What’s Causing Your Mini-Split AC to Not Cool Properly

An underperforming mini split air conditioning system can be a significant inconvenience, especially during the warmer season. While these units are celebrated for their efficiency and comfort, like any sophisticated machinery, they’re not immune to breakdowns and issues hindering their performance. 

We get this question from homeowners all the time. So, if your mini split is acting up, don’t sweat it – this article will shed light on a few common reasons why mini splits malfunction and stop cooling like they should. Keep reading for some troubleshooting tips to get your split system back in business, as well as popular customer FAQs. 

If you need immediate assistance, call our office to have a professional repair your unit. 

Mini split basics and benefits: How is my unit supposed to cool? 

For a quick review of the process, mini split systems use a refrigerant or coolant to pull heat the air indoors and send it outside. When it works, this cooling method is incredibly efficient and helps with energy savings, thanks to the system’s zoned temperature control.

But what happens when your system isn’t working? Take a look at the guide below to troubleshoot your unit. 

Mini split troubleshooting guide

Power source issue

A common issue that can stop your mini split AC from performing optimally is problems with the power source. This could be due to a blown fuse, a tripped breaker, or even fluctuations in the house’s electrical supply. Before considering more complex troubleshooting steps, make sure the unit is receiving adequate power. 

If needed, reset the breaker or replace any blown fuses to quickly restore your AC’s cooling capabilities without the need for a service call.

Your air filters are dirty

Over time, air filters can accumulate dust and debris, significantly obstructing airflow. This obstruction can decrease efficiency, causing your unit to struggle to cool the area effectively. 

To avoid this, clean or replace your air filters regularly. This simple yet crucial maintenance step will maintain optimal air quality in your house and maximize your investment in a mini split system by helping it maintain its energy efficiency.

Refrigerant leak

When refrigerant levels are too low (typically due to a leak), it can significantly impact your unit’s cooling performance. 

Many homeowners often ask, “How do I know my refrigerant is low on Freon?” Signs of a leak include:

  • Ice forming on the refrigerant lines.
  • A noticeable decrease in temperature control.
  • A hissing noise.
  • A sweet chemical smell 

If you notice any of these signs, do not try to fix the problem yourself; contact a licensed technician. Repairing a refrigerant leak involves handling hazardous materials. A professional service technician will have the equipment and experience to handle it and recharge your system safely. 

Thermostat issues

Thermostat issues can range from incorrect settings that affect temperature control to electrical problems affecting communication with the main unit. 

If your system is running but the air isn’t cool, it can mean your thermostat isn’t set to the right temperature. Ensure the thermostat has enough battery power and it’s set to the correct mode and temperature for cooling. 

If your system still doesn’t work, it may need recalibration or replacement. Check where it’s installed – some installers may have mistakenly put your thermostat too close to a heating source or an outdoor wall. In these cases, simply relocating the thermostat to avoid direct sunlight or drafts can improve performance. 

Obstructed outdoor unit

Your outdoor unit helps to remove the warm air from your living space. If the unit is obstructed by debris, plants, or any other obstacle, it won’t be able to function efficiently. 

Ensure there’s adequate clearance around the outdoor unit to facilitate proper airflow and heat exchange. Regularly inspecting and removing any obstacles can prevent overheating and ensure your system cools your home effectively throughout the warmer months.

Odd noises 

Unusual sounds from your mini split air conditioner can be alarming and may signal an underlying issue requiring attention. Odd noises such as buzzing, rattling, or hissing can often be traced back to installation errors, like improperly secured components, loose fittings, or other mechanical problems. 

Contact a technician to help you address this. It will help improve your comfort and extend the life of your unit. It’s best to act quickly, as the longer it goes unaddressed, it may cause damage to your system. 

Internal electrical issue

In some cases, your unit may have an internal issue. If you’ve tried all of the above, but your system still isn’t working, there may be a communication problem between the unit and the thermostat. Avoid trying to fix this yourself. It can be dangerous, and a mistake may cost you more than hiring a pro. 

An expert HVAC technician has the knowledge and experience to diagnose and correct electrical issues efficiently, ensuring the job is done right. 

When in doubt, let a professional help you out. 

These troubleshooting tips provide an overview of common issues. If you’re uncertain about performing any tasks to keep you and your unit safe, always consider consulting a professional HVAC service.

If you’re experiencing issues with your AC, contact the mini split specialists at Anderson Air. With nearly 50 years of experience serving northwest Arkansas, our professional team is equipped and committed to providing quick professional service at an affordable price. 

For more information or a quote from one of our mini split specialists, contact us today. 

Customer FAQs about mini splits

Why is my mini split running but not cooling? 

This could be due to several reasons including, a leak (refrigerant or ductwork), incorrect thermostat settings, a clogged air filter, or an internal electrical issue (see related sections above). If the settings are right and your filter is clean, contact a professional to diagnose and fix the problem for you. 

How do I reset my mini split?

To reset your system, hold the reset button on your unit or control panel for about 5 seconds or follow the instruction manual. If you’re not sure, refer to your user manual for your unit’s specific reset procedure.

Do mini splits require maintenance?

Yes, mini splits require regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Maintenance includes replacing filters, checking levels, cleaning in and around your unit, and scheduling annual professional check-ups. 

How often should mini splits be cleaned?

Clean your air filter every 4 to 6 weeks or depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation. The outdoor unit and condenser coils don’t need to be cleaned as often (typically every 6 months to keep them in shape). 

What is the average lifespan of a mini split?

On average, mini splits last about 10 to 15 years. Regular maintenance and proper installation significantly influence its longevity.

What are the benefits of a mini split AC unit?

Mini split AC units offer benefits such as energy efficiency and individual room control for more comfort and less noise than traditional systems. They also don’t require ductwork, making installation simpler and less invasive.

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