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How To Clean An Air Conditioner- Cleaning All Types Of Air Conditioners

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As the season of popsicles and shorts hits your part of the world one of the first things you intend to do is turn on your air conditioner and turn down that heat.

But before you do that it’s very important to clean both, inside and outside air-conditioner units (just thinking about the gunk inside the unit that has not been clean for a year gives me the heebie-jeebies).

So here is a guide on How to clean your Air-conditioner at home.

Air Conditioner Cleaning Guide:

Things you will need: 
  • Screwdriver
  • Rags
  • Motor oil (Avoid all-purpose oils such as WD-40)
  • Fin comb
  • Vacuum (will makes things easier)     

First of all switch off the unit and make sure it is not connected to any electric supply before you start.

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1. Cleaning Split Air-conditioners and Window Air-conditioners

How to clean the indoor unit that has air filters and coils: 

1. Remove or flip the front grill.

2. Remove the mesh panel(s)/ air filters. Run them under warm water and clean them using a mild detergent solution. You can use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment if you have one. Make sure the filters are completely dry or else mold can grow in there.

3. If the air filters are older than six months then it’s best to replace them.

4. In some units, the cooling fins can be accessed by removing the indoor unit’s case completely (this would require a screwdriver). Clean it thoroughly with a dry cloth, a vacuum cleaner, or a cleaning solution.

6. Then clean the coils (rounded pieces of metal in the center of the unit) using a canister vacuum.

7. Then spray the coils with a no-rinse evaporator spray like the Evap Foam No Rinse Evaporator Coil Cleaner. It should be mostly used on cooling and evaporator coils. It will get rid of all residue from grease to dust quickly and is self-rinsing as the name suggests. You just have to spray it on the coils!

8. After that, screw the casing of the unit back in and place the air filters once they are completely dry.

Related: How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter Properly

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How to clean the outdoor unit that has condenser coils and coil fins:

1. Make sure the power is switched off. Remove the outer casing using a screwdriver to access the condenser fan. Remove any other components in front of the condenser fan.

2. Clean any surface dust using a duster.

3. If you see stiff dust inside the unit, remove it by using a cleaning solution and some lukewarm water.

4. After this, check if the condenser fins are bent or damaged and straighten them using a fin comb.

5. Once the inside is dried completely, screw on the casing of the outdoor unit.

6. Check for drainage problems—there are drain channels at the bottom of outside units. Check for clogs and clean with a thin bristle brush.

2. Cleaning Central Air-conditioners

How to clean the indoor unit (pretty much the same as the room A/C unit):

1. Clean the air filters.

2. Open the blower compartment and use a vacuum cleaner to clean any visible dust.

3. If your motor has lubrication ports, apply 4-5 oil drops to ensure the smooth running of your motor. If you don’t know where the lubrication ports are in your unit, take the help of the user manual to find them.

4. Check for algae in the plastic condensation tube. If the tube is clogged, you can either replace it or clean it using a solution of 1 part bleach to 16 parts water.

5. Clean the drain tube using a small bristle brush.

How to clean the outdoor unit:

1. Make sure the power is turned off. Open the case using a screwdriver and vacuum the condenser fins.

2. Clean any other debris inside the case.

3. If the condenser fins are bent straighten them with a fin comb.

4. Unscrew the top grill—lift it carefully while supporting the fan. Wipe the fan with a cleaning solution and a dry cloth.

5. Most fans do not have lubrication ports but if yours do, lubricate them with 4-5 drops of oil (you can check out the user’s manual to see if your fan has lubrication ports).

6. Lower a water hose into the empty unit and spray the inside of the fins.

7. Once all parts have dried, reassemble the A/C and screw the grill back on. Let the A/C sit idle for 24 hours.

8. Pull back the insulation on the pipes located at the base of the air compressor.

One pipe should feel hot and another should feel cold. If this is not the case you would need a professional to adjust the coolant levels of your air-conditioner.

Why Should You Clean Your Air-conditioner You Ask?

Cleaning an air-conditioner improves its efficiency and life. This not only saves you big bucks on maintenance but also makes the air in your home cleaner and healthier.

They filter the warm air from your room and give back cleaner and cooler air (amazing right!) they should be cleaned and changed regularly.

A clean air-conditioner also means lower running costs and energy efficiency and who wouldn’t want that.

How often should you clean your air-conditioner?

A thorough cleaning should be done twice a year or at least once depending on the usage of your air-conditioner.

You can clean air filters once a month and change them once every 6 months.

You can pay a professional to do this or could spare a weekend and do it yourself. It technically won’t even take your whole weekend just an hour or two.

Air-Conditioner Maintenance Tips:

  • Bearing – Check condition and lubricate.
  • Compressor and Blower Motor – Check amperage and voltage for proper operation.
  • Condensate Drain – Treat with anti-algae.
  • Refrigerant – Check if pressure is proper for the operation.
  • Inspect wiring connection.
  • Inspect ducts for energy loss.
  • Check test capacitors.

A cleaner air-conditioner will allow for cleaner and healthier air for you and your family. Regular cleaning can save you big bucks in the long run. And once in a while to do these things take the help of a professional.


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