Cleaning Air Conditioner Unit

Many air conditioner systems are heavily used during the beginning of the year and for good reason! January and February is the hottest period of time in Australia, with Sydney-siders experiencing soaring temperatures, dangerously high UV levels, and high humidity.

However, with high use comes needing more maintenance. Although many newer commercial buildings use ducted or central air conditioner systems that will need an HVAC professional to service, a lot of smaller or older structures have split air conditioner systems that can be cleaned and maintained by yourself.

Make sure that you can remain cool as a cucumber until the weather cools with a clean, smooth-running air conditioner system by following our handy guide below.

Cleaning The Outdoor Unit

If the outdoor unit, or the condenser unit, of your air conditioner is located on the ground or can be safely reached with a standard household ladder, then you can safely clean it yourself. Otherwise, if the outdoor unit is fitted high above the ground, we advise that you call an HVAC professional to get the job done.

For safety reasons, turn off the main power supply to the air conditioner before you start the cleaning process!

Step 1: Remove Dust from the Fins and Fan Blades

Because the condenser unit is located outside, the condenser fins can become caked with dust over time. This will restrict airflow, making it harder for your air-conditioner to cool your space down effectively.

To remove dust from the fins and the fan blades, unscrew and remove the outer panels of the unit. Some models may contain a separate covering over the fan blades. which will also need to be removed for a thorough clean.

Once the panel(s) have been removed, use a soft brush to gently knock dust off from the fins and the fan blades. Avoid using excess pressure as this may bend the fins.

Remove any debris collected at the bottom of the unit.

Step 2: Wash with a Water Hose

Using minimal water pressure to spray down the fins is the most effective way to clean them thoroughly. To do this, hold the water hose inside the unit and spray the fins to push the debris outward. If the fins are just dusty, plain water will be enough. If they are heavily soiled, a foam condenser cleaning product can remove grime efficiently.

To clean the fan blades, dampen a clean cloth and wipe them thoroughly.

Soak up and wipe dry any dirty water collected at the bottom of the unit.

Step 3: Dust off the Electrical Unit

There is wiring in the electrical unit of the condenser that must not be disconnected or tugged as it may cause a loose connection. There is also not much to clean inside the electrical unit as it is usually securely concealed within the condenser unit. The only cleaning it might need is to brush off any dust that might have collected on its surface. A soft brush, dusting cloth, or feather duster can get this job done safely and easily.

Step 4: Scrub Down the Panels

Cleaning the outdoor unit won’t be complete without scrubbing down the outside panels of the condenser unit. As these panels protect all the delicate inner parts of the unit, it sees a lot of dust, debris, and nasty stains.

First, brush off any dust or dirt. Next, hose them down and scrub away grime using some dishwashing detergent and a sponge, paying close attention to edges or ridges. For stubborn stains, soaking the stains with glass cleaner for 10 minutes usually does the trick!

Before screwing the panels back on, soak up excess water with a towel to allow the interior to dry up quickly.

Cleaning The Indoor Unit

When most people think about cleaning indoor air conditioner units, they usually only consider cleaning the filters. Even though keeping your filters clean is extremely important, there is more to be done when it comes to maintaining the overall functioning of your indoor unit.

Step 1: Remove and Clean Air Filters

To remove the air filters and clean inside the unit, take off the front panel or open it by lifting it up (depending on the model). Once the filters have been removed, clean the filters with a vacuum cleaner or gently clean them under running water. Be sure to clean both sides of the filters thoroughly.

Step 2: Clean Off the Evaporator Coils

There are plenty of commercial products on the market to help you clean the air conditioner’s evaporator coils quickly and efficiently. However, however, if yours aren’t too soiled, a mild solution of soap and water will be enough.

Begin by knocking off dust with a coil brush, then apply your homemade cleaning solution with a spray bottle, or the commercial product as per the label’s instructions. After a few minutes of sitting time, dampen a clean cloth to wipe the coils down. Make sure to get all the grime off!

Step 3: Clean Out the Drain Pipe

Sometimes blockages can occur in the drain tube, causing havoc to the functioning of the unit. To clear your unit’s drain tube, use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to suck out any existing dirt and debris from the drain tube by placing the hose of the vacuum just inside the tube (or vice versa). Keep it running while holding the pipe firmly in place for about two minutes.

Step 4: Dust Out Remnants of Debris from Inside

Carefully dust the interior of your indoor unit with a feather duster. Any stubborn grime can be removed with a clean damp cloth. Finish it off by wiping the front panel and remaining exterior of the unit before putting the (now dry) filters back in and closing up your air-conditioner unit.

A computer is like air conditioner – it becomes useless when you open Windows.

Linus Torvalds

After you have cleaned your air conditioner’s indoor and outdoor units, it’s time to test it! Turn the main power supply back on, and keep your AC system on for a good half hour. In this time, observe the level of cooling, and check for unfamiliar smells and sounds. If you discover anything unusual, turn your AC off and contact a local HVAC technician to have it checked for any problems.

Regardless of if you decide to clean your air conditioner yourself or opt to call in a professional cleaner for the job, it is critically important to do this at least once a year. This will help keep your air conditioning systems in tiptop condition for years to come, keeping you cool and refreshed all summer long!