OK, so we’ve now been playing with some mini split system here at SpeedClean for a few months. We’ve installed them. Broken them down into pieces. Cleaned them, dirtied them…you name it. However, we’ve noticed that there’s a couple of things to keep an eye on when you’re performing maintenance.

Since the evaporator/air handler portion of the mini-split is usually located in a living space or workspace, there are two important challenges to consider to keep things running smooth and smelling great: water flow and mold control.

Go with the flow – but keep it light

Coil cleaning usually involves water –  and in some cases the more the better. However, much like air handlers and other evaporators the condensate drain line is small….really small. Now I realize why. It’s not going to be cooling a big space, so therefore it won’t be generating that much condensation. Well, that might be true but when you are maintaining it, that poses a pretty interesting challenge. Your customer’s living or work space is not a great place for a flood, so it’s important to match your water use to the unit’s capacity. Let’s just say you can’t be hauling a hose in to clean those coils.

This kit from BBJ Environmental has what you need to clean coils and keep odor out of mini splits

This kit from BBJ Environmental has what you need to clean coils and keep odor out of mini splits

Well, we are working on that problem, but more will come from that in a bit. Until then use a combination of a coil cleaner that can lift dirt out of coils and a small amount of water pressure, no more than 125 psi.  We suggest checking out micro coil clean from BBJ Environmental or SpeedyFoam from SpeedClean. Micro Coil Clean is an aerosol spray that clings to the coils and penetrates grimy buildup in just a few minutes. After it works, a light rinse brings coils back to peak efficiency. It’s quick, safe to use in inhabited areas and effective. And it won’t overwhelm the limited drainage capacity.

Do I smell dirty socks?

Before the rinse water has drained from a system, mold and bacteria start working on their comeback. Why you ask. Well that one’s easy. Mold and mildew are ever present in the air around us. warm, wet areas are breeding grounds for mold and that can describe an evaporator coil pretty closely.  For best air quality you should apply a product to keep biological growth at bay. The most noticeable manifestation of microbial activity is “dirty sock syndrome.” This can be a warning sign for other issues in your HVAC components including growth of dangerous bacteria and mold.

It’s important to control mold before it gets out of hand. We recommend using a cleaner that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew and other bacteria and fungi. But don’t use Clorox or other disinfectants. They are not meant for HVAC systems and actually don’t inhibit growth, just kill whats there. Use something that is EPA registered for use in HVAC systems and is labeled that areas don;t have to be evacuated while using. Only one we can find that fits the bill is Mold Control for HVAC Systems and Air Ducts from BBJ . It manages odor in a ductless system by inhibiting the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew for up to one year! This EPA registered mold, mildew and odor inhibitor is the only product labeled for HVAC use while areas are inhabited.

In fact, BBJ is offering Micro Coil and Mold Control packaged as a kit for cleaning ductless mini-split systems. You can see it here.

There are few EPA registered fungistats labeled for HVAC use. There are none packaged with an effective coil cleaner as a complete kit to clean and protect ductless mini-split systems.

Have any other ways to clean mini split systems? Let us know!