It is important to service and clean your air conditioner regularly to maintain good air quality, energy efficiency and to keep running costs low. While air conditioner maintenance may seem like a daunting task, it is actually much simpler than you think. While most home owners leave it up to professionals to do the job, there are several ways in which DIY air conditioner cleaning can save you money and ensure that your unit is kept in tip-top shape.
Air conditioner filters are designed to trap dust and if not cleaned properly and regularly can become clogged up. Clogged up filters in an air conditioner contain micro contaminants and harmful substances like pollen and bacteria that are harmful to health. It can also cause a build-up of moisture that can cause a mold infestation. Microscopic mold spores are quickly spread throughout the home by the fans in the air conditioner and can expose residents to potentially harmful allergic conditions, especially in children and the elderly.
Cleaning your air conditioner is a simple procedure if you follow certain guidelines. Your air conditioning unit will have an instruction manual that sets out how to access and clean any user-maintainable parts such as the air filters. If you no longer have this manual a copy can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s online website.
Here are 5 things ways to clean your air conditioner:
1. Using a Vacuum Cleaner
While a vacuum cleaner is not ideal to deep clean your air conditioner, it is the simplest and easiest way to keep the surface and exposed parts of the system dust free without entirely dismantling the unit. Run the vacuum cleaner over the entire surface of the unit to remove any dust and insects on a daily basis. Once a week remove the front cover and pay particular attention to vacuuming the ducts, pipes, fans, filters, and evaporator coils to remove any loose dust and debris. If dust is allowed to accumulate it will cause a bigger build-up that will require a deeper cleaning. If left too long you may not be able to remove the clogged up dirt and you may have to use chemicals or call in a professional to thoroughly clean the unit.
2. Using an Air Compressor
Using an air compressor with a flexible nozzle will take your DIY air conditioning cleaning to a new level that is one step up from using a vacuum cleaner. An air compressor can clean the internal, hard-to-reach parts of the air conditioner more precisely by blowing out any dirt and debris with a powerful air flow.
3. Using Chemicals
If your air conditioner has not been cleaned in a long time a vacuum cleaner or air compressor will not be sufficient to remove the built-up dust and debris clogging the unit. If this the case it is time to up your cleaning game by using chemical cleaning solutions to dissolve the dirt. Chemicals will remove stubborn dirt, corrosive material, mold growth, and any other toxic gunk from the internal parts of the air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, at this stage you will have to dismantle the unit to get to the internal parts.
Remove the parts and immerse them one-by-one in the chemical solution. Pipes and other parts that cannot be dismantled will need to be flushed with the chemical solution and the dirt wiped away with a clean, soft cloth. Although this is a time-consuming task, a good chemical clean will improve the overall cooling efficiency of the unit and enhance the indoor air quality of your home.
4. Changing the Filter
The filter of your air conditioner is a key component to the quality of air flow in your home. It helps to eliminate dust that contains bacteria and harmful allergens from circulating through your home. Often overlooked, the filter is a basic but very important part of air conditioner maintenance. Neglecting to clean the air filter regularly can cause fungi and mold to breed in the filter which can cause serious respiratory conditions. Clean filters will not only reduce any health risks from the air you breathe but also increase the longevity and efficiency of your air conditioning unit.
The air filter should be changed if any signs of wear or damage are detected to prevent putting extra strain on the working parts of the unit. Changing the air filter regularly will circumvent many potential problems that could arise with your air conditioner. Investing in a high quality filter that is designed to remove allergens and other harmful airborne substances is recommended to ensure that the air you breath is healthy. Basic air filters are only capable of getting rid of dust and bacteria.
To clean the filter, remove the casing cover and detach the filter. Wipe it down with a cloth and then hold it under running water. You can also immerse the filter in a solution of mild soapy water. Rinse it thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before replacing it.
5. Clearing the Drain
One of the easiest jobs when cleaning an air conditioner is clearing the drain. However, even though it is an easy job, its importance should not be underestimated as a backed up drain can lead to water damage to the walls and ceiling of your home. The moisture caused by stagnant water can also breed mold which will quickly spread throughout the rest of your home. The drain on your air conditioner should be cleared at least once a year by vacuuming. For a more thorough job you can get a cap from any hardware store to place at the end of the drain. Use a dry vacuum to suck out all dirt and debris from the outside end of the drain. Remember to remove the cap when the job has been done.
Regular cleaning is key to maintaining an air conditioner that runs in optimal condition to keep the air that you breath clean and free from harmful contaminants. While it is a simple DIY job, exercise extreme caution when dismantling parts or handling chemicals cleaning. If you notice any damage seek professional help from an air conditioning service company.