The Simple Way to Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit

We rely on our air conditioners to keep us cool over summer, and warm in winter in the case of reverse cycle air conditioning. Even though the air conditioner is one of the most used appliances in the home, many people don’t know how to look after their AC.

Much like a car needs regular servicing, you should perform regular cleaning and maintenance on your air conditioner to make sure it keeps running efficiently. Read on to find out why cleaning your AC is important, and how to do it.

Is it important to clean your air conditioner regularly?

Dirty or clogged air conditioning systems are less efficient at cooling or heating your home. That means they’ll use more electricity and could cause your power bills to increase. 

Dirty air filters in the indoor unit of a split air conditioner can reduce the air quality, which can be particularly harmful for homes with allergies or asthma. 

When dirt and debris builds up inside an AC system, it can increase wear and tear on the moving parts and lead to costly breakdowns. 

The benefits of regularly cleaning and servicing your air conditioner are:

  • More effective heating and cooling
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced power bills
  • Avoiding costly and inconvenient breakdowns

Why does an AC get dirty?

The air filters inside your air conditioning wall unit filter out dust, pollen, pet dander and other particles from the air. This enables your AC to deliver clean, healthy air to your room. 

However, it also means that over time, these contaminants will collect in your air filter. If the filter is never cleaned, it will start to be less effective at filtering the air and may even circulate harmful particles in the air. 

The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is exposed to a lot of dirt, debris and weather elements. There may also be plants and grass that grow up around the outdoor unit. 

Over time, dirt will accumulate on the condenser coils and other components. When the condenser coils are dirty, they become less efficient at getting rid of warm air. This means your air con will be slower at cooling your room down and will consume more energy.

What parts of an air conditioner need cleaning?

If you have a split air conditioning system, both the indoor and outdoor units will need cleaning. It is natural for dust and debris to build up in both units over time. 

You should clean:

  • The outside of the outdoor unit
  • The condenser coils inside the outdoor unit
  • The outside of your indoor unit
  • The air filters inside your indoor unit
  • The louvres or blades which direct the airflow

How to clean the indoor unit and air filters

Before you start cleaning your indoor or outdoor unit, make sure the power is turned off.

  1. Start by giving the outer casing of your indoor unit a good clean, including the louvres (the blades that direct the airflow). Use a vacuum cleaner or a soft cloth to remove any dust or grime that has built up.
  2. Open the indoor unit and locate the air filters. In some models, you will need to replace the air filters with new filters. Other models have reusable air filters that should be cleaned thoroughly and then replaced.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the air filters. If there is still a lot of dirt and grime, use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Let the filters dry completely before putting them back in your AC.

How to clean the outdoor unit and condenser coils

Before you start cleaning the outdoor unit, make sure the power to the air conditioning system is switched off.

  1. Start by clearing away any plants or grass that has grown around the outdoor unit. Use a soft brush or vacuum cleaner to clean the outer casing of the unit.
  2. To clean the condenser coils, you will need to remove the outer casing using a screwdriver. You may need to remove some of the other components inside the unit to find the condenser coils.
  3. Remove any chunks of dirt and debris with a vacuum cleaner or soft brush. Then use a suitable cleaning solution to remove any of the remaining grime. After leaving for about 5 minutes, rinse the solution off with clean water from a garden hose. 
  4. While you have the inside open, straighten any bent fins on the coils using a fin comb. 

How often should you clean your AC?

Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on how often you should clean your air conditioner and change the air filters. Usually 1-3 times a year is appropriate, although more often is recommended if your air con gets regular use.

Should you get your AC professionally cleaned?

On top of regular maintenance that you can do yourself, it’s a good idea to get a professional air conditioning service at least once a year. 

If you’re not experienced, it’s also recommended you get an AC specialist to clean the inside of your air conditioning units to avoid damaging them and to prevent safety hazards.

An air conditioning specialist can save you time and effort, and give you peace of mind that your AC is being looked after to the highest standard. A specialist can also catch problems early before they lead to expensive breakdowns. 

Professional cleaning and servicing will make sure you can get the most out of your air conditioning system, reduce running costs and increase the longevity of your AC.

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