How to Clean an Air Conditioner – Steps to Clean an Air Conditioner


Whether your home is cooled by a central air conditioning system or you have window units placed everywhere, air conditioners – like humidifiers, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners – need routine cleaning and maintenance to last. years of use and keeping you and your family cool and comfortable. all summer. Dust and dirt that accumulates on filters and internal parts cause these important home comfort appliances to work harder and less efficiently, making them more susceptible to failure. Plus, who wants dust and allergens spitting back into the air your family breathes?

According to Dan DiClerico, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Improvement and Outdoor Lab, “Seasonal top-to-bottom maintenance checks of the central air conditioning condenser, coolants, ducts and the like are best left to professional services. , but there are things you can do yourself to help your unit – whether window or central – pump in cool, dry air all season long.”

To note: Before attempting to clean an air conditioner, check your model’s owner’s manual or company website for cleaning recommendations and precautions to avoid voiding your unit’s manufacturer’s warranty.

How to Clean a Central Air Conditioner

We checked the cleaning and maintenance recommendations of Carrier, a leading manufacturer of central air conditioning systems. They suggest these cleaning steps to keep the exterior and interior portions of your home’s central air conditioning running.

How to clean the outdoor condenser and compressor

It’s best to tackle this clean-up job at the very start of the season, then clean up the debris whenever you see it, such as after a storm.

  1. Trim any shrubs or plants around the unit that may be blocking airflow. Two clearance feet will allow air to flow freely, giving the unit room to breathe.
  2. Sweep away any debris that has accumulated around the base. Remove leaves, twigs, or anything stuck in the grille slats with a shop vac, utility vac, or brush attachment.
  3. Turn off the circuit breaker and unplug the unit before undertaking any wet cleaning steps. Remove caked-on, caked-on dirt from the sides and top grilles with a brush dipped in a soapy water solution.
  4. With a garden hose held at a 45 degree angle, rinse the detergent from the exterior and, without removing the exterior grille, rinse as much dirt as possible from the interior coils. Note: Never use a pressure washer to clean the coils. The strong force may damage them.
  5. Some sites recommend removing the outer grill to better clean the coils and straighten out bent fins. We think this is best left to a professional.

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    How to Clean Interior Vents and Filters

    Make cleaning interior vent covers and replacing filters part of your regular cleaning routine.

    1. Vacuum the slats of wall, ceiling, and floor registers where cool air blows into a room with your vacuum’s soft dusting brush attachment.
    2. Check and replace the return air vent filter (where your home’s air returns to be cooled) about every three months, depending on your home and family’s needs. Active homes with pets or people with allergies should replace it every month or two. Homes where the air conditioning is not constantly running or where heavier filters are installed can last longer, perhaps even up to a year, between replacements.

      How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner

      Always clean windows before installing them in the spring and again before storing them for the winter. Then follow these steps mid-season as needed.

      1. Periodically vacuum the front grilles, body and control panel with a soft dusting brush to remove dirt. If necessary, clean the areas with a slightly damp cloth.
      2. Check the foam filter monthly. If necessary, vacuum at low suction with the upholstery tool to remove dirt, lint and hair.
      3. If the foam filter is very dirty, immerse it in warm soapy water to clean it, then rinse it well. Let it air dry completely before putting it back in the air conditioner.
      4. If your device has a remote control, clean it regularly with a damp (not wet) cloth or disinfectant wipe. Remove the batteries before doing so and make sure no moisture gets inside.
      5. This is also a good time to inspect the seals around the device to make sure cold air isn’t escaping. Any leaks must be sealed with weatherstripping.

        The take-out sale

        In short, all air conditioners need regular maintenance and cleaning to perform at their best. Every spring and about once mid-season, clean exterior debris, vacuum or clean dirt from vents and grilles, and change or wash filters as recommended by the appliance manufacturer. For more in-depth maintenance of central air conditioning systems or in the event of a malfunction, it is best to call a professional.

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