Many people rely on air conditioning to make the summer months tolerable. We put the units in our windows and use them constantly for months, then put them away for most of the year. When we pull them out the following year, we want them running like new. Unfortunately, there is a large amount of dust and debris built up inside the unit that can seriously hamper their efficiency. Luckily, they are not hard to clean, especially when you only have to do it once a year.
There are a few major components of your window unit that will need to be cleaned to get it running at its best again. The AC evaporator coil is the air conditioner’s cooling mechanism, and can cause power usage to increase if it is dirty. The filter is a common problem as well, as it collects dirt and dust. Many people think that diminished performance means a lack of coolant in the condenser coil, but again, a lack of proper maintenance is often to blame. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure the air conditioner is pushing out as much air as possible by cleaning off the fan.
These simple steps will spare you the hassle of shelling out for the replacement cost of of a new unit or individual parts.
- Before doing anything, unplug the air conditioner and remover the unit from the window. Much of the cleaning can and should be done outside. Use a partner if necessary, especially for larger units.
- Remove the faceplate from the unit to remove the filter. Clean both the faceplate and filter in the sink or with a soft-spraying hose. Use a soft brush to remove all debris stuck in the filter. Wet filters attract more dust and can cause mold to grow, so be sure to dry it thoroughly before putting it back in.
- Either remove the AC unit’s internal workings from its casing, or just the top panel. This will allow you to see all of the unit’s components. Vacuum away any build-up you see.
- The evaporator coil, located behind where the filter was, has very gentle, malleable fins. Using a fin comb, available at most hardware stores, go through and straighten out any fins that may have bent. Thick, protective gloves are recommended when dealing with the thin metal.
- Spray the fins with evaporator coil cleaning foam, another common product found at hardware stores. Let the foam sit for about 10 minutes, then gently rinse it off with the hose. Be careful not to spray too hard, or you’ll risk damaging the fins.
- Use the hose to spray the fan clean. By now, you should have gotten generally every area of the air conditioner clean, but if not, don’t be afraid to go over it some more. Feel free to use general cleaning supplies like brushes or rags to apply some elbow grease and clean the unit until you are happy with it.
- Allow the unit to rest outside for a bit to dry off. When everything is clean and dry, put everything back together and enjoy your air conditioning as if it were new.