Mini-split heat pumps are a significant investment—the average system costs thousands of dollars.
But, they will typically provide you with years of reliable, efficient heating and cooling. However, even the most reliable brands can occasionally become defective, so you should pay attention to how long the warranty lasts and whether it includes parts only or also covers labor.
You’re probably wondering whether a mini-split will save you money in the long run and, if so, how long the payback period will likely be. Before you can determine this, you need to understand the typical life expectancy of a mini-split, its upfront cost, and how much it costs to run.
This article covers how long you can expect a heat pump to last and the typical warranty periods manufacturers offer.
We have articles that cover other aspects of mini-splits that you need to consider, such as whether they can heat your whole house. As a prudent homeowner, these are the right questions to ask before you install any new HVAC equipment.
In the rest of this article, you’ll find information about warranty periods, the life expectancy of mini-splits, and some tips to prolong their useful life.
Let’s dive in.
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How Long Do Mini-Split Heat Pumps Last?
Mini-splits can last for 20 years or more if properly maintained. 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?
Mini-split heat pumps are made up of two main parts, the outdoor unit and one or more indoor units. Refrigerant lines connect these two components, through which refrigerant is pumped around the system, making the round trip between the outdoor and indoor units.
The outdoor unit contains the compressor, responsible for pumping the refrigerant around the refrigerant lines, and 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.
The indoor units, known as air handlers or head units, are typically mounted on the walls inside the home and provide warm or cool air by blowing air from the room across a coil containing refrigerant.
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. Clear your system’s filters and airways regularly to avoid the buildup of dust and debris, which can cause the unit to work harder, causing overheating issues and placing unnecessary stress on its components.
- 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 be “short-cycle.” Both issues cause undue wear and tear on the units and will shorten their lifespan.
- 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.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that it might not always be the best thing to repair your heat pump if it breaks down.
This might be the case if your system is old and technology has moved on. The mini-split industry is consistently innovating and making its equipment more efficient and reliable.
So, if the repair cost is high, it might be worth cutting your losses and scrapping the old unit in favor of a more modern, efficient system.
It would be best if you got advice on this from a professional, who will be able to give you the pros and cons of repair versus replacement of your system.
Manufacturers offer warranties for their units that cover faulty components, and some will even replace the entire unit if certain problems arise.
Remember to register your system with the manufacturer to benefit from an extended warranty period. Registration can usually be done easily online and will entitle you to an extra coverage period, which is worth getting for added peace of mind.
The standard warranty will typically cover the cost of replacement parts. However, manufacturers will not usually cover the labor associated with repairing the unit, so you’ll have to cover that cost yourself.
For total peace of mind, some companies will offer a labor warranty that will cover the cost of any labor associated with repairs for up to ten years, but this is not industry standard, so you might need to shop around to find such a company.
Over time, any components in a mini-split could develop a fault, but the compressor is the most expensive of these, and you’ll be glad for the warranty if this happens to you.
Always read the fine print of your warranty. The devil is in the detail when it comes to warranty agreements. They often include conditions relating to who must install the system, ensuring it is regularly maintained and serviced, and using approved parts in any repair.
Warranties are very valuable and can save you a lot of money and hassle if things go south.
The table below summarizes warranties offered by some mini-split manufacturers:
Mini Split Heat Pump Manufacturers’ Warranties
|Brand||Length of Standard Warranty (Years)||Compressor Warranty (Years)||Notes|
|LG||5||7||10 years available with qualified installer and registration|
|Daikin||10-12||10||Online registration and maintenance conditions apply|
|Gree||5||7||10 years available if installed by a Gree Select Dealer|
|Mitsubishi||5||7||10 years available with registration. 12 years available if installed by a DIAMOND CONTRACTOR and registered.|
|Fujitsu||2-5||6-7||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, which tends to cost more but might be worth it if you want better protection should anything go wrong in the future.
Mini-splits make an excellent choice for heating and cooling your home. They are efficient and reliable, potentially lasting up to 20 years or more.
Mini-split manufacturers offer warranties, which can be extended by registering your system online and using an approved contractor to perform the installation.
Manufacturers’ warranties typically only cover the cost of replacement parts, not any labor required to fix things. However, your installer might offer a labor warranty, which will cover such charges in the event of a breakdown.