Window AC units have a hard life and work long hours every day throughout the warmer months of the year to keep your home cool and comfortable. Fortunately, they are up to the task. Still, they never complain if you give them a helping hand and the easiest way to keep your window AC unit running smoothly and efficiently is regular cleaning. It will also save you electricity, prevent mold formation, and help your AC unit serve you longer.
If you clean your air conditioner often enough, most of the time, a quick clean is all your window AC unit will need. But once in a while—ideally no less than once a year—your unit will be glad of a proper, deep clean. At Entek, we know that cleaning inside your AC may seem like an arduous chore. But in fact, if you follow the right procedure, it’s a simple job, and your unit will soon be whirring happily and as good as new once more. So, let’s look at how to clean window air conditioning units.
What You’ll Need
- A 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution—put this in a spray bottle
- Warm, soapy water
- Vacuum cleaner with a brush nozzle
- Fin comb or brush with soft bristles
- A clean cloth
- A screwdriver
- A can of compressed air
- AC coil cleaner
The final two items are optional: you’ll only need coil cleaner for a deep clean. A spray bottle and a cloth will often suffice for a rapid one. However, compressed air is great for getting rid of small dust particles or dirt wedged in cracks.
Cleaning The Inflow And Outflow Grill, And The Filter
A nice, quick way to clean and keep mildew away, especially if there’s a slight smell when you turn your AC on, is to use hydrogen peroxide spray. Turn off your AC, spray the grill cover (the inflow and outflow apertures), then wipe it down. If you do this last thing at night, your unit will have plenty of time to dry.
The filter bears the brunt of the onslaught from dust, hair, tiny insects, and so on, and is the main barrier protecting the moving parts inside your AC. Always makes sure your unit is unplugged when you open it up. Follow your user manual instructions to unscrew or unclip the grill cover and remove the filter.
Use the vacuum brush on the filter to clean dust, hair, or other dirt. Then wash it with water, wipe it, and leave it to dry. Spray it with hydrogen peroxide to complete the process.
Filters are subject to wear and tear so make sure to change yours every three months.
Washing The Grill And Cleaning The Interior
Once the grill is detached, you can wash it with mild soap and water. While it is drying, turn your attention to the inside of your AC unit—do this when you want a more thorough clean. Start by cleaning the drain pan in the bottom and vacuuming the fan and blower situated in the middle. The evaporator and condenser at the back are a little trickier to clean because of the soft aluminum fins on the coils. Do what you can gently with the vacuum cleaner, or alternatively the compressed air, and if required, use the soft brush. Take note that the fins can be sharp so watch your fingertips. You may want to wear thin gloves.
If you notice any bent fins, straighten them carefully with a fin comb.
Spray All Areas
If you’ve brushed and vacuumed the coil and fins, you can now spray them with the hydrogen peroxide solution. AC coil spray cleaner is useful to loosen up any long-standing and stubborn dirt; a powerful jet of compressed air helps start the process. Then rinse with clean water. Remember not to use alcohol for cleaning as it is flammable, and certainly not bleach, which has toxic fumes, could burn your skin, and may corrode and damage parts of your AC.
It’s not necessary to do the coils and fins every time you clean your AC unit. Do it semi-annually or quarterly at most.
Finally, make sure there’s nothing blocking the drain. Here again, the compressed air can will come in handy.
Reassemble Your Window Air Conditioning Unit
Once everything is spotless and dry, your AC unit is ready to resume active service. Spray the cover grill front and back, particularly the airflow holes. Put the cleaned filter—or a new one—in place while it dries. Then put everything back together, plug your unit back into the power supply, and you’re ready to roll. Your AC will deliver cleaner, cooler air with optimal efficiency and minimum power usage. It will also be rejuvenated and have greater longevity.
How Often Should I Clean My Window Air Conditioning Unit?
How quickly your unit gets dirty and the filter clogs depends partly on the climate in your area, the degree of humidity, the amount of dust in your environment, how often you use it, and so on. But as a rule of thumb, you should clean the filter and use hydrogen peroxide spray once a month. A complete, thorough clean should be done once a year, ideally after the cooler season, before you start using your AC once again.
What Else Should I Do To Keep My AC In Good Condition?
Turn your AC off when you’re not using it. You’ll save power and give the moving parts a rest.
During the months you don’t use your air conditioner, store it indoors, in a dry space, and cover it for protection from dust and dirt. When you begin using it again, take it apart and clean it properly, and it will be ready to run for another season.
Now you know how to clean window air conditioning units, you’ll be able to keep yours in good shape, and save on repairs. If you still have questions or would prefer to trust the work to professionals, give the HVAC experts at Entek a call.