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    How to clean an air conditioner

    Keep your air conditioner in good shape for all seasons

    Hannah | Oneflare

    The air conditioner is one of the most important appliances in the home, it’s responsible for maintaining a comfortable climate all year round. Over time, the internal parts can accumulate a significant amount of dirt and grime. As a homeowner, it’s important to know how to clean split system air conditioner, window air conditioners or any air conditioning appliances to ensure they continue to operate well throughout the seasons.

    What is the difference between air conditioning units?

    • Ducted A/C – Ducted air conditioners cause air to be sent through ducts, allowing each room in the house to be cooled at the same time.
    • Split system A/C – This type of air conditioner uses different components from both an outdoor and an indoor air conditioner. The indoor air conditioner has filter and distribution components, it’s usually mounted high on a wall and controlled with a remote. The outdoor unit houses the condenser fan and compressor parts.
    • Window A/C – A window air conditioner features everything needed to cool the room in one main unit. It’s mounted in a window cavity and cools or heats that particular room. 
    • Portable A/C – Portable air conditioners are designed to cool a single room and sit on the floor. This type of AC is compact in size, which makes it easy to move to different rooms of the house. 
    Outside air conditioner unit/Condenser fan / Source: Hobart Heating And Refrigeration

    Materials and tools

    • Screwdriver – Remove the exterior parts with a screwdriver
    • Stiff brush or duster – A stiff brush will make it easier to clean some of the parts and remove excess dirt
    • Vacuum – A vacuum is necessary for suctioning dirt and grime in the hard-to-reach places
    • Antibacterial solution – This product will disinfect the internal components of the AC, including the inside fins to ensure the air is clean and healthy to breathe
    • Coil cleaner – This product is a spray that works well for stripping dirt and grime from the coils
    • Fin comb – A fin comb is necessary for straightening the evaporator and condenser fins 

    How to clean an indoor air conditioner

    1. Turn off the power – Turning off the power ensures it’s safe to clean all the different parts of the air conditioner. Shut off the breaker or unplug the air conditioner from the outlet, depending on what type of unit you own.
    2. Check your manufacturer’s instructions – If you want to learn how to clean an air conditioner, read the owner’s manual to determine what the manufacturer recommends to avoid mistakes or causing damage to the parts. There may be certain types of cleaning products or tools that you should use depending on the specific model you own.
    3. Clean your filter panels – Clean the filter panels by removing the front panel. Remove the filter and use a soapy water solution to clean and rinse it thoroughly. It should completely dry before installing it back onto the unit.
    4. Vacuum the AC filter – If you want to learn how to clean air conditioner filter, you’ll need to gently vacuum it with a hose that has a soft bristle attachment. Disposable filters aren’t designed to be cleaned and reused.
      1. Soak the AC Filter – Soak the AC filter in soapy water to remove the build-up of dirt and grime.
      2. Spray the AC Filter – Spray the AC filter with clean water to remove all the soap.
      3. Dry the AC Filter – Allow the AC filter to dry for several hours before you reinstall it onto the unit.
    5. Clean your air conditioner’s louvres – Wipe down the louvers with a cloth. If you can remove them, soak the louvres in detergent before rinsing the soap off and allowing it to dry before reinstalling. 
    6. Clean the exterior unit – Clean the exterior of the air conditioner by using a damp cloth. This will remove excess debris that has accumulated. If you want to learn how to clean air conditioner vents, start by unscrewing the vents. Use a scrub brush and vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt.
    Ducted air conditioning / Source: Eco Air Services

    How to clean an outside air conditioner unit

    1. Disconnect from power – Disconnect the air conditioner unit by shutting turning off the main power switch. This will allow you to safely handle the parts without the risk of electrocuting yourself.
    2. Remove AC grill & clean – Gently unscrew the AC grill and hose it off. Direct the spray at different angles to remove more of the dirt that is hiding in the small crevices.
    3. Clean the AC coils and fins – If you want to learn how to clean air conditioner coils, you can do this by hosing off the unit. Spray from the top of the unit and work your way down. Use a fin comb to straighten the fins and loosen any debris, cobwebs, etc. 

    Contact local air conditioning technicians

    How often should you clean your air conditioner?

    • Weekly – Run the ‘dry out’ program if your air conditioner has it for added convenience.
    • Quarterly- Dust the filter screens and wiping down any ducts or vents with a soft damp cloth.
    • Annually – Clean the outdoor unit and remove any vegetation or obstructions that are present, which can affect the operation of the unit. Spider webs that are present also need to be removed. Hire a professional technician to service the air conditioner to ensure they can inspect all the parts and determine if any potential issues are present. An air conditioning technician will also know how to clean air conditioner if you want to leave the work to an expert.

    How do you hire an air conditioner technician?

     If you want to hire someone who knows how to clean ducted air conditioner filter, it’s important to find someone that has several years of experience in the industry to ensure they’re qualified to perform the work. They should have the proper qualifications and certifications to ensure they can get the job done correctly the first time. 

    Ask the technician for at least three references to ensure you can contact their customers. It’s also necessary to look up their license to verify they’re qualified to provide you with AC services.

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