Spring Cleaning for Your Home’s Air Conditioner

cleaning your AC

As spring starts and summer approaches Edgewater, getting your air conditioner tuned-up for the season becomes priority. If you regularly service your system, it may simply need a cleaning. Here’s a walkthrough for how to clean an air conditioner.

Clean Your Outdoor Condenser: Step by Step

If you want to save yourself a professional cleaning and like to be involved with the systems around your house, learning how to clean your air conditioner could be a fulfilling activity. To start, follow these steps for how to clean your central air conditioner effectively.

  1. Cut the power. Before working with your AC unit, ensure the unit’s power and the switch to the circuit breaker are both set to the off position.
  2. Open the condenser box. With a screwdriver, release the screws on the top of the unit and remove the fan.
  3. Empty the leaves. Inside, it’s common to find leaves and twigs that fell through the unit. Clear the debris away with a vacuum or by hand.
  4. Clean the coils. There are a few different cleaning options. You can adjust your cleaning method depending on what you have on hand and how dirty the coils are. Below we discuss this further.
  5. Reconstruct the condenser. Once the debris is cleared and the coils are clean, you can put the condenser back together, starting with setting the fan back in place and then returning the screws.
  6. Reconnect the power. Turn the breaker back on and test the AC. Don’t worry about waiting for the unit to dry from cleaning. This part of the system expels humidity and is designed to run in damp conditions.

Related Content: Knowing if It’s the Right Time to Buy a New AC or Keep the Old One

Cleaning AC Condenser Coils

Once you open your condenser unit, it will look empty. The coils that need cleaning are embedded in the walls behind narrow, fin-like vents. These fins help transfer the heat outdoors and act as a dust buffer between the condenser. Making sure the coil fins are regularly cleaned keeps the heat transfer flowing out of the house and prevents dirt from reaching further back into the system. Here are a few methods for how to clean your air conditioner coils:

  • Blowing compressed air. For a small cleaning, use compressed air to blow dust particles free from the coil fins. If instead, you prefer to use a vacuum, you could also lift the particles out with suction. But what if the dirt won’t come clear with a blast of air?
  • Cleaning with a soft-bristled brush. Although the fins are fragile and could be bent or broken by a stiffer brush, a soft brush can help clean mild dirt that holds to the vents. But if the dirt goes deeper than the surface, you may need something stronger.
  • Spraying a chemical cleaner. The beauty of chemical coil cleaners is that the foaming solution can reach deep into the coils and froth the dirt away from the surface. Evenly empty a bottle over the inner walls of the condenser and wait 5 to 10 minutes for the cleaner to work. Afterward, wash all the foam away with a garden hose. Finish with a quick spray down of the outside of the condenser walls as well.
  • Washing with a mild detergent. If you want to stay away from chemical cleaners or prefer to use what you have on hand, you can also make a solution of a mild detergent diluted in a spray bottle of water. Apply the solution as you would the chemical cleaner, emptying the bottle evenly over the inner walls. Again, rinse the inside and outside walls with clean water until the suds clear.

Repairing Damaged Fins

Over time it’s not unusual for the fragile coil fins to become damaged. You can gently press bent or twisted slots back into form using a fin comb tool. This will keep your system from overworking as it pushes air through misshaped vents. If the damage takes more than a comb, call for professional assistance.

Cleaning your AC’s Filter

What happens if you don’t clean your air conditioner filter? The buildup of dirt and dust will slow the airflow through your AC. It will work more to cool the same amount, wearing the system down more quickly. With more pressure pushing air through the filter, particles can slip around the filter, reaching and damaging the evaporator coils’ ability to absorb heat. Here’s how to clean an air conditioner filter to protect from damage.

  1. Remove the filters from the vents. There may be several filters in your AC unit, so check the different vents to find them all. Change disposable filters and follow the next steps to clean reusable filters.
  2. Vacuum dust buildup on the surface of the filter material to start the cleaning. This prevents particles from matting during the next process.
  3. Rinse off the dirt in a deep sink or with a hose outdoors. Be careful not to use excessive pressure that could damage the filter material. Soak the filter in vinegar and water for an hour before rinsing and drying completely for a deeper clean.
  4. Replace filters. Once entirely dry, the filters can go back in their place to continue to clean the air and protect your system from damage.

Keep Your AC Cold in Edgewater

Spring in Edgewater brings gradually higher temperatures and a list of things to do. Give your AC a cleaning to keep it running smoothly and make sure it’s ready for the heat of summer. If it needs a deeper cleaning than you thought or you run into any damage, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Sometimes, even when you know how to clean your air conditioner unit, something goes wrong and you need professional assistance. When that happens, our expert technicians at Advanced Air Home Services are only a call away. For expert AC assistance, call (386) 260-2330 or schedule service online to get started.
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