Mastering Mini Splits in Snowy Conditions: A Comprehensive Guide

Mini split systems can be an effective heating and cooling solution in cold climates, even during snowy conditions. However, there are several important considerations and maintenance tasks that homeowners must be aware of to ensure their mini split system functions properly in the winter.

Clearing Snow and Ice from the Outdoor Unit

Keeping the outdoor unit clear of snow is crucial to maintain the system’s efficiency. Failing to clear snow away from the unit can result in the heat pump devoting more energy to melting snow than heating the home. After any significant snowfall, it’s recommended to check the outdoor unit and clear away any accumulated snow.

To clear snow, use a soft-bristled brush or broom to gently sweep away the snow. Avoid using sharp or heavy objects like shovels or windshield scrapers, as they can damage the unit. If there is a significant amount of snow, you can pour warm water over the unit to help melt the snow.

In addition to snow, ice buildup can also be a problem in cold climates. Ice freezing onto the outdoor unit can have the same effects as snow clogging the unit, with the added risk of physical damage to the unit over time. If ice builds up on the heat pump, the best way to deal with it is to melt the ice by pouring warm water over it.

Elevating and Covering the Outdoor Unit

mini split and snowImage source: Flickr

Another important consideration for mini split systems in cold climates is elevating the outdoor unit. Installing the outdoor unit at least two feet off the ground can help prevent it from coming in contact with snow and ice, which can cause the system to work harder and reduce its efficiency.

It’s also recommended to install the outdoor unit under some form of coverage, such as an overhang or roof, to prevent snow from accumulating on top of it and preventing it from effectively drawing in air. This can be achieved by constructing a simple shelter or using a pre-fabricated outdoor unit cover.

Insulating the Outdoor Unit

When installing a mini split system in a cold climate, it’s important to properly insulate the outdoor unit to prevent heat loss and reduce the risk of ice buildup. This can be achieved by using high-quality insulation materials, such as closed-cell foam or fiberglass, and wrapping the unit to create a barrier against the cold.

It’s also recommended to use a high-quality outdoor coil protector to prevent ice buildup on the coils. These protectors can be installed over the outdoor unit and use a heating element to prevent ice from forming.

Selecting the Right Mini Split System

When selecting a mini split system for a cold climate, it’s important to consider the unit’s heating capacity and efficiency ratings. The heating capacity should be sufficient for the space being heated, and the unit should have a high heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) rating, which measures the unit’s heating efficiency.

It’s also recommended to select a unit with a variable-speed compressor, which can adjust the compressor speed to match the heating needs of the space. This can help reduce energy costs and improve comfort.

When installing the mini split system, it’s important to properly size and locate the indoor and outdoor units to ensure optimal performance. The indoor unit should be located in a central location and away from drafts or direct sunlight, while the outdoor unit should be located in a well-ventilated area and away from direct sunlight and wind.

Maintaining the Mini Split System

Finally, it’s important to properly maintain the mini split system to ensure optimal performance and longevity. This includes:

  • Cleaning or replacing the air filters regularly
  • Checking the refrigerant levels
  • Inspecting the system for any signs of wear or damage
  • Installing a condensate drain system to prevent water damage and improve indoor air quality

By following these advanced hands-on details and technical specifications, homeowners can ensure their mini split system functions effectively in snowy conditions and maintain its efficiency and longevity.


  1. 3 Tips for Mini-Split Heat Pumps in the Winter | Daikin Atlantic
  2. Mini Split use in cold weather –
  3. Ways To Keep Your Mini-Split Working Through the Winter | Pioneer Mini Split