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Cleaning Your Air Conditioner In 3 Steps

Your air conditioner needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, so it can work efficiently. The part that sits outdoors draws in air along with dirt, grass clippings, pollen, pollution, and anything else that is floating in the air. This debris will gum up the works and eventually cause your air conditioner to stop working if you don't clean it out. While you don't want to bother the mechanical parts of the unit that are hidden behind panels, you can easily clean the fins, vents, and outer portion of your air conditioner. Below are three steps on how to do this:

1. Examine The Condenser

Before you do anything to your air conditioner, be sure to kill the power to it by flipping the switch off or by turning off the circuit breaker. That way you won't have to worry about getting shocked or the fan kicking on while you're working on it. The first step to cleaning your air conditioner is to examine the condenser, the big unit that sits outside your house. There are fins all along the sides of the condenser, which can be bent fairly easily. Look for fins that are mashed together, as they can block airflow. If you find bent fins, run a knife or some other hard object between the fins to straighten them out. If several are bent, it might be easier to buy a fin comb from the hardware store to run through the fins to straighten them.

2. Vacuum The Condenser

Use your vacuum hose to pull the dust and dirt out of the condenser fins. You may be able to remove the outer panels of the condenser, so you can vacuum inside the unit too. You may have to remove the fan grill on top and pull it off instead. This allows you to pull out leaves and other debris that has worked its way past the fins. Once you can see inside, you'll notice there is a fan and some cooling tubes that house the refrigerant. These parts need to be serviced by a contractor. In addition to you cleaning your air conditioner every few months, it's also a good idea to have your AC serviced by a contractor at least once per year. He or she will check the refrigerant levels and lubricate the fan parts that need it. Vacuuming dirt and dust out of the condenser will go a long way towards keeping the fan clean and operating properly between service calls.

3. Clean The Filter

Once the condenser is clean, you can move indoors to check the filter. You should change your filter regularly throughout the year. You may need to change it as often as every month or two, depending on how much you use your air conditioner. When you pull out the filter, see if there is any dust or debris you can vacuum out from the inside of the air conditioner unit. The electrical components will be hidden behind a service panel, and you shouldn't remove it. Just run the vacuum hose around the outside of the panel and get the dust out of the groove that holds the filter and outer panel. Be sure to vacuum the vents and other exterior portions of the air conditioner to get rid of all the dust.

Cleaning your air conditioner doesn't take too long, especially if you do it regularly, so it can't build up grime. The effort it takes is worth it because it helps your unit run more efficiently. This helps keep you cooler while running your air conditioner less often. You might even prolong the life of your air conditioner by keeping it clean and having regular service calls from a contractor like Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning.