How to Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit
Keeping your air conditioning unit clean is important to keep your HVAC system working efficiently. Read here for instructions on cleaning your unit.
If you’re anticipating the pangs of summer heat, now is the perfect time to clean your outdoor air conditioner. Routine cleaning won’t just prolong the life of your air conditioning unit, but an unclogged unit, debris free will function more efficiently, costing you less in energy bills.
Routine inspection and maintenance is essential to catching problems early on, and saving money when it comes to your electric bill. It’s recommended hiring an HVAC technician to inspect, and maintain your system twice a year around spring and fall where the temperature is tolerable, and you don’t need your heating and cooling system.
The most important thing a homeowner can do to keep their HVAC system running up to speed is change the air filters once a month, every month. A dirty air filter will raise your electric bill since the system will struggle to heat or cool your home.
If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your air conditioning system yourself, call Duct Cleaning Melbourne to have one of our professionals come out and take care of it for you!
What Will You Need to Clean Your Air Conditioner?
- Hex Head Nut Driver, sizes may vary.
- Hose, with running water.
- 1 cup of Simple Green or similar all-purpose cleaner.
- Appropriately sized air filter.
The first thing we want to do while working on HVAC systems is be sure the power is turned off. Most air conditioners have a service disconnect connected to the home within a couple feet of the condenser (the part of your unit that is outside). When you open the lid on the disconnect, there should be a handle that can pulled out, thus disconnecting the power supply to the air conditioner. Once the handle has been pulled out, be sure to close the lid on the disconnect, as this is still powered you don’t want to spray water into it accidentally. You can also shut the power off by locating the breaker in your electrical panel that’s dedicated to the A/C system and turn it off there.
Removing the Top of the Air Conditioning Unit
Once the power is off, use your hex head nut driver to remove the bolts that are mounted on the top of the unit. Once all of the bolts have been removed, the whole top should be ready to lift off of the condenser, as well as the fan and motor. Don’t remove the bolts that hold the fan and motor onto the lid. There will also be wires connecting the motor to the service panel on the side. Leave those wires alone. There should be enough slack that you can swing off the lid to the side, and set it up so that the wires aren’t stressed or rubbing on anything sharp.
With the lid removed, you should be able to easily get to the inside of the condensing unit. Start off cleaning by removing any debris, leaves, twigs, etc in or out of the unit that can be moved by hand. This will prevent water from being trapped under the debris and causing the eventual rust and breakdown of the units structure. Next, place a towel over the service panel area. This won’t prevent all of the water from entering the panel, but it will catch a fair amount.
Now take your water hose and spray from the inside out of the unit. Keep in mind air is being pulled into the unit, thus spraying the hose outside in will only force the dirt deeper into the fins. The units are made to be outside, so don’t worry about spraying water into it. Just be sure of a couple things.
- Don’t have the water pressure set so high it bends the fins around the unit.
- Do your best not to directly spray into your service panel area or at the service disconnect. Both are are rained on regularly, but there’s no reason to test their limits.
- Once you’re done removing the dirt, you should be able to look through the fins and see daylight. Once you can, that’s it. Remount the lid to the condensing unit like it was and bolt it down.
Change your Air Filter and Clean Your Drain
Spring is a great time to replace the air filter. After being couped up all winter with dust and pet hair, it’s quite likely that this of the year the filter will be it’s dirtiest. Air conditioning can be quite finicky and sensitive to air flow. If your air filter is clogged, your fan will have to work significantly harder, and the evaporator coil is likely to freeze solid. This can be an annoying problem, causes a mess, and can ultimately render the A/C system useless.
Lastly, though it is optional. You can clean your A/C drain once a year. While it doesn’t necessarily affect the efficiency of the unit. But deposits can build up in this line that could potentially lead to some blockage. A cup full all-purpose cleaner can be used to clean the drain.
It’s very important that you don’t try to interact with the refrigerant at all. If you’ve cleaned the air conditioner and it still doesn’t appear to be operating properly, call Duct Cleaning Melbourne. Our professionals will be over to fix the issue. If it’s the refrigerant charge in the system, it requires special equipment, and is extreamly dangerous. If caught without the proper certification, can carry a very stiff fine as well as penalties.