Like most HVAC equipment, mini-split heat pumps are a significant investment—the average system costs thousands of dollars to install.
If installed correctly, these systems provide you with years of reliable, efficient heating and cooling.
But just how long do they last?
And what kind of maintenance is needed to keep them running smoothly?
How Long Do Mini-Split Heat Pumps Last?
On average, mini split units last 15-20 years. That is, if they have been properly maintained. That is the same lifespan of central furnaces and air conditioners, if you are looking to compare.
Most manufacturers provide a minimum of five years warranty on parts, which you may be able to extend to 10 years by registering the system online and even longer if installed by a specifically approved contractor.
What Are the Main Parts of a Mini-Split?
Similar to central air conditioners, mini-split systems are comprised of two main parts: the outdoor unit (known as the condenser) and one or more indoor units (called air handlers or “heads”).
These two components are connected by copper lines, through which refrigerant is pumped around the system.
The outdoor unit contains the compressor. This is the heart of the system, as it is responsible for pumping the refrigerant between the two locations. This refrigerant is what brings you cool air in your home. It absorbs heat and transfers it from one area to another.
During the summer, it takes heat from inside your home and moves it outside. And during the winter, it works in reverse. The system can find heat in the ambient outdoor air (even in cold weather) and move that heat inside to heat your home.
The compressor is integral to the functionality of the unit. Consequently, it is the most expensive component to replace. If the compressor develops a fault, replacing the entire unit could be more economical rather than replacing only the compressor itself.
Mini-Split Technology and Longevity
Mini-splits’ reliability is constantly improving, thanks to advances in technology and engineering—it’s not unheard of for these types of systems to last over 20 years.
The manufacturers’ warranties typically last for anywhere between five and 12 years, but there’s no reason why your unit can’t last much longer than that.
If you live on the coast, the salt in the air will increase the risk of corrosion, making parts fail more quickly than in places where the air is less humid and contains less salt. So, bear this in mind when assessing the likely life expectancy of a mini-split in your local climate.
Here are some tips for ensuring your system continues to operate correctly well into the future, maximizing the return you get on your investment.
- Ensure your installer is qualified – most states require HVAC contractors to be licensed, or at least registered, to install mini-splits. This helps to ensure the integrity and quality of their work.
- Use a manufacturer-approved installer – many manufacturers run programs that approve contractors to install their equipment and will offer extended warranties on systems they install.
- Have your unit serviced regularly – regular maintenance will ensure any problems are detected before they become serious.
Mini splits have filters in the head units that should be cleaned every six weeks. These are easy to access by lifting the cover. You can vacuum the filters or simply rinse them in the sink. Dirty filters can put strain on the compressor outside and cause it to overheat. This is true for central air conditioners as well.
- Ensure your mini–split is correctly sized – if it’s too small, it will have to work harder to maintain the right temperature, whereas if it is oversized it will “short-cycle.” Short cycling means the system satisfy the thermostat setting quickly and will constantly turn on and off. This is not good for the unit. Both issues cause undue wear and tear and ultimately shorten their lifespan of the system.
- Don’t ignore unusual noises coming from your unit – noises can indicate parts that have worn, become loose, or are otherwise not working as they should. It could only be a matter of time before a noise develops into a serious fault, so get them investigated promptly by a professional.
- Investigate poor performance – if your unit is not providing enough heating or cooling, this could be a sign it has developed a fault, and you should get it looked at by an expert.
- Keep up with preventative maintenance – This means checking and changing filters regularly, as well as scheduling tune up services with your HVAC company. Most companies recommend a tuneup every year. However, if the system is newer and has been working well, you can get by with a tuneup every other year. If you have an older system, it is good to have it professionally inspected annually.
Don’t Forget to Send in your Warranty Registration
Manufacturers offer warranties for their units that cover faulty components, and some will even replace the entire unit if certain problems arise.
While individual HVAC companies each have their own warranty standards, your mini split manufacturer will have warranty information that you need to send in.
This can be mailed in to the manufacturer or completed online. Normally, this information is on, or with the user guide/installation booklet.
The standard warranty will typically cover the cost of replacement parts. However, manufacturers will not usually cover the labor associated with repairing the unit.
Again, different HVAC companies will have different labor warranties. This is something to keep in mind when you are getting quotes for an install.
The table below summarizes warranties offered by some mini-split manufacturers:
Mini Split Heat Pump Manufacturers’ Warranties
|Length of Standard Warranty (Years)
|Compressor Warranty (Years)
|10 years available with qualified installer and registration
|Online registration and maintenance conditions apply
|10 years available if installed by a Gree Select Dealer
|10 years available with registration. 12 years available if installed by a DIAMOND CONTRACTOR and registered.
|10 years available with registration if installed by a licensed contractor. 12 years with registration if installed by an Elite Contractor
More extended warranties are sometimes offered if the system is installed by an approved contractor.