A homeowners points a remote control at the air handler unit of her mini-split system

Does a Ductless Mini-Split Filter the Air?

The answer is: kind of.

Mini-splits have filters that remove dust and particulates from the air that they heat and cool.

These filters are located behind the access compartment of the air handler. They sit right on top of the coil and are easily removed for cleaning.

The filters should be cleaned roughly every six weeks. You can do this either by vacuuming them or simply running them under water until they are clean.

The filters will remove quite a bit of dust, dirt, and dander, but their main function is to keep the evaporator coils clean.

They help keep your indoor air clean and free from allergens to an extent but nothing like you would see with an air purification system.

We put a short guide for mini split filter cleaning at the end of this article if you are looking for step-by-step instructions.

A ductless mini-split compressor on the external wall of a home
The outdoor compressor unit of a mini-split

Indoor Air Quality Importance and How Mini-Splits Can Help

Studies show that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air because pollutants and particles accumulate in the enclosed space of the home over time.

Contaminants are generated from cooking, combustion appliances, smoking, building materials, furnishings, and pets.

Given the large number of potential sources of air contamination, the importance of maintaining good indoor air quality cannot be overstated.

Some of the problems that poor indoor air quality can cause include:

  • Irritation of the eyes, throat, and nose
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Asthma

If poor air quality persists for an extended period, respiratory diseases can develop. Symptoms can quickly worsen for those suffering from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions.

The filters on mini splits aren’t going to do much to remedy poor indoor air quality. You will need a separate air-purification system for that.

However, mini-splits can assist by regulating indoor humidity levels. This helps greatly to control the number of dust mites and prevent mold from taking hold in a home.

For more information about improving the indoor air quality of green buildings, please read our article here.

Mini Split Filter Cleaning Guide

A homeowner installing a wall-mounted mini-split air handler below the ceiling

Here are the steps for cleaning the filter in your wall-mounted mini-split air handler:

  1. Turn off the power to the unit.
  2. Open the unit’s front cover by lifting the small tabs on the side and flipping up the lid.
  3. The filters will be visible on the front of the unit, behind the cover. Slide the filters out of the body of the unit.
  4. Clean the filters with a vacuum on both sides or simply run them under water until clean.
  5. Slide the filters back into the unit, taking care to line up the sides of the filters correctly. They should fall right back into place.

Mini-split filters should be cleaned every 4-6 weeks to ensure you continue to enjoy clean air in your home.

Cleaning might need to be done more frequently if you have construction work or other dusty activities ongoing in your house.

Paul the Plumber has done a quick instructional video demonstrating all the steps to bring the process to life. You can watch that video here.

A screenshot of a YouTube video on cleaning mini-split air filters by Paul the Plumber
Courtesy of Paul the Plumber

If the filters in your unit appear damaged or torn, it’s time to replace them with new ones.

Homeowners can purchase replacement filters inexpensively from the manufacturer.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your mini split’s filters clean will make sure your system stays functional and can both heat and cool your home effectively.

While the filters do remove dirt, dust, and dander from the indoor air to some extent, if you are having issues with indoor air quality, you will need to address those issues separately.

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