6 Signs Your Mini-Split AC Needs Repairing

November 20th, 2020

Two-thirds of U.S. homes have air conditioners. However, most homeowners don’t know how to clean and maintain their AC units, resulting in malfunctions and early wear and tear.  

In this article, we will identify telltale signs that your mini split air conditioner needs repair. We’ll also give you cleaning and maintenance tips to keep your AC running in excellent condition.

Signs That You Need AC Repair

Seek help from a professional HVAC technician If you experience the following problems with your ductless mini-split air conditioner.

1. Leaking Water

Your mini-split AC uses refrigerant to circulate cool air, which may cause condensation. However, water or moisture should not accumulate and leak into your home.

Leaking water around or below your AC unit means your air conditioner is not working correctly. The condensate drain line may be blocked or broken.

Aside from water, the refrigerant may also leak from your AC unit. Refrigerants are poisonous and hazardous to your health. 

If you notice a pool of water under the AC, moisture buildup with odd color, it’s time to call an HVAC professional for repair. In the meantime, do the following:

  • Turn off the AC unit to stop the water flow and prevent further damage.
  • Shut down appliances and electrical devices to avoid electric shock.
  • Remove the water and wipe the floor and affected areas immediately.

2. Unusual AC Noise 

A low-noise ductless mini-split AC operates at around 40 decibels – this is comparable to the sound of a desk fan. Contact an HVAC professional to inspect your AC unit if you hear unusual sounds or noise, such as:  

High-Pitched Screaming or Hissing 

A high-pressure buildup in your AC’s compressor produces a high-pitched hissing sound, which can destroy the unit. Turn off the AC unit immediately if it doesn’t automatically shut down.  

Metal Screeching 

The metal on metal screeching sound can come from loose or broken fan motor bearings in the outdoor unit. In this case, your AC unit may require a fan replacement.

Squealing Sound from the Indoor Unit 

This can mean a fan belt problem. Initially, this sound comes and goes, which leads many to ignore this problem. However, if the fan belt has an issue, it will eventually break and lead to your AC unit’s shutdown.

Clanging Sound from the Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit fan may be loose or hitting the protective cage. Check for obstructions or loose mounting.

Bubbling Noise

The gurgling sound can come from the condensate drain or a refrigerant leak, leading to a bigger problem. This needs immediate attention.

Clicking Sound

This sound in the outdoor unit could mean a small obstruction in the fan, which strikes it as it runs.

If the AC unit doesn’t switch on, the clicking sound could mean an electrical problem in the air conditioner’s components.

3. Foul Odors from the AC

An unpleasant or unusual odor coming from your AC unit when it blows air can mean different problems. If you notice a burning smell, it can indicate an electrical wiring problem or an issue with the unit’s insulation.

You could be experiencing mold contamination in your home if you notice a musty smell coming from your AC unit. Report this issue to your HVAC technician immediately since spores in your indoor air can harm you and your family.

Duct cleaning can remove mold and odor that accumulate in the ductwork. Ultraviolet (UV) light can remove microbial growth in your AC unit.

4. Poor Airflow

Your AC unit will cycle more frequently and work harder to reach your desired temperature because of weak airflow. Insufficient airflow indicates different air conditioner problems: air duct leaks, compressor problems, a broken motor, or clogged air filters.

An HVAC professional will diagnose the cause of insufficient airflow, address the problem, and may suggest implementing zoning systems to regulate airflow and temperature in different parts of your Hawaii home.

A mini-split outside of a home

5. High Energy Bills

If you noticed a sudden spike in your energy bills without significant changes in the use of electrical appliances, the AC unit might be the culprit.

This means that your air conditioner is working longer and harder to deliver your desired temperature. This may be from a clogged air filter, which prevents cool air from circulating, or a frozen evaporator coil. 

Other problems can cause your AC unit to overwork, which, left unattended, can cause your system to break down.

6. AC Freezes Up

An air conditioner freezes up because the thermostat is set too low. It could also be because of a leak that needs repairing, or you have a clogged and dirty unit. 

Here are other reasons ice forms inside your AC unit:

  • Broken blower fan. Excessive condensation can build up and freeze the evaporator coils with a damaged blower fan. 
  • Low refrigerant. This means there’s a leak in the refrigerant line, which will eventually freeze the evaporator and condenser coils. 
  • Dirty air filter. Clogged air filters prevent air from going through the evaporator coil, which causes ice buildup. This also results in poor indoor air quality.

Simple AC Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Follow these simple air conditioner cleaning and maintenance tips to prevent the hassle of costly repairs and AC unit replacement:

  • Clean or replace air filters every two months or more often if you have pets and children in the house.
  • Ensure the outdoor unit is free from dust, debris, or any obstructions.
  • Remove airflow obstructions by moving furniture, appliances, and curtains that block air vents and prevent cool air from circulating.
  • Look for air duct leaks and seal them to prevent cool air from escaping and jacking up your energy bill.

AC Maintenance and Repair with Island Comfort

Regular cleaning, inspection, and maintenance of your ductless mini-split system are all it takes to keep your AC unit running in excellent condition for a very long time.

Our HVAC experts at Island Comfort will perform a thorough inspection of your AC unit, which includes:

  • Checking for freon line leaks using a freon leak detector
  • Refrigerant operating pressure monitoring
  • Evaporator coil inspection
  • Air filter cleaning
  • Blower motor voltage and amperage measurement
  • Thermostat testing and calibration
  • Wiring connection inspection
  • Safety issues check

We’ll make sure that you will experience the comfort, convenience, and excellent indoor air quality from your mini-split AC unit in your Hawaii home all year round.

Call Island Comfort at (888) 781-0364 for ductless mini-split AC installation, maintenance, and repair services in Kauai, Oahu, and Kona.