Mini-splits are those fantastic ductless systems that many of our customers have installed when they need to heat or cool just one or two rooms, which are not otherwise connected to the home’s central air duct system. They work well for home offices, home additions, or other rooms with similar air temperature challenges.

Often, these systems are installed close to the kitchen area. This can become problematic for the equipment, especially during the cold winter months when a home is closed up and lacking ventilation. Here’s why: Cooking oils—even from a boiling pot of pasta—become airborne and make their way into the mini-split system via the return on the indoor air handler. These oils are fine enough that they can also pass through the porous filter which normally protects the coil—necessitating additional maintenance beyond just filter cleaning.

Mini-splits typically require—under normal operating conditions—a filter cleaning once a month, and a coil cleaning twice a year. If this type of system is installed close to the kitchen, then it may require additional maintenance during winter months. And, the oil collected on the filter will likely make cleaning it more difficult. However, to make sure the equipment is running efficiently, and that it lasts as long as possible, proper maintenance will be required.

Here are some tips to prevent those cooking oils from getting into the mini-split system:

  1. Have a proper range hood installed and use it while cooking. Many do not have more than a standard household fan, and even some who have a hood choose to not use it when cooking. A range hood, when used, will direct cooking debris out of the home before it can spread and settle into unwanted spaces;
  1. Simply turn the mini-split system off while cooking. This will prevent the indoor air handler from pulling in all those unwanted cooking oils.

With regular care and maintenance a mini-split system can provide years of efficient heating and cooling—and help every home get the most out of its heating and cooling equipment.