu-Calgon & mold killer was still soaking wet and I mean soaking & dripping all over our wood floor and wall wet.
Please feel free to recommend an HVAC company/person, or even be blunt with me if I am off base about the way the last guy handled his attempt at cleaning the unit. Thanks!
Use the interwebs to find a local, certified Fujitsu repair person.
A before and after pic of the cover, the plastic damage, and the cleaned unit.
How To Prevent Mold In The Air Conditioner
Keeping mold out of your air conditioner is the best way to ensure you have clean air circulating in your home, and there are several steps to do this.
HEPA filters: All air conditioner units come fitted with air filters. The problem with these filters is that they only block out the larger particles and they are there to protect the components of the unit and not your health. Fortunately, there are HEPA filters available for these systems, which will prevent microscopic mold spores from entering the air conditioner and, ultimately, your home.
UV filters: Most new air conditioners available for purchase today comes with a bacteria-killing UV light filter already fitted. In many cases, a UV filter can be purchased separately and installed on the current AC unit. This filter kills up to 99% of all viruses, bacteria, and mold spores without putting any additional strain on your air conditioner. Read more about the best mold-proof UV filters for air conditioners here.
Yearly maintenance: Its recommended to have a professional come in annually to thoroughly clean and do maintenance on your air conditioner. Air filters and drain pans need to be cleaned and replaced, while air ducts should be cleaned and dried.
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How Can You Tell If Your Air Condition Has Mold In It
Its not uncommon for people to go a long time before finding out that their air conditioner has been spreading harmful mold spores. Your air conditioning can be making you sick, and you may not even realize it.
Mold in an air conditioning unit is usually discovered during the course of maintenance, such as when someone is replacing filters or cleaning dust and debris from the air conditioner. In these scenarios, the mold could be discovered by the owner of the home or air conditioner or by a professional HVAC technician.
One way to watch out for mold is through scent. If theres a musty or stale smell whenever you turn on your air conditioning unit, it may point toward mold being present somewhere.
You may also want to look for mold if you experience any sicknesses or other symptoms that could be connected to mold. Look through the list of symptoms and problems discussed above for some examples of what to look out for.
If you suspect that your air conditioning unit may contain mold, you should begin by checking whatever parts of the unit are visible or otherwise easy to access, including the evaporator coils and filter. However, take note that these parts being clean doesnt necessarily mean that youre free of mold. Ducts, ventilation shafts, and other less easily visible areas may hide mold.
How To Handle Mold In Your Air Conditioning System
Everyone knows that mold can grow in your house, and exposure to it can lead to sickness. But did you realize that mold can also grow inside of air conditioning systems, spreading through the very air you breathe? Whether you have a single air conditioning unit or a full ventilation system, hazardous mold can make itself a home and cause significant problems. Many modern homes have a full HVAC system, which makes it all the easier for mold to become a problem because once it infiltrates one system, it spreads through the ducts to everything else.
A standalone air conditioner window unit can still grow mold and blow spores into the room the unit is located in. In this scenario, since the air conditioner isnt connected to any ducts in your home, the mold will not spread in the same way. Youll only have one air conditioner unit and one room to worry about. But if your house has central air, the smallest bit of mold can end up spreading through the whole house.
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How Mold Grows In Air Conditioners
Mold spores are everywhere. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get rid of all the mold spores in your house, and even if you did, more would come in every time you opened a door or window. When spores grow into mold, more spores are released, and these higher concentrations of spores are what cause the health problems associated with mold. Thus, the key is to prevent the mold from growing in the first place.
Mold needs two things in order to grow: moisture and an organic food source. Moisture can come from high humidity, or a leak or spill that is not cleaned up properly. Condenser and evaporator coils are the main contributors to condensation, and therefore have potential for water leakage if not properly drained. The food source can be the surface the mold is growing on, like wood or carpet, or organic particles found in dust, if there is enough of it.
Under most circumstances, air conditioners and HVAC ducts are not hospitable places for mold to grow. Sheet metal ducts and styrofoam channels inside window units do not offer mold a food source. However, dust often collects in these places, which can allow mold to grow.
How Does Mold Get You Sick
Mold visibly grows on a single surface, but it also spreads invisible, microscopic spores through the air, which can then be inhaled into the body. Once mold spores enter your lungs, they can lead to a myriad of issues, from small annoyances to major respiratory problems .
Many people will also have an allergic reaction upon contact with mold. It is an extremely common allergen, so unless youre one of the lucky few who is not allergic, expect more responses. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to mold include hives, rashes, and trouble breathing caused by swelling of the throat. Usually, these allergic reactions are relatively minor, but in some cases, they can be fatal.
The worst forms of mold actually create mycotoxins, a toxic substance that leads to even further medical issues. The most prevalent mycotoxin producer is known as Stachybotrys chartarum, or more commonly, black mold. Exposure to black mold has been tied to tons of health problems, from depression to eye infections to lung bleeding. Its not to be taken lightly.
Mold can grow virtually anywhere in your home, and regardless of location, exposure can lead to health problems. However, mold located in air conditioning units spreads spores out into the air throughout the house, which makes it especially dangerous and especially likely to cause sickness.
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Mold In Your Ductless Mini Split
Youll need professional cleaning to get the mold out of your ductless mini split. And, once again, the sooner you address it, the better off you are. If the infestation gets bad, it could take more than one cleaning to clear it all out.
And its essential to eradicate the mold. Otherwise, it can take hold again.
Products For Mini Split Cleaning
As with many appliances, having specific tools at your disposal to do your cleaning and fixes can make all the difference. Below are a couple of our favorites to work with:
1. SpeedClean CJ-125 CoilJet Coil Cleaner System
If you value ease and efficiency in your cleaning tools, look no further than this coil cleaner system from SpeedClean. This system works by delivering a powerful spray of water from a portable pack to clean off your evaporator coils and condensers. As opposed to a power washer, this system is pressurized so as not to overwhelm the condensate lines, giving you versatility and maximum performance.
The cleaner system also has a separate tank for both water and cleaners/chemicals. With this product, you can make sure that the coils in your mini split are totally clean, and your system functions as smoothly as possible. Paired with the Mini-Split Accessory Kit, it is easy to clean the coils and make them like new.
2. SpeedClean MSB-KIT Mini Split Bib Kit
Clean up the mess without leaving a mess using this mini split bib kit from SpeedClean. This kit is a great option for cleaning your mini split coils, fans, and more. With this item, you can attach a plastic bib to your system so that it catches the dirt and debris when spraying. There is also an XL kit for wall mount units up to 60 wide and a ceiling cassette kit for the tricky to reach ceiling units.
3. At Home Products
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