The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Air Conditioners

During the time of summer, hot days are normal. That indicates that your air conditioner has been operating over time, particularly if you like to remain inside and be cool. Additionally, you must understand how to keep your portable air conditioner clean to have cool air blasting constantly. An important part of maintenance, which can keep your system healthy for longer, is cleaning your air conditioner. This results in fewer expensive repairs and reduced energy costs.

You can clean your air conditioner for greater performance if you take time, are careful, and have patience. Here’s how to clean an air conditioner like an expert, whether you’ve got central air or a window unit. Additionally, read this article’s tips and simple air conditioner maintenance methods to shield yourself from the summer heat.

The Different Types of Air Conditioners

how to clean air conditioner

Different air conditioners are often utilized in domestic, professional, and industrial settings. Some of the most typical varieties are listed below:

Window Air Conditioner

These air conditioners have a typical window opening fit-out. They are made up of a single unit that houses the compressor, evaporator, evaporator, condenser, and cooling fan, among

Split Air Conditioner

An interior and an outdoor unit are the two basic components of split air conditioning systems. The air handler, cooling coil, and sometimes extra components like filters and blowers are all found in the interior unit. The condenser, compressor, and expansion valve are all housed in the outside unit.

Portable Air Conditioner

Moving from room to room is possible with portable AC units since they are independent, transportable devices. To vent hot air outdoors, they often come with a flexible exhaust line that must be vented via a window or other opening.

Packaged Air Conditioner

Commercial and industrial applications are where packaged AC units are most often employed. They contain the compressor, evaporator, condenser, fan in a single cabinet and all the required parts. They may be ground-mounted or rooftop devices.

Hybrid Air Conditioner

Hybrid air conditioning systems combine a heat pump and an air conditioner. By flipping the refrigeration cycle, they can cool an area in the summer and give heat in the winter. They can manage temperature throughout the year while using less energy.

Centralized Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning systems are employed to cool large buildings or lots of rooms. The condenser, compressor, and fan are housed in a central unit that is situated outside the building, and a system of ducts is used to deliver cool air throughout the structure.

Mini-Split Ductless Air Conditioner

Ductless mini-split systems feature an exterior unit and one or more interior units, much like split air conditioning systems. They do not, however, need ductwork for air distribution. Instead, refrigerant lines link the interior and outdoor units to cool certain regions.

These are just a few of the most popular models of air conditioners on the market. Depending on elements like the size of the area, the budget, the energy efficiency, and the particular cooling needs, each kind has its benefits and is appropriate for various applications.

Why You Need to Clean Your Air Conditioner Regularly

how to clean air conditioner

Regular air conditioner cleaning is crucial for several reasons.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

By removing dust, pet dander, pollen, and other airborne particles, air conditioners are essential for preserving indoor air quality. Your air conditioner’s filters may become dusty and clogged over time, decreasing efficiency. Regular filter cleaning or replacement guarantees that your air conditioner can efficiently remove contaminants from the air, fostering better and healthier indoor air quality.

Energy Savings

An effective air conditioner has been cleaned. Your air conditioner’s airflow is reduced when its coils, filters, and fins are dusty and clogged, making it harder to chill the space. As a result, energy use increases, and utility costs rise. Regular cleaning keeps the airflow ideal and ensures that your air conditioner runs as efficiently as possible, thus saving you money.

Prevention of Mildew and Mold

If not properly maintained, the chilly, wet atmosphere that air conditioners provide may be a haven for mold and mildew. In addition to giving off unpleasant smells, this fungus can present health dangers, particularly for those with allergies or respiratory problems. To maintain a clean and healthy atmosphere, regularly clean and disinfect the interior parts of your air conditioner, such as the evaporator coils and drip pans.

Extend the Lifespan of the Unit

The longevity of your air conditioner may be considerably increased with regular maintenance and cleaning. Corrosion, mechanical strain, and other problems resulting in breakdowns and expensive repairs can be brought on when dirt, debris, and other pollutants build up on the interior parts. Keeping your air conditioner clean lowers the likelihood of serious problems occurring and extends the appliance’s life, saving you money on unnecessary repairs.

Highest Cooling Performance

The space may be cooled more efficiently with a clean air conditioner. The air can move easily and uniformly through the system, increasing cooling capacity when the filters, coils, and fins are clear of dust and debris. Your air conditioner will operate efficiently and keep you comfortable throughout the summer if you keep it clean.

Cleaning the filters regularly is advised to guarantee the efficiency and durability of your air conditioner, usually once every one to three months, depending on use. Additionally, professional maintenance should be done once a year to handle more difficult cleaning and maintenance jobs like coil cleaning and refrigerant inspections.

How To Clean Your Internal AC Unit

You may decide whether to start with the unit’s interior or outdoor part. We’ll start with the instructions for the inside.

Turn off the Air Conditioner’s Power

Since air conditioners have several moving components, you should switch off the electricity at your breaker box out of respect for everyone’s safety. This implies that you won’t have any lighting, making this an outside project. You should provide sufficient lighting if your indoor unit is in a dim area, such as the attic.

Open the AC Unit

There will be an evaporator coil door on your blower unit. You may need to remove the foil duct tape depending on your unit. Frequently, a few bolts or screws are used to secure the door.

Clean the Evaporator Coils on the Air Conditioner

Use a soft brush to clean the coil of dust if you have one. This dust will be made up of whatever particles are in your house. If you are prone to allergies, consider wearing a mask since this contains skin cells & sometimes pollen.

A no-rinse coil cleaner, which you can get at your neighborhood home improvement shop, is the ideal cleaning alternative. This spray creates a foamy layer that collects debris and dust before dripping into the drain pan of the appliance. Get the foam in all the nooks and crannies you can’t reach by hand, then spray it on as evenly as possible. The ideal time to do this is on a warm day so that the AC condensation will wash the coils when you turn the unit back on.

Wash the AC Drain Pan

Clean the drain pan when the coil cleaner has finished its work. A good place to start is with soap and hot water, and bleach aids in sanitization. Consider mixing bleach and water 50/50. To make sure the drain is clear, pour the solution down it. You can buy AC drain pan tablets at most hardware and home improvement shops if you’re looking for a more long-term solution to prevent your drain from producing algae.

If the Air Conditioner Drain Is Plugged, Clear It

You may omit this step if your bleach solution is simple to flush the toilet. If it moves slowly, your drain can be clogged. Mold and algae may accumulate in the drain if regular maintenance and cleaning are not performed. Since the PVC pipe is normally just an inch in diameter, clogging is usually caused by a small accumulation.

Your drain may terminate outdoors, often close to the condenser. If not, it will discharge into the utility sink or a floor drain in the basement. Your outer wall may be drained if your unit is in the attic. Bring a wet vacuum with you and follow the drain to its finish. You may remove the filter from the vacuum if you are worried about soiling it.

Take the vacuum hose and secure it to the drain tube’s tip. Holding a cloth around the gap will stop air leaking. Duct tape the hose & drain together for the tightest seal. To remove any collected buildup, turn on the vacuum & let it run for two to three minutes.

Slip the AC Panel Closed

Reattach the access panel using the same screws you removed at the beginning of the method. Use HVAC metal foil tape to close the access panel’s top and bottom if you have any. Keep the manufacturer’s label exposed since a technician could need it to maintain or repair the appliance.

For standard cleaning, all you need to do is this, but you could run into difficulties that are too difficult for you to overcome alone. If your evaporator coils are A-frames, you could discover that certain elements are out of reach since the coils are enclosed on both ends. If you haven’t thoroughly cleaned your frame coils in a while, you need to call the experts to do the job.

How to Clean External AC Units

More work is involved in cleaning the outside of the unit and condenser coils than the inside. This area of your body quickly becomes quite unclean since it is continuously exposed to the outdoors. To clean it, you will also want additional specialist tools. Follow these procedures to maintain your outdoor unit running at its peak efficiency.

Disconnect the AC Grille and Remove It

Verify that the power is off once again. Before beginning, you may turn off the power at the outside disconnect box. Remove the sheet metal screws from the unit’s top. After doing so, raise the fan unit & grille. Most units have enough wire slack to allow you to lay the top against the wall without cutting any wires.

Remove Debris From the Air Conditioner

The quantity of trash at the bottom of the air conditioner may vary depending on your unit. Entry-level versions sometimes lack guards that prevent debris from entering the fan unit at the top. Thus, the bottom pan may include leaves, seeds, or small twigs. You may remove all the debris by hand-scooping it out or using your wet/dry vacuum.

Clean Fins and AC Coils 

It’s easy to learn how to clean AC condenser coils. You’ll want a coil cleaning solution easily found at any home improvement retailer. Remember that cleaning condenser coils are quite corrosive and may result in burns. You shouldn’t use this cleaning on your indoor coils since the fumes are likewise hazardous.

Add your cleaning solution to your pump sprayer after mixing or diluting it as directed. Onto the coils, mist it. It will begin to froth within a few minutes, and you can rinse it away with your hose. For this job, a pressure washer should not be used. Due to their fragility, the fins are readily harmed by pressure.

Straighten the Fins of the Air Conditioner

To preserve efficiency, this step is essential since bent fins limit airflow. Investing in a fin tool is the most effective course of action. With the help of the teeth in these cheap kits, you can comb a certain amount of fins per inch. Ensure that you are using the appropriate fins per inch for your equipment. The fins only need to be delicately combed back into position.

Clean up the A/C System

Utilizing the screws you previously removed, replace a fan cage and fasten it to the device. To ensure adequate ventilation, ensure the space surrounding the appliance is unobstructed in all directions for at least two feet.

Level the AC Unit

Your unit might start to tilt if dirt is trapped below it. A condenser unit may fail early and need expensive repairs if it is out of level for an extended period. Use shims to level the condenser if it is not level. Watch the video below to learn more tips about cleaning air conditioner.

Air Conditioning Filter Cleaning Instructions

how to clean air conditioner

The filter has to be cleaned first if you’re thinking about how to clean a window air conditioner. Whether you want to clean the filter on a big unit, read the instruction manual to determine whether cleaning the filter is truly an option. Central air conditioning systems sometimes feature filters that are supposed to be changed rather than cleaned. Each device requires a different method for filter removal, but the general process for cleaning filters is the same.

Vacuum AC Filter

You need to vacuum regularly to maintain your home. Use a bond without a brush to prevent the filter from being damaged. Move the suction nozzle along the filter’s length, up and down. You may notice that a lot of dust has been cleared. If you have companion animals, you may need to go through the filter more than once to eliminate all the hair. Avoid squeezing the filter too firmly when vacuuming to avoid damaging or denting it.

Soak the AC Filter

Room-temperature water should be poured into your bathtub or similar large container. Add a small amount of ordinary liquid detergent to make the water lather and thoroughly combine. Make sure the filter is fully immersed in the container before adding it. After thoroughly covering it with the soapy solution, wiggle the filter back & forth and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes.

Using brushes or other abrasive equipment might harm the filter; therefore, refrain from doing so. Dirt and debris may be removed effectively by using a hose. One side at a time, hoses off until the water is clear.

Spray the AC Filter

A spray container should be filled with a vinegar and water mixture that has a 1:1 ratio. Give the solution 10 minutes to destroy the germs before spraying both sides of the filter. Before proceeding, thoroughly rinse the filter with running water.

Dry the AC Filter

AC filters may take many hours to dry out by air drying fully. Newspapers may be spread out on the ground under the filter to help. Place the filter on top of newspapers and lean it against the wall. You may return the filter to your air conditioner after at least 3 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my air conditioner isn’t cleaned?

Dirty filters prevent cold air from moving freely, which may lead to a buildup within the air conditioner. Ice might eventually develop on the coils as a consequence. Anyone who lives in your house has allergies or asthma? Their symptoms may get considerably worse if the filter is unclean.

Can I clean my air conditioner?

Find the coils and remove any other objects blocking your access. Use a stiff brush or duster to remove any surface dirt or grime. Apply an appropriate cleaning product to remove any trapped or caked-on dirt, & then rinse it away with water after ten to fifteen minutes.

Does using water to clean an air conditioner count as acceptable cleaning?

What is the best way to clean your outdoor air conditioning unit? The good news is that there won’t be any adverse effects if you spray water on the air conditioner to clean it.

How often should your air conditioner be cleaned?

Cleaning frequency depends on several variables: use, environment, and unit type. We recommend using an air conditioner cleaning service for home units every three to four months. Aircon cleaning should be performed on commercial AC systems at least every three months.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining and cleaning your air conditioner is essential to ensure its best performance, lifespan, and air quality. In addition to improving cooling performance, regular cleaning of air filters, coils, and other components helps to stop dust, allergens, and other pollutants from circulating in your interior environment. To benefit from a cleaner, healthier, and more effective cooling system, make it a habit to plan routine cleaning and maintenance sessions for your air conditioner. I suggest you give it some time. You’ll undoubtedly notice a change if you follow the instructions and advice provided in this article.

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