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cleaning air conditioner unit

How To Clean Air Conditioning Unit

Having a home air conditioning system in the summertime can be a great way to allow your family to relax comfortably indoors. However, making sure that your air conditioning is in prime condition requires cleaning it out at the start of every season. When the springtime warmth rolls back around, it’s time to get to cleaning your home air conditioning system.

Get Your Tools Rounded Up

Before you attempt to clean your centralized home air conditioning system, it’s highly advisable to gather up all of the tools that you’ll need. This way, you have them in an easily accessible location and won’t have to waste time running to the store to get them.

You’ll need to have a screwdriver or ratchet wrench to remove the fasteners holding in both the inside access panel and the outdoor compressor grille cover. You’ll need to purchase both an evaporator coil and a condenser coil foaming cleansing agent. Also, pick up some bleach so that you can mix it with water to make an effective cleaning solution.

While you’re at the hardware store, you may want to pick up a fin comb that matches the layout of your outdoor compressor unit. If not, you can always utilize a small pair of needlenose pliers. You’ll want to pick up an air filter that matches the right model number that your unit requires. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that you have a spray nozzle on your hose and that it will reach your outdoor compressor unit.

Once you have all of these tools gathered up, it’s time to plan out when you’ll be doing your cleaning. It’s highly advisable to set aside a good half of a day to clean your unit. This will ensure that it isn’t rushed, and you’ll do a thorough job.

Start Indoors

Before you attempt any cleaning, you should locate the circuit breaker associated with your home air conditioning system. Turn the breaker to the off position. This will ensure that there’s no power going to your air conditioning system while you’re trying to work on it.

Next, go ahead and remove the fasteners that are holding in the access panel for your indoor air conditioner components. Locate your evaporator coil and apply the foaming cleansing agent that you purchased. The foaming cleanser will work to remove the debris that is stuck on to the coil.

Once clean, it’s time to mix up your bleach and water solution. It’s best to use a 50/50 mixture. Pour it down the drainpipe and the drain. This should work to remove any debris build-up and hard water scale from the areas. If left unchecked, this debris build-up could cause a water backup in your air conditioning system.

After you ensure that the drain is completely free from obstruction, it’s time to close up the indoor unit. Reinstall the access panel. Be sure to leave the circuit breaker off until you finish cleaning the outdoor unit.

Replace Your Air Filter

The next thing that you want to do is to replace your indoor air filter. If you don’t know where the filter is located, you should consult your owner’s manual or an online resource. All you need to do is pop the existing filter out and push your new one in.

There are four main types of air conditioner filters that you can utilize in your system. These include washable filters, pleated filters, fiberglass filters, and HEPA filters. Fiberglass filters are the cheapest, and HEPA filters tend to be the most expensive. HEPA filters are recommended for those who have young children, upper respiratory illnesses, or severe allergies. Otherwise, pleated filters are the best option for homeowners as they offer great filtering at an affordable price.

Most air conditioning experts recommend installing a new air filter every three months. However, this is just a general recommendation. It’s best to pop out your air filter once a month and take a look at it. If you can see through it, then it’s good for another month. When you can no longer see through the filter, it’s time for a replacement.

Clean Your Vents

While you’re indoors, it’s a good idea to remove the vents. Each room should have a return and supply vent that needs to be removed and clean. It’s not uncommon for the gates in the vent to collect grime and other debris that needs to be cleaned off.

While you have the vents out, it creates a good opportunity to clean out your exposed ductwork. Use a dry cloth and try to remove as much as possible. Experts recommend having your entire ductwork system cleaned out every three to five years. Those who have severe allergies or upper respiratory illnesses should get their ductwork cleaned closer to every three years to keep their indoor air quality level high.

While you’re taking care of cleaning your air conditioning vents, be mindful of what’s around them. It’s not unusual for a homeowner to unintentionally move furniture in front of the vent’s airflow. If you notice that your vent’s airflow is obstructed in any way, it’s advisable to move the object. You want to have adequate airflow coming out of the vent so that it can deliver your cooled air.

Head Outdoors

Once you get your indoor unit, the vents, and the filter changed, it’s time to head to your outdoor unit. As you approach your outdoor compressor unit, take a look at what’s located around it. If there are overgrown shrubs or low-hanging limbs, you need to trim them back. Remove any loose debris, like twigs or leaves, that are surrounding the unit. This will provide adequate airflow through your outdoor unit.

Next, it’s time to remove the outdoor air conditioner grille cover and dive right in. Start by cleaning off your condenser coil. Use the specialized foam cleanser that you picked up at your local hardware store. Be sure to utilize a pair of safety gloves when applying the condenser coil cleaner, as it can be quite caustic.

After the condenser coil is nice and shiny, it’s time to grab the hose. Squirt out the interior of the unit, removing any debris that found its way inside of the unit. Be sure to clean off the fins. Once everything is clean, it’s time to straighten out your air conditioner fins.

It makes sense to do this while you’re cleaning your unit since you already have the AC grille cover off. You can use a small pair of needlenose pliers or a fin comb to straighten out the bent fins. Take time to look over all of the fins and make sure that they’re straight. Straight fins allow for more heat dispersion, which means that your system will work more optimally.

Now, since everything is cleaned up, it’s time to wrap it all up. Use the fasteners to reinstall the air conditioner grill cover that you took off. Be sure to head back inside to your electrical panel. You’ll want to flip the breaker for your air conditioning system back to the on position.

Helpful AC Maintenance

One Stop Heating & Air Conditioning is proud to serve the Sandy area for all of its AC maintenance needs. We also offer indoor air quality assessment, duct cleaning, and heating and air conditioning installation and repairs. Give us a call today and let our friendly staff assist you!