How To Clean The Filter On Your Home's Heat Pump Mini-Split Unit

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Ductless heat pumps offer homeowners considerable advantages, including higher energy efficiency, simpler installation and lower upfront purchase costs. Ductless units are also simple to maintain for homeowners and require little intervention to help them run at their peak level. However, all ductless heat pump units benefit from regular filter cleaning; dirty filters lessen operating efficiency and increase the allergen count inside the home. Those reasons are why you should perform an annual cleaning of your ductless heat pump filter. Below is a step-by-step procedure you can follow to help ensure the filters are completely clean:

Tools and materials needed

Step-by-step procedure for cleaning

1. Turn off the unit - Before beginning your cleaning procedure, you should always turn the unit off. This will protect both you from possible injury and the ductless unit from possible damage. You can turn off your ductless heat pump using the remote control, but you can also switch off the breaker at the main to prevent any shocks by someone accidentally restoring power.

Take note to watch the front cover to ensure that it rises or lowers into its "home position."

2. Open the heat pump's front cover - After the heat pump has been turned off, you are ready to open the front cover that protects the filter. Grasp both sides of the plastic cover near the bottom and pull gently, but firmly, backwards until you hear or feel a click. Be careful not to bend or break any tabs that hold the front cover in place. If you can't get the cover to come free, consider contacting a heating or air conditioning specialist to assist you.

As the cover comes free, it will likely remain in position attached to its hinges. Next, grasp the cover and pull it upward first, then lock it into position. Some units may use a small "stand" to hold up the cover as you work beneath it.

3. Remove the filter from the unit - After the front cover is out of the way, the next step is to remove the filter screen from the heat pump. The filter will be curved outward and should be easy to take out of the heat pump system housing. Grasp the filter gently and pull it upward and then out of its mounting location. Be careful not to pull too hard and risk tearing the vulnerable, fragile foam inserts.

4. Clean the housing and filter - Once you have pulled the filter out of the way, the next step is to remove dust and debris from the inside of the unit. For this task, apply the suction from a wet/dry vacuum to the interior components; you can use any attachment available, but a bristled upholstery brush makes short work of the task. Just be careful when vacuuming not to damage wiring or critical electronic components.

To clean the heat pump filter, place it inside a sink basin and cover it with warm water. Add a couple of squirts of liquid dishwashing soap to the water and stir it around with your hands until it is sudsy. Gently agitate the filter inside the warm, soapy water and allow it to soak for a few minutes when finished; next, rinse the filter thoroughly with clean, warm water and set it aside to air dry.

5. Reinsert the filter into the housing - After the filter has been cleaned and has dried, reinstall it inside the heat pump unit by reversing the steps taken for installation. Finally, press on the cover to ensure it has locked in place and will not arise accidentally or jam the operating mechanism.

If you run into any problems or feel you cannot do this yourself, call a professional heating company, such as Salem Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc., that can assist you.