How to clean the air conditioner

An air conditioner is a marvelous modern technological device. It is also an intricate system that processes air usually in small and enclosed areas by means of a refrigeration cycle system in which warm or hot air enters the device and is released after being cooled and with more humidity added. They are mostly used in warm climates or small spaces with scarce air currents. The air conditioners can provide comfort well-being feeling and in some extreme temperatures. They can even help save lives by keeping the temperature of the room at the proper levels for your bodies to tolerate.

Air conditioning systems come in very varied sizes adjusted to different spaces. Some are more complex than others but usually, the ones installed inside the households, vehicles or offices tend to be a bit simpler and easy to handle and maintain. Like any other technological device, they will endure and give a better performance with the proper cleaning and maintenance.

Cleaning your unit can also help save energy and get rid of those huge amounts of monthly light-bills. Some manufacturers recommend the maintenance of the equipment to be done twice a year (depending on the environment conditions) and only by certified technicians. They can be very expensive and it does not necessarily mean that the job will be properly done. However, if you are thinking of doing it by yourself consider the possible consequences like losing the manufacturer’s warranty or damaging the device.

Also, you have to consider that a dirty AC can affect your health. Air conditioner units can be the breeding ground for fungi and other pathogenic and allergenic microorganisms that can affect the quality of the air we breathe and reach our breathing system causing serious illness.

But, do not panic, the most basic cleaning can be done by yourself just with some simple tools and steps. So, if you want to know how to clean the air conditioner and its parts without expending so much money on fancy tools just keep reading.

Materials and equipment you will need:

  • Safety lenses
  • A mouth/nose cover
  • A vacuum machine (small or big)
  • Screwdriver
  • Garden hose
  • Brush

How to clean air conditioner: step-by-step

1 To get started, you have to turn off the power because working with is always dangerous. It is always better to prevent an accident to turn all electricity off from its original source before starting the cleaning process. You have to do this whether you are just going to clean the filter and components or if you want to completely replace the filter.

2 Now, we can open the unit completely. Remember that these devices are usually manufactured in ways that allow you to remove certain parts without the use of heavy tools. Due to the high levels of humidity, there could be some growth of algae, fungi or any type of spore inside the unit so be sure to use a mouth/nose cover to prevent damage to your health.

3 Remove the filter softly using your hands, look for signs of tear and wear. If you see any you have to completely replace the filter because to use it in a bad state will affect the efficiency of the unit. Replacing the filter can help improve significantly the performance and efficiency of the whole unit and it is energy-saving as well.

4 Now that you have checked the filter you can proceed to sanitize it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Prepare it in a container large enough to fit the whole filter. Once is ready submerge the filter completely and leave it to soak for three to four hours depending on how long ago was the last cleaning. This process can help eliminate bacteria and harmful fungi.

5 After you have cleaned (soaked) or replaced the filter you can move on to the coil. The AC coil is where the warm or hot air passes and gets cooled and released to the outside after the process. To keep the coil free form any debris or dust provides more space to allow the air to get inside the unit and release its heat working then, in a more efficient and power-saving way. You can find the coil or coils in most units behind a removable panel.

You can remove the panel by using a screwdriver and once they are visible you then clean the coil from dirt, cobwebs, and debris using the vacuum machine or by hand. Also, use the brush along the coils for approaching smaller particles. If you wish for a deeper cleaning you can finish this step with a foam cleaner applying it according to the instructions on the product and use the hose to rinse the product.

6 Then you can move to clean out the drain tube by removing any debris or particle accumulation. This can significantly help improve the performance of the unit. You can use the same tools and techniques of the previous steps.

7 Now you can come back to the filter as is time to drain the excess of humidity of the water and vinegar solution that can still remain. Do not rinse using water as it will eliminate the sanitizing process instead place the filter on top of a clean and dry old towel and leave it to dry on its own for a while. Put it in a dry and light place (sunshine preferable) checking on it frequently.

8 Once the filter is dry you can fit it back into the air conditioner and close the entire unit again. Plug it in again and allow some time for the electric flow to stabilize before turning the unit on.

9 Once is on, be patient because the AC has to reset. Then you can program the temperature and another set again as they used to be.

So please, enjoy a safer air quality for you and everyone around!

5/5 - (4 votes)

Jim Powell

Jim is our staff editor and writer. He has a degree in engineering. His hobbies are radio engineering and new technologies about which he has been writing for more than 7 years.


  • Taylor Bishop

    May 30, 2019 at 3:12 PM

    Thanks for explaining how an air conditioner can be cleaned. You mentioned that you should always turn off the power before you work. I’m interested to learn if you should wait some time afterwards just to be on the safe side.


    • Jim Powell

      June 2, 2019 at 7:53 AM

      When you turn off the power, you will be on the safe side


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