How to clean and maintain your ductless heat pump system

4 min read

All heating and cooling systems need proper maintenance to run efficiently. Ductless heat pumps are no exception. While heat pumps require minimal maintenance, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your heat pump functions efficiently. Follow these tips to keep your ductless heat pump running smoothly.

Regular cleaning is key to making sure your ductless heat pump delivers the comfort you expect. Without routine check-ups, the unit may run less efficiently and put out less heat in the winter or cool air in the summer. Cleaning also helps ensure your unit doesn’t contribute to indoor air quality issues. Follow the tips below to keep your heat pump running smoothly throughout the year. If you notice an issue, make sure to call in the pros. You should get a professional service appointment every one to two years to keep your heat pump in great shape.

Have a ducted or air-to-water heat pump system? Check the owner's manual for maintenance and cleaning recommendations.


Check your heat pump filters every month or so. If there is visible dust or debris, follow these steps to clean the filters. Regular filter cleaning improves indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Consult the user manual of your unit for the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.

Try this four-step method to clean the filter on your heat pump’s indoor unit:

  1. Turn the heat pump off.
  2. Pop off the cover on the top of the heat pump and remove the filters.
  3. Vacuum dust from the front side of the filter. If the filter is sticky, wash it with mild soap and a soft nylon brush. Rinse until clear and allow to dry fully.
  4. Take care not to bump the metal fins when replacing the filter. Close the cover and turn the heat pump back on.

Some ductless heat pumps will require more frequent cleanings. If any of the following are true, you may want to check your filters more frequently. Dust and debris restrict airflow, which strains the system.

  • You have pets: If you notice your filter clogs with pet hair, schedule your cleaning more often.
  • Your heat pump is in or near the kitchen: Kitchens are a big source of particulates, which can fill filters quickly.
  • You live on a dirt road: Dirt roads can increase dust and dirt that can wind up in your filters.
  • You’re running it often: In the winter, your heat pump is probably on all day and night. Check your filters more frequently to make sure they’re not getting clogged.

Make sure there is space around the unit. Ductless heat pumps work best if you give them plenty of room to operate. Regularly check to make sure the heat pump isn’t blocked with furniture or fabric.


In Vermont, we can count on each season to bring new surprises. Sometimes it’s a nor’easter dumping an egregious amount of snow or an autumn storm blowing fallen leaves. Keep your outdoor unit clear of accumulating leaves or snow. Use a brush or a broom rather than a shovel to avoid damaging the unit.

If you’re concerned about significant snowfall accumulating on top of your outdoor unit, talk to your installer about building a shelter to protect the unit from damage. If you notice that debris has gotten inside the outdoor unit, call a professional service provider to clean your heat pump.


It’s easy to DIY simple cleaning tasks, like the list above. These will help your system run more smoothly and efficiently. But if you notice a larger issue, like serious debris or dust in the system, it’s time to call in the pros. Your ductless heat pump should be cleaned professionally every 1-2 years to keep it in tip-top shape.

“Getting an annual heat pump cleaning protects your investment from downtime or failure, keeps efficiency high and energy bills low, and removes dangerous molds, allergens and pathogens. You’ll notice the difference immediately.”

Gabriel Erde-Cohen, Technical Supervisor and Founder, We Clean Heat Pumps

Are you renting a house with a heat pump? Check with your landlord about who will have responsibility for routine cleaning. Ensure that your landlord plans to have an annual or biennial professional cleaning performed. Your landlord may ask you to clean the filters regularly. Or they might arrange for regular filter cleanings as part of the property management service.

It's important to keep your ductless heat pump clean so it will deliver efficient comfort for years to come.