It always feels like your home gets more cluttered over the course of the winter and the time for spring cleaning is now. Sorry, but we’re about to add on one more important chore to the list – cleaning your air conditioning unit. In just one hour, you can increase your unit’s efficiency and save yourself the headache of a costly replacement. Here are a few step by step instructions to get you started.
Step 1: Turn the power off
It is essential to turn off the electricity to the unit to avoid the moving parts and a dangerous voltage shock. Check the temperature before you begin to be sure it is at least 60°F as the compressors will not work properly below 60 degrees.
Step 2: Remove the outer case
It’s always a good idea to read the owner’s manual for how to unscrew the metal box to expose the fins. After you open the unit, vacuum the fins with a soft brush, or gently spray the fins with a garden hose. The fins are delicate, so avoid bending them. If they are slightly bent, you can straighten them with a blunt, dinner knife. If they are heavily bent, it’s a good idea to let an Action technician inspect it for you.
Step 3: Remove the grille
Unscrew the top grille and carefully hold it open. The fan is typically attached and supporting it is crucial to avoid stressing connections. Carefully clear away debris like grass clippings, twigs, dandelions, and dead leaves. Watch out for mice as they often make the inside of air conditioning units their winter home.
Step 4: Clean the indoor unit
Blower filters should be replaced at least twice a year. While replacing the filter, vacuum out the blower compartment. Check the drains and tubes for clogs. Algae and mold can build up over time and cause expensive flooding or possibly cause the system to stop cooling. If you find a clog, pour a solution of 1 part bleach to 16 parts water through the tube. Flexible tubes can be removed for easier cleaning.
Step 5: Check for efficiency
When you are finished cleaning, assemble the system back together and switch the power back on. Set the system to cool. After 10 minutes, check the outdoor tubes to be sure the system is properly cooling. The insulated tube should feel cool, and the non-insulated tube should feel warm.
Remember: While some savvy homeowners can get the job done, it’s still a good idea to have a professional periodically check your system. Cleaning your air conditioning unit will save you money this summer with lower cooling bills and prolonging the life of your system. Don’t let a dirty A/C ruin your warm months – Take Action!