In some ways mini split heat pumps remind me of my Aunt Martha. They’re both pretty great, but an awareness of certain aspects helps the relationship. With my Aunt Martha it was cheek pinching. You needed to prepare and accept that upon arrival you would be greeted by a vise-like dual cheek pinch and accompanying head shake. It was the same as getting a vaccine or tetanus shot. Even though you knew it was coming and was quick, it still hurt.

Here are three things to keep in mind about heat pumps.

1. No power, no heat. What seems like not such a big deal in September can be a pretty big deal in February. Mini splits do best in tandem with a heat source not reliant on electricity.

2. Mount the exterior unit, the compressor, on the ground, not the house. Mounted on the house there’s potential noise transmission to the interior. In the perfect storm of house-mounted noise transmission your house will amplify the sound. It’s like having a neighbor really into techno drum and bass tracks, less the drum. You’ll feel the vibration more than hear it.

3. If the filters are clogged you get no heat. The interior component, the evaporator, has one or two fine screen filters. In a finished house the recommendation is to clean them once a month. If you’re trying to utilize a mini split during construction, the filters will need daily attention. At the end of construction a deeper steam cleaning of the unit will likely be needed. It’s a better choice not to use a mini split during construction. To clean the filters, first turn the unit off. Remove the filters, vacuum then replace. If your filters were very dirty you’ll notice an immediate and dramatic improvement in performance. Cleaning them is a quick and easy yet essential task.