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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Oct 23, 2017

Ductless expert Jesse Claerbout talks about his best maintenance practices for ductless air conditioners and heat pumps. This episode is part 2 of the two-part series. 

Ductless outdoor units tend to have clean condensing coils. The only real issues are grass clippings (and cottonwood, in some locations). which typically don't affect performance too sharply. Jesse likes to clean outdoor units with plain water; he does not use cleaners.

Drain cleaning is a little more involved than condenser cleaning. When cleaning a gravity drain, Jesse uses a shop vac to get rid of standing water. He does not run water through the drain line until after he begins reassembling everything after cleaning.

Three main lines need to be insulated: the suction line, expansion line, and drain line. A proper ductless maintenance procedure will include checking the state of those lines' insulation.

Condensate pumps can be a necessary evil in ductless unit maintenance. The cleaning procedure is straightforward, but it requires a lot of work and leaves plenty of room for techs to cut corners. Much of the difficulty comes from exposing the reservoir, which is the component that truly needs cleaning. You can clean it from the poly-tubing, but you must use a shop-vac to clean it thoroughly.

When you finish, make sure that the blower wheel sounds right and that no parts are rubbing against each other. Let the unit run for 15-20 minutes before taking line temperatures so that all the parts can dry. Check the charge (preferably without gauges), air temperature split, and your amperage to make sure that the unit works as it should.

Overall, the most important goal of ductless maintenance is to establish a cleaning regime that works for your business and the customer.


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