Why Does My Mini Split Smell (And What Do I Do About It)?A ductless mini split can provide better comfort than conventional central AC while also improving your indoor air quality. But, as with any appliance, you need to keep it in good working order. And, a bad smell can be a sign something’s wrong. 

Mini splits, especially ones built by leading brands such as Mitsubishi Electric, are made exceptionally well and don’t break down easily. But, nothing’s perfect, and you want to catch a small problem before it gets worse.

Meanwhile, the odors coming from a ductless heating and cooling system are often different than you’d expect with central air. So, many of these are unfamiliar to people — especially homeowners that have only recently gone ductless. 

Read More: How Long Do Ductless Mini Splits Last?

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll go over:

If you notice any of these problems in your Treasure Valley home, call or email us here at Snowflake Air right away! Thanks to our expertise with ductless heating and cooling, we’ll get your home feeling — and smelling — great in no time!

Fishy Smell From Your Ductless System

People who have reported a fish or “seafood” smell coming from their ductless system usually have an animal that’s passed away near the heat pump outside. This is a little different from people’s experiences with conventional central air. 

With forced-air heating and cooling, people often say something smells like sulfur or rotten eggs when there’s a dead animal near the unit, in the ductwork, or a crawlspace. But, since mini splits work differently, that’s not the same. 

Instead, you get a fishy smell. And, it’s often tougher to get out. That’s because the ductless system does push air around. Instead, there’s just refrigerant running in a closed loop between the heat pump and air handlers inside. 

As a result, the smell builds up more before you notice it. So, you’ll need a good cleaning for your system after you get rid of the remains. 

Read More: IS It Time To Change Your Air Filter?

Ductless: Chemical or Vinegar Smell

A chemical or vinegar smell from your ductless heating and cooling system is a sign of an electrical problem. If you notice this, turn off the system and call your HVAC contractor. 

Something could have overheated, and if you ignore it, things will get worse. We’ve even seen systems where components started melting from too much heat inside them! 

Similarly, there could be a coolant leak, and you’re smelling the chemicals seeping out. Once again, call for repairs ASAP. The sooner we can patch it, the less coolant we’ll have to recharge. That keeps the cost down for you. 

Dirty Sock Smell In Your Mini Split 

The dirty sock smell is the same for just about any HVAC equipment: It’s a sign that there’s mold somewhere in your system. And, it’s potentially a bigger problem for mini splits than forced-air systems. 

The problem here is that the mold or mildew grows in the air handler. That’s the indoor component circulating air in the room. If it’s contaminated, then you’re blowing mold spores through the air in your house

Along with the smell, you also may notice black or other dark splotches on the outside of the air handler. On top of that, you may notice people with respiratory issues having trouble breathing or experiencing allergy symptoms. 

Mold In Your Ductless Mini Split

You’ll need professional cleaning to get the mold out of your ductless mini split. And, once again, the sooner you address it, the better off you are. If the infestation gets bad, it could take more than one cleaning to clear it all out. 

And it’s essential to eradicate the mold. Otherwise, it can take hold again. 

Read More: Do Mini Splits Run All The Time?

Benefits Of Regular Maintenance 

Maintenance Can Help Prevent These Issues In Your Mini Split

Overall, the best way to avoid mini split repairs — or weird smells — is with regular maintenance. We agree with manufacturers when we recommend two tune-ups a year: One in the fall, before winter, and another in the spring before the cooling season begins. 

With a tune-up, a certified technician inspects your entire system for any problems. That’s when we catch issues such as electrical problems or worn-out mechanical parts. They’ll also clean the system, avoiding problems like mold. 

Read More Why You Should Schedule Heater Maintenance Before The Winter

As a result, your system works better and uses less energy. You’ll also head off many potential problems. And, you’ll keep your warranty valid when you have a certified HVAC tech to handle the maintenance. 

Case Study: Ductless Mini Split Provides Comfort Upgrade For 1890s Boise Home

Mini Split Service And Repairs In Boise, ID 

Snowflake Air is the leading ductless heating and cooling dealer in and around Boise, ID. You can call us for all your mini split service, repair, and installation needs anywhere in the Treasure Valley. Click below or call us at (208) 205-9078.