Using Ductless Mini Splits in a Commercial Space? Don’t Forget Maintenance
Ductless mini splits are a popular alternative to traditional heat pump systems. They can be particularly useful in commercial settings where available space may be minimal, where a ducted HVAC infrastructure doesn’t already exist, or where you may not be able to make structural changes to your building to accommodate a duct network. Ductless minis will also require regular preventive maintenance to keep them working effectively and efficiently.
Ductless mini splits in brief
Ductless mini splits are just as effective as ducted heat pump systems, but take up much less space. They do not require a ductwork system to provide heating and cooling. Instead, they rely on an outdoor unit (similar to that of a full-size heat pump) that is connected to up to four smaller indoor air handling units. The indoor units are connected to the compressor, condenser and other components in the outdoor unit by power lines, refrigerant pipes, and drains running through a conduit in the wall. The indoor units distribute the cool air produced by the system. Because mini splits need no ducts, the indoor units can be placed anywhere cooling or heating is required without concern for wasting conditioned air by sending into areas that don’t need it. You can use mini-splits to create a very effective zoned cooling and heating system, or you can combine two or more indoor units in areas that need more conditioning. Placement options are limited only by the length of the cables and pipes connecting the indoor and outdoor units. Ductless mini splits are relatively easy to install, are very efficient and run quietly.
Maintenance needs for ductless mini splits
Business owners who experience the benefits of ductless mini splits will want to do everything possible to keep them working properly. These units may be smaller than normal, but they still require regular preventive maintenance much like larger systems.
- Put in clean filters regularly: The air filters improve indoor air quality by trapping and holding airborne contaminants. They are also extremely important to system airflow. Dirty filters can impede airflow and cause malfunctions or breakdowns. Check filters at least every month, or more often if your site tends to have more particulates in the air. Change or clean filters when they get dirty.
- Keep the outdoor unit clean: The outdoor unit also needs plenty of airflow, so take steps to keep it clean and free of obstructions. Make sure trees, shrubs, grass and other greenery is cut far enough back to allow at least two feet of clearance on all sides of the unit and five feet of open space above it. Remove any accumulations of dirt, mud, grass, or other material in the unit’s vents.
- Clean and balance fans in the indoor units: Fan blades must be properly balanced and oiled to keep them working properly. The entire blower assembly should also be correctly balanced for smooth operation.
- Check refrigerant levels: The system will require a manufacturer-specified level of refrigerant to cool properly. Make sure there is not too much or too little refrigerant in the system and that refrigerant lines are undamaged and tightly connected.
- Keep the coils clean: The indoor and outdoor evaporator coils must be kept clean and free of debris and blockages. Check the outdoor coils more frequently since they are in an environment where dirt, grass and other material can accumulate more quickly.
- Keep the drains clear: The system provides dehumidification for your indoor spaces, which means there will be water that needs to be drained away. Make sure the drain pans and pipes are clear and not blocked and that water can flow away freely.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on ductless mini splits and maintenance for these convenient and efficient units, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
Image Credit: Donald Harper