Tips and Advice on Cleaning Air Conditioners

Air Conditioners do far more work than anyone could ever know. Over time, their functioning capacity declines, and proper maintenance plays a huge role in keeping the unit in excellent condition. Here are some tips on cleaning ACs.

In any home, the air conditioning unit symbolizes many things, with its prime purpose being to aid relaxation and comfort. However, like all great home appliances, your air conditioning unit starts to wear and tear due to many reasons.

One of the many reasons that could cause an AC unit to lag in efficiency is poor maintenance and cleaning. The unit works so hard and for so long that it is easy to forget that it too needs to be cleaned as regularly as possible.

A man fixing an air conditioner | Photo: Shutterstock

A man fixing an air conditioner | Photo: Shutterstock

Cleaning your AC unit is as important as any other element of maintenance. This helps keep the unit working efficiently for longer, which easily translates to less spending on repairs or any such issues. 

The process takes up quite a lot of time as you have to focus intently on every part, including filters, coils, and fins. Here are some tips for cleaning your Air conditioner.

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

DECIDE WHERE YOU WILL START

An air conditioning unit is a complex machine. It needs to be, especially when it performs such a tedious and vital task. The unit has both inner and outer components, both of which require a tremendous amount of time and focus.

First, you must decide whether you want to start with the indoor or outdoor portion of the air conditioner. After deciding, proceed with the cleaning process. 

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

GATHER THE CLEANING TOOLS

For cleaning your AC unit, the tools and materials you need include warm water, mild soap or detergent, reusable cloth, a tray to catch dripping water from the unit, a spray bottle of Hydrogen peroxide, a fin-comb or a soft-bristle brush, and a screwdriver.

TURN OFF THE POWER 

Because your AC has a lot of moving parts, it is smart and safe to make sure that the unit is not connected to any power at all. It is best that you turn off the power at your breaker box.

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

OPEN UP THE AC UNIT

Most AC units come with a door to the evaporator coil. Depending on the brand and model, you might need to go past a couple of bolts or screws holding the door upright. You might also have to remove the foil duct tape. Place the tray under the unit.

CLEAN THE AC FILTER

Cleaning the filter is the most critical part of this process. It is advisable to wash the filter every month, even when you are not cleaning the entire unit. First, remove the filter and use a vacuum to clear away any debris like hair or dust.

Next, wash the filter with warm, soapy water and set it out to dry. When it's fully dry, put it back into the AC unit. It is also advisable to change the filter regularly depending on how frequently you use the unit.

A picture of a dirty air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

A picture of a dirty air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

CLEAN THE COILS AND FINS

Going further into the unit, you are faced with the coils and fins. Take a fin comb or soft-bristle brush and gently comb the fins inside the AC. This process needs time and attention because the fins bend easily, which can lead to blocked airflow. 

The evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their many months and years of service. While the filter mostly prevents this, it is still inevitable. Using a soft-bristle brush, gently remove dust from the coils. 

Using a cleaning solution such as a no-rinse coil cleaner, spray on the coils and allow the solution to drip into the tray set under the AC.

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

A home with an air conditioner | Photo: Pixabay

CLEAN THE DRAIN PAN

Empty the drain pan using a wet-dry vacuum or a damp cloth to pull out everything that's collected inside the tray. Allow the pan to dry before reassembling it into the unit.

CLEAR THE DRAIN

Check the drain to see if there is anything obstructing the flow of water. If there is (and even if there is not), use the cloth to wipe around the opening to make sure the drain is now clear.

A picture of dirty air conditioners | Photo: Pixabay

A picture of dirty air conditioners | Photo: Pixabay

CLOSE THE ACCESS PANEL

Reattach the unit's access panel and make sure to properly reattach the screws or bolts you took out in the beginning. Grab your bottle of hydrogen peroxide and spray the solution to the areas where air flows in and out. Wait for the solution to dry before using your AC.

Examine the fan unit on the exterior and scoop out any debris by hand. Replace the fan cage and reattach it to the unit with the screws taken out before. 

A picture of dirty air conditioners | Photo: Pixabay

A picture of dirty air conditioners | Photo: Pixabay

In times when winter is approaching, it is mostly advised to remove the unit and store it as it is located outside, leaving it exposed to seasonal elements that range from deep cold to blowing snow. 

If removing and storing the unit is not an option, you can cut and attach foam pipe covers to any exterior exposed pipes.

Find a waterproof plastic or vinyl cover and completely wrap the air conditioning unit like a present. By doing all this, the lifespan and function of your AC unit will be greatly improved.

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