Before you clean your air conditioner, you should gather together equipment you may need. This includes:
• A garden hose hooked up to an outside spigot
• A screwdriver or wrench
• A comb for the condenser fins, which can be bought at a big box or hardware store
• Cleanser appropriate for the air conditioning unit
• Scrub brushes
• Cleaning cloths
• New A/C filters
• Protective goggles
• Electric machine oil if necessary
• A rake to remove debris from around the outdoor AC unit
How Do You Clean an Air Conditioner?
1. Cut off the power to it at the circuit breaker or fuse box. You can also unplug it if it is an indoor or outdoor unit. If it’s an outside unit, sweep away any leaves and other trash from around it.
2. Take off the outer casing to access its inner workings. You’ll need a screwdriver or a wrench to do this. Once the casing is off, take out anything that’s in the way of the condenser coils, which you will deal with first.
3. Use a duster or a brush with stiff bristles to remove any dirt or grime that’s on the coils. Spray a cleanser on caked-in dirt.
4. When it’s soft enough, which should take between 10 and 15 minutes, use a garden hose to rinse it away. Make sure you spray from the inside. Do not use too much water pressure because you don’t want to damage the delicate coil fins.
5. Check them, and if any are bent, you can straighten them out with a fin comb. Fins that are badly damaged or crushed need to be fixed by a professional air conditioner cleaning service.
6. Check the lubrication ports near the fan motor next. You may need to unscrew the fan to do this, and you may need a helper since the fan can’t be completely taken out. Some air conditioners have ports that are sealed and are self-lubricating while others need a few drops of motor oil as part of their seasonal care. Check your manufacturer’s instructions to make sure.
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How to Clean Air Conditioner Filter
Next, remove and replace the filter. You’ll need to go inside for this job.
1. Find the screen where the filter is. It is usually in a hallway. Open it, take out the dirty filter, replace it with a new filter then close it back up.
2. For an indoor air conditioning unit, open up the front grille, take out the filter or filters and replace them. Some filters can be used more than once. Just bring them outside, and tap them against the wall of the house or a post to shake off most of the dirt.
3. Whatever’s left can be vacuumed away with the upholstery attachment. Other filters can be hosed off. Let them dry before replacing them.
4. After the filters are cleaned, take off the chassis of the indoor unit to clean the fan coil. This also calls for a wrench or screwdriver. When you can see the fan coil, spray it with a cleanser, and leave it to work for a few minutes.
5. Rinse the fan coil with warm water. Though the dirty water will fall into the drip pan, you may want to bring a bucket.
6. Keep rinsing the fan coil until the water is clear, but make sure the drip pan doesn’t overflow. Let the fan coil dry out then replace the chassis.
As can be seen, cleaning your air conditioner unit is surprisingly simple. It will get simpler the more you do it, and soon servicing your unit just before the cooling season will seem second nature to you.