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Common Ductless Mini-Split Issues and Fixes

Homeowners opt for a ductless system over the traditional HVAC unit to avoid the need for larger installation and tons of ductwork running throughout the attic and beyond. However, issues can pop up with both the indoor and outdoor units of a ductless mini-split. Some can be a quick fix; others may require the helping hand of a technician.

Improper Signals & Strange Noises


If your ductless mini-split isn’t working, you may be having a larger equipment issue with the system itself. Ductless mini-split systems must be able to communicate with themselves. If it experiences a poor signal, the mini-split indoor unit may not operate even when powered on. It may operate inconsistently or force a ductless AC or heater to work on just one mode. You can fix this by making sure your ductless unit has the right communication wire for proper operation. Consult an electrician if you are unsure about this.

A ductless mini-split system may start making unusual noises. That’s when it’s time to call in a professional for repairs to any number of problems. Rattling, hissing, and buzzing could be brought on by loose equipment and bodies within the ductless system. This could lead to a blower wheel, coil, or fan motor sputtering out immediately. This will put a heavy strain on the ductless mini system, running up energy bills and exhausting the lifespan of a new system entirely.

Refrigerant & Water Leaks


A refrigerant leak is not common, but it is a serious issue for your ductless HVAC system as well as the environment. If you notice reduced power coming from your system or hissing noises and tiny bubbles, you could be leaking refrigerant. If an air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, you’ll try and lower the thermostat in the hopes of feeling some cool air. That is wasting electricity because of inconsistent usage. A licensed technician must be called for this emergency service, as it could lead to an eventual system breakdown. They should make sure that leaks are fixed properly before reloading a ductless unit with refrigerant, as it will just drip out of these visible leaks again and compromise the unit.

When refrigerant levels circulating through evaporator coils are insufficient, coils will not absorb heat properly. This causes the coils to freeze with that condensation, beginning to melt and drip on the floor, causing expensive repairs such as a compressor replacement. Besides refrigerant leaks, water leaks can create another serious issue. One cause is an improperly pitched drain line, which must be at a 5-degree angle for a ductless mini-split system. Has it been checked for proper wiring by a technician?

Clog in the Condensate Line


Clogs can back up a ductless mini-split with bacteria and mold build up in the condensate line, leading to significant water damage. This can build up the damage in walls and, in some extreme cases, cause the indoor unit to fall off the wall. This is an immediately noticeable situation when the ductless system needs repair.

Ductless heat pumps and air conditioners combine with an outside compressor, so a poor drainage issue can also compromise these systems’ proper airflow and connection. While air leakage is less likely with ductless air conditioning and heating, this can compromise the room structure where these units are established. These clogs can also become noticeable if the system smells musty, hinting at the potential formation of mold and bacteria in the condensate line. Be sure to get a technician with years of experience to properly assess any problems that arise with your indoor and outdoor ductless units. This will help keep your units in good condition for years to come.