A dependable air conditioner is an integral part of any home until it starts to malfunction. Very often, and usually out of the blue, your air conditioner just stops doing what it’s supposed to do, and it’s suddenly not the reliable appliance that cools your home to a nice, perfect temperature anymore.
When this happens most homeowners think it’s a case of their air conditioner being low on refrigerant, but this is not the only possible cause of this problem. More often than not, in fact, when your air conditioner can’t seem to blow cool air anymore, it’s because several of its many parts have been clogged by dirt.
Just like any other home appliance, your air conditioner needs regular cleaning and maintenance, and while there are experts and companies who can provide you with this service, cleaning your air conditioner unit yourself can be a less costly alternative – if you do it right. Read on to learn more about DIY air conditioner cleaning.
- Prepare your tools and cleaning materials
Don’t get any work done on your air conditioner without having all of your equipment and materials in one place first. The basic items you will need for AC cleaning include the following:
- Screwdrivers and other tools to help you open up and disassemble your air conditioner
- Rags and towels
- Your choice of cleaning product
- A handheld vacuum
- A hose connected to a water source
- Turn off and unplug the air conditioner unit
Before you start to open and inspect your air conditioner, be sure it has been shut off, and unplugged. Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to dealing with electrical appliances.
- Turn your attention to the filter
Start with the easiest portion to clean – the air filter. This is an air conditioner’s first line of defence against airborne dirt and foreign particles. Remove the air filter from the unit, take it outdoors and shake off all the dirt that’s clung to it. If that isn’t enough, use the vacuum to ensure you’ve cleaned it thoroughly. Depending on your air conditioner model, you can also choose to hose down the filter, but be sure to let it completely dry first before installing it back to your unit. Finally, if your filter is beyond cleaning, replacing it with a new one can also be an option.
- Clean the fan coil
Pick up your screwdriver to disassemble the air conditioner so you can get to the fan coil of your indoor unit. It’s important to keep this part of the air conditioner clean as it is largely responsible for blowing cool air. To clean the fan coil, use your preferred cleaning solution and spray lightly. Wait for a few minutes before rinsing the fan coil with water, which should easily be drained from the drip pan. Make sure the fan coil has dried from all the rinsing before assembling the air conditioner back.
- Head outside to clean the condenser coil
If your air conditioner model has an outdoor unit, be sure to clean the condenser coil found inside it, and clean it in a similar way to how you cleaned your indoor unit’s fan coil.