There’s nothing worse than finding yourself with a broken HVAC system in the middle of summer. When all you want to do is be cool, and your HVAC stops working or isn’t operating at max capacity, it can be tough not to panic. Mini-split systems offer efficient heating and cooling solutions for homes and businesses. Unfortunately, like any machinery, mini-split system issues arise from time to time. Understanding common problems and the basics for troubleshooting mini-split systems can help you maintain the optimal performance of your unit, prolong its lifespan, and know what to do when trouble arises. Read on for more information about the most common mini-split system issues, detailed advice for troubleshooting mini-split systems, and tips on preventing future problems.
Most Common Mini-Split System Issues
No matter what mini-split system you have, they are known for their efficiency, easy installation, and repairs. If your unit stops working or you feel a decrease in efficiency, it is probably one of these common problems.
1. Refrigerant is Leaking
Leaking refrigerant is one of the most common issues with mini-split systems. Mini-splits are comprised of two units – an outdoor compressor and an indoor air-controlling unit. They are connected by a refrigerant line that runs from the outside through a wall of your home to the indoor unit. Refrigerant is used in the outdoor components, and the line is prone to leaking. Refrigerant leaks can result in decreased cooling or heating efficiency or even a total system failure. You can spot a refrigerant leak if you notice a cooling or heating capacity change, hissing sounds coming from the unit, or frozen evaporator coils. It is essential to address a refrigerant leak promptly, as allowing it to continue to leak will further damage the system. Turn off your unit, and contact an HVAC professional to repair and recharge your system immediately.
2. Having Sensor Problems
Like other types of HVAC, mini-split systems use sensors on the indoor unit to monitor the temperature in the room and adjust the cooling or heating accordingly. If your sensor malfunctions, the system cannot provide consistent or accurate temperature control. If you notice temperature variations, that is a good indicator of a sensor issue. Another sign of a problematic sensor is if your unit doesn’t respond to temperature adjustments. If you can locate your sensor based on your manufacturer’s instructions, you can check if it is properly positioned and clean – using a soft cloth should do the trick! If the issue persists, contact a heating and cooling pro to inspect and replace your faulty sensor for a more comfortable home.
3. It’s a Drainage Issue
Mini-split systems have condensate drainage systems, which are necessary for removing excess moisture. Water can leak into and throughout the unit if this drainage system is clogged or blocked. Due to the electronic nature of an HVAC system, water can affect the unit’s performance and cause severe damage. The first sign of a drainage issue is water pooling around or dripping from the indoor unit. Alternatively, the system could shut off unexpectedly due to water damage. Ensure your drainpipe is clear of obstructions and the connections are solid. If you feel confident, flush the drainpipe with water and bleach to remove buildup. However, if you need help solving the drainage issue, it is best to contact a professional.
4. Ineffective Heating or Cooling
If you are experiencing ineffective heating or cooling, this could indicate various mini-split system issues. You could have dirty or full air filters, a malfunctioning compressor, an issue with the thermostat settings, or many other problems. First, you should check the air filters and clean or replace them if they are dirty or clogged. Ensure your thermostat is set to the correct temperature and mode of operation. If your problem still needs to be solved after conducting these basic fixes, consult a heating and cooling contractor.
Advice For Troubleshooting Mini-Split System Problems
If you’re experiencing mini-split system issues, there are a few things you can do before calling in a professional. Here are some of the easiest ways to troubleshoot mini-split system problems!
1. Check the Basics with a Manual
Sometimes seemingly insurmountable problems can be solved with the simplest solutions. If you encounter a mini-split system issue, start your troubleshooting process by ensuring the unit has power. If it does, try the best technology hack – turn your system on and off. Next, check the remote-control batteries and that your thermostat settings are accurate. Also, do a quick scan through your user manual to see if there are any obvious fixes. Sometimes, simple oversights can be the cause of the most frustrating problems.
2. Inspect and Replace Your Filters
Every HVAC system has filters, which all get dirty and clogged periodically. It is important to routinely check, clean, and replace your mini-split filters. Clogged air filters can restrict airflow and reduce system efficiency, meaning your utility bills can skyrocket while your air supply and comfortability plummet. Regularly inspect and clean your filters with a cloth or light vacuum. Replace them when necessary to maintain proper airflow and improve the overall performance of your HVAC. Replacing your filters is an easy fix you can do yourself; make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific system!
3. Examine the Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit of your mini-split system can receive a lot of wear and tear from weather, debris, and other natural causes. If you’re encountering HVAC troubles, inspect the outdoor unit for debris, such as leaves, branches, or dirt, that might obstruct airflow. Clearing obstructions and ensuring the unit is clean and debris-free can help maximize its efficiency and restore comfortability in your home. You can use a broom, soft brush, or vacuum cleaner to do the job!
4. A Sensor Problem
You could have a sensor issue if your mini-split isn’t heating or cooling to your required temperature. The sensor could be misaligned, which can be fixed by adjusting its position per the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, it could be dirty, so you can gently clean it with a soft cloth. If you see physical damage to your sensor, it is best to call an HVAC pro to inspect it.
5. Refrigerant Level Check
Unfortunately, troubleshooting mini-split system refrigerant leaks isn’t for the faint-hearted or the inexperienced. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it is crucial to contact an HVAC professional as soon as you can. Refrigerant leaks require specialized equipment and expertise to detect and repair. Handling refrigerant-related issues with proper training can be safe. Additionally, you could risk voiding your system’s warranty. Hiring a licensed technician can help you accurately diagnose and repair these leaks and ensure the system operates efficiently and safely.
When Should I Call a Heating and Cooling Professional?
For all you DIYers out there, there are a few mini-split issues you can solve yourself, such as checking your sensors, cleaning your outdoor unit, and cleaning and replacing your air filters. However, most HVAC fixes beyond that require a professional touch, and it is essential to know when to call in a heating and cooling professional. If you are experiencing the following issues, you should reach out to an HVAC pro immediately:
- Refrigerant leaks or refrigerant system issues
- Electrical problems or wiring faults
- Major component malfunctions, such as compressor or fan motor failures
- Issues requiring specialized tools or expertise
- Routine maintenance and annual inspections
Experienced HVAC technicians have the knowledge, training, and expertise to diagnose and repair complex issues. They are accurate, efficient, and quick and will avoid causing more problems while they work on their repairs. In most instances, when you have encountered a mini-split system issue, it is vital to reach out to an HVAC professional promptly.
How Can I Prevent Mini-Split System Issues in The Future?
If you’ve had a malfunctioning HVAC system, you know the last thing you want to do is go through that kind of discomfort again! The best thing you can do to prevent a mini-split system failure in the future is to schedule regular maintenance visits with a qualified HVAC professional. HVAC pros will inspect and clean your system, check refrigerant levels, and ensure all components function correctly. During routine maintenance, HVAC technicians can also identify minor problems before they turn into large ones or parts that need to be replaced shortly. It helps your system operate at peak efficiency and increases the longevity of your unit.
Additionally, you can regularly clean and replace air filters and the outdoor unit, alleviating any potential strain on the system. Finally, you should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for operation, maintenance, and recommended service intervals to prevent future problems and get the full lifespan out of your system. This includes following temperature range recommendations, remote control, warranty information, and proper usage and care.
How Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning Can Help
Are you troubleshooting mini-split system issues on your own in the Tri-Cities, Washington, area? You don’t have to do it alone – Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help! Our HVAC technicians have years of experience diagnosing, fixing, and preventing mini-split and other HVAC system issues. We work with your needs and budget to determine the best solutions for your home. If you’re facing problems with your mini-split system, don’t hesitate to contact Apollo Heating and Air for professional assistance. We will help you feel comfortable in your home again!