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How to Maintain and Clean Your Air Conditioner Yourself

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Cleaning and maintaining air conditioners—especially central air conditioners—should be left to the professionals. That said, you could do basic cleaning jobs to keep your air conditioner working efficiently for longer. These maintenance measures will help you save more money and minimize the chance of the unit breaking down. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can clean your air conditioner and maintain the unit by yourself.

Step 1: Prepping the Unit for Cleaning

Got cleaning tools like a vacuum cleaner, a soft brush, and a screwdriver? Prepare all these tools; you will need them to disassemble parts of the air conditioner for cleaning. Make sure you work in a safe place. Shut off the power supply to avoid electric shocks and unplug the unit just to be safe.

Step 2: Start the Basic Cleaning From the Outside In

Start working from the outside in; clean the condenser by unscrewing the metal box on the outside of the unit to remove it. Avoid the blades as they bend easily.

Clean the blades using the vacuum with a brush attachment. Again, be extremely careful not to bend the blades or your air conditioner will never work properly again! Remove debris from the blades that may disrupt the airflow of the unit.

Step 3: Start Working Your Way In

After you’re done cleaning the condenser and the blades, it’s time to start working yourself into the unit. Unscrew the fan to reach farther into the air conditioner with your vacuum. The fan isn’t really detachable but unscrewing it will help you budge it so you can fit your vacuum hose farther into the air conditioner itself. Once you reached the farthest side of the air conditioner, vacuum away. Get all the debris, dirt, and dust stuck on the unit gently.

Step 4: Screw the Fan Back

Once the inside of the air conditioner is clean as a whistle, it’s time to assemble everything back into place. Screw the fan back together.

Step 5: Clean the Evaporator

The evaporator is typically located near the air conditioner’s blower inside a metal duct. The evaporator has “fins” similar to the condenser. Again, with your vacuum, clean the evaporator from debris, dust, and dirt. Observe extreme caution when cleaning the evaporator as this part is easily damaged!

Step 6: Move on to the Blower

You are on the last leg of cleaning your air conditioner. The blower has to be gently vacuumed to remove accumulated debris. After you’re done cleaning the blower, you will find the air conditioner’s filter near it. You can remove the filter and replace it with a new one.

After cleaning the condenser, evaporator, and blower, you can start screwing things back together again. Once that’s done, plug your air conditioner and turn it on to make sure everything is working properly.

You can keep your air conditioner working efficiently by checking if the hardware is free from damage. Check for leaks or cracks; see if the condensate tube is draining efficiently. Clean the air vents regularly to prolong the life of your unit.


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