LumberJocks

Mini-split - fact or fiction

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by bh1710 posted 05-18-2022 11:47 PM 763 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bh1710's profile

bh1710

33 posts in 1979 days


05-18-2022 11:47 PM

I’m looking for some feedback from members that have experience with Mini-Splits in their shops (preferably 5 years or more).

I have a mini-split that I’ve had an up and down relationship with. It’s usually very efficient and does a great job for both heating and cooling.

The weather has turned warmer here in Virginia and it was doing a great job until yesterday. I could tell it wasn’t keeping up and actually died on me when I was in the shop.

The technician told me today that mini-splits in wood-shops have a very short life because of the fine dust and there’s not much I can do about it. Expect 5 years instead of the 10 years I was sold on.

My shop has decent dust collection on all power tools, 2 Air filters that I run after heavy tool use. I also have built a filter holder that fits quite snugly around the inside air-handler of the mini split so the air is filtered before it’s drawn into that unit. I know I have to up my game on the kind of filters I’m using in that unit and run the shop air filters more often but I’m wondering if the technician’s comment about the shortened life holds water.

Any experience or comments to share?


21 replies so far

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

1286 posts in 1694 days


#1 posted 05-18-2022 11:57 PM

i’ve an associate that has had a 2.5 ton mini in his shop for 12 years one of the first ones offered here in az. and in the last 7 years has been in his shop working on his lathe and other tools half the days of the week, and probalby about 5 – 6 days a week in summer months when its a tad too warm here to work without some air movement, his course of action is, clean it monthly pending on his work in shop, some months he claims little to nothing in filters and or coils, and occassionally he gets a whiff of dust when he uses a shop vac to suck and or blow dust out.

i have 2 ton in my shop approx 900 sq ft of shop space, its only been in for a few months, and just last month began using is, do have stand alone dust pick up, a festool vac for the ros, and misc. and large dust collector for saws, planers and big sanders, still assembling the big system for shop, took me forever to come up with a plan, but have a 4hp griz in a stand alone room to clean shop up.

Of course i would suspect geography has a lot to do with functionality and success of unit, with the almost lack of humidity here they tend to work simpler and easier, at least thats what one of my ac contractor claims, but like most things maintenance regularly can extend the life of most mechanical items.

i watched some youtube wood worker install a filter system in front of the intake on his mini splits, pretty simple, and was surprised at how little dust there was after months of working in shop.

any event, every thing breaks, and as murphy would have it do so, at the most inappropriate time, much like my pool pump, works all winter long, but once we hit the hundy a day mark it croaks, takes pool it seems like hours to turn swamp color much like DC is.

hope it is a simple fix, for sure they are a boon for small, even large shops pending your needs.
best for the fix

rj in az

-- Living the dream

View bh1710's profile

bh1710

33 posts in 1979 days


#2 posted 05-19-2022 12:08 AM

Thanks for your quick response. I should amend my initial post to state that I feel I’m being prepared to be recommended a new unit instead of finding the trouble with this one and simply blaming the wood-shop environment.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

9759 posts in 2879 days


#3 posted 05-19-2022 12:35 AM

I usually tell the A/C repair guys that if they can’t fix it, that the guys I call to repair are never the ones that I will use to replace because it creates a conflict of interest. I also hint I have a friend who will install a new unit at cost but I don’t like to bother him for repairs and maintenance. Gives them more incentive to try and fix it.

What brand and model do you have? That may help ID whether maybe you got a model that others have had trouble with as well. Other than not cooling, what other symptoms did it have. What exactly happened when it finally died?

I am curious how dirty the extra filters you added get? Does the internal filter get dirty? I have been wondering if the extra filters I have seen a couple of YouTubers add add any extra strain on the unit? Make sure the guy actually shows you what problems the dust actually caused. When I open up and clean my portable AC unit, it is pretty easy to tell that the dust had clogged it up (easy to clean too).

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

1286 posts in 1694 days


#4 posted 05-19-2022 12:36 AM

well one of the big issues on repair of mini’s is a lot of ac contractors guys struggle with figuring out repairs, at least thats what my pal the ac guy says, claims a lot of contractors dont want to service stating, off brands, chinese, taiwanese, ect, ect.

they are how ever becoming all the rage in last half dozen years, seeing more and more, Mexico imports a gaggle here locally under the Mirage name, expats seem to go to mexihole and come back with truck loads of them and hawk them on offer up and craigslist, facebook market place, rumor is their life expectancy is limited due to workmanship in manufacturing. second hand news by the way, i have no experience with them.
good luck
rj

-- Living the dream

View Barkley's profile

Barkley

118 posts in 1094 days


#5 posted 05-19-2022 12:38 AM

I’ve been using my mini-split for about a year. I built a frame around the intake to accomodate 4 12X24 furnace filters. This gives me 8 sq ft of air filtration which I clean every week or 2. My unit has a readout that comes on about that often. It says CF, I hope that means clean filter but if you ever see me work ya might think of something else. My son told me to be sure not to restrict the airflow on these units because they choke down quicky because of the size of their blower (that’s part of the efficiency). Your unit might just need cleaning. He doesn’t like installing them because he can’t make much money off of them. Install them and just run’em. I’m not sure if he’s ever had one break. He owns a HVAC business. As far as the filter addition, check out the Youtube video by Jay Bates. He’s made some really good videos on varoius things in the shop. I’ve used his ideas on the minisplit and the elevator. That’s where I got the idea.

-- Thin the herd

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

3485 posts in 2080 days


#6 posted 05-19-2022 01:51 AM

I have a grizzly G0738 air filter running at the same time and after the split.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

5607 posts in 3840 days


#7 posted 05-19-2022 11:06 AM

Before I would spend any money on a repairs or a new min split, I’d take the cover off and expose the coils and vacuum them off thoroughly, then if you have an air compressor, blow off the coil thoroughly. Clean everything out really well then turn it back on. Same with the blower motor if you can get to it.

I still need to build a furnace filter frame around it to keep it cleaner.

I have a mini split that I’ve been using for ~3 years and I do this every couple months.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View bh1710's profile

bh1710

33 posts in 1979 days


#8 posted 05-19-2022 11:15 AM



I have a grizzly G0738 air filter running at the same time and after the split.

- Madmark2

I have 2 of those in the shop. One is down under my assembly table and one is above the assembly table. I also have a “filter box” like the Jay Bates video around the unit.

It definitely still gets a fair amount of dust inside the unit which turns into a kind of sludge and runs down the unit.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

3868 posts in 1093 days


#9 posted 05-19-2022 11:43 AM

I see the dust intake making the unit a little less efficient maybe but I don’t think that will cause premature failure unless you never clean the filters. Leaving them plugged would place a strain on the fan motor.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

10186 posts in 2066 days


#10 posted 05-19-2022 11:44 AM

I also have 2 of that Griz air cleaner. I just move them around so I am where the dust is, and those air handlers are too. I don’t have a mini split, but a conventional furnace. You still don’t want any kind of heating/cooling unit bathed in sawdust. I’ve found on those air handlers that they are more efficient closer to your head, than above it, so I sit them on benches, and work surfaces.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bh1710's profile

bh1710

33 posts in 1979 days


#11 posted 05-19-2022 12:12 PM

I’m thinking that relocating the low one to the ceiling near the mini-split head unit would help. Or maybe just buy another unit to place up near the mini-split.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7503 posts in 3985 days


#12 posted 05-19-2022 12:15 PM



I see the dust intake making the unit a little less efficient maybe but I don t think that will cause premature failure unless you never clean the filters. Leaving them plugged would place a strain on the fan motor.

- controlfreak

I doubt that would strain the fan motor. Think of it like a DC, closing the blast gates reduces the load because the impeller isn’t moving air. But I’d bet it’s still not good for the system, the compressor will be told to run by the thermostat, but there’s little air to exchange the heat.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Kudzupatch's profile

Kudzupatch

405 posts in 2700 days


#13 posted 05-19-2022 12:31 PM


I see the dust intake making the unit a little less efficient maybe but I don t think that will cause premature failure unless you never clean the filters. Leaving them plugged would place a strain on the fan motor.

- controlfreak

My thoughts too.

The filter should keep the (most of) dust out of the unit. You want to keep the dust out of the coils. It will clog up the fins, lower the air flow and kill the cooling ability.

Getting out of my wheel house but I think if the fins get clogged enough it can cause some issues with the pressure of the freon in the system? Seems I remember learning that somewhere.

It would also collect on the fan but I can’t imagine it lowering air flow that much.

If you keep the filter clean and they are doing there job I have trouble understanding how it would cause a failure. If the coils are getting stopped up then I can see why you have problems.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

9759 posts in 2879 days


#14 posted 05-19-2022 12:38 PM

I’ve seen several videos recommending using one of these bags when you need a thorough cleaning using a foaming cleaner.


I m thinking that relocating the low one to the ceiling near the mini-split head unit would help. Or maybe just buy another unit to place up near the mini-split.

- bh1710


One thing that I thought about doing instead of making a filter box is instead running the output from my air filter systems into the intake of the mini-split. Not sure that I would want the noise all the time but feeding pre-filtered air might reduce maintenance at least. I would probably want a way to bypass the air filter when I am not making much dust in the shop.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

9200 posts in 4068 days


#15 posted 05-19-2022 12:56 PM

Test everything and isolate the problem, it could be the capacitors or a bad board.

My tech writes everything on paper and I mean Everything.

After you know what went wrong and why you can make an informed decision. Best of luck

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com