Are Communication Issues Causing Problems With Your Mini Split Air Conditioner?

Posted on: 2 June 2020

There are many good reasons to choose a mini split air conditioning system to keep your home cool. These compact cooling devices are inexpensive, energy-efficient, and remarkably powerful. 

Mini split air conditioners are also very reliable, and most mini split owners will only ever have to deal with minor maintenance issues. Unfortunately, mini split air conditioners are still vulnerable to certain mechanical problems and malfunctions, and communication issues can be some of the most challenging to fix.

How can communication issues affect your mini split air conditioner?

All mini split air conditioning systems have two discrete components. The indoor unit is responsible for taking hot air from inside your home and passing it over pipes filled with super-cold refrigerant liquids; this cools the air before it is vented back into your home. The outdoor unit keeps these crucial liquids cold and pressurized, venting any waste heat into the atmosphere.

While a mini split system is functioning properly, these units are in constant communication through a series of high and low-voltage wires that pass through the walls of your home. These wires allow the indoor unit's thermostat to activate the outdoor unit whenever more cold refrigerant liquid is required and deactivate the system when the correct temperature is reached.

Each unit also contains a control board, which is responsible for both sending and receiving signals passed through the communication wires. 

As you can imagine, any failure or damage in these wires can cause serious communications issues between the indoor and outdoor unit(s) of your mini split system. 

How can you tell if communication issues are causing problems with your mini split?

Communication problems in mini split air conditioners can cause a variety of problems and are often difficult to diagnose. Many systems with damaged wiring or control boards will work properly, but only in some modes or for random periods of time.

Systems with failing wiring or control boards may make strange noises, but these can be caused by a wide variety of common AC problems. Because issues with communication wiring do not interfere with the system's power lines, systems with bad wiring often appear perfectly functional, complicating the issue further.

The easiest way to tell if your mini split is having communication problems is by letting it tell you. Check the status readouts on your indoor and outdoor units to check for communication error codes. Some systems will display a 'COMMUNICATION ERROR' or 'C ERROR' message, but systems with smaller readout screens may display shorter numeric codes (E1 and E6 are commonly used communication error codes).

How can you repair communication issues in your mini split system?

While exchanging a filter or cleaning a vent in a mini split system is something most homeowners can do themselves, dealing with communication wiring and/or control board issues is much more challenging. Unless you have specific knowledge of HVAC electrical systems and wiring, it can be next to impossible to fix communication issues or even tell what is causing them.

If your mini split air conditioner is displaying a communication error code or you suspect communication problems are affecting your system's performance, you should always have your system professionally inspected and repaired by an air conditioning repair service. These services have the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to quickly and efficiently resolve your system's communication problems.