How do I clean my air conditioning unit?
- Category: AC / Heating Repair Question and Answer
Keeping your filter changed and your outdoor unit cleaned are the two MAJOR things that a homeowner can do to increase the life and efficiency of their air conditioning system. Cleaning your outdoor unit is simple and should be done 2-6 times per year depending on it's usage and amount of dirt/dust/cottonwood and other debris in your particular area. The most important thing is that IT GET DONE! Leaving the condenser coils dirty will cause numerous expensive repair and cause the system to operate at lower levels of efficiency. To clean it, turn the thermostat off. You do not want the unit running while you are cleaning it, make sure there are no electrical panels off, and take care not to spray water directly on the fan motor. Some brands of units are harder to clean than others. The A/C's with covered coils are a little more challenging and take more time to clean than the units that have exposed condenser coils. Use a hose with either thumb pressure or a nozzle with light-medium pressure. DO NOT EVER USE A POWER WASH TO CLEAN YOUR CONDENSER COILS. Condenser coils are fragile and laying them over with too-strong water pressure will damage the unit. Units with covered coils must be cleaned by holding the hose at an angle with the louvers and flushing each area until the water comes out clean and moving to the next area (DON'T FORGET TO CLEAN ALL SIDES!). Units with exposed coils can be cleaned by started at the top of the unit, at an angle, with the hose, moving the dirt down the side of the coil and being careful not to force the dirt INTO the coils, rather working it DOWN the coil. Regular cleaning will prevent the need of chemicals and cleaners to get the system clean. If you do not feel comfortable cleaning your system you may want to call your air conditioning company to come out and properly clean your system for you or show you how to do it.