In this day and age, a life without an air conditioner, especially during those warm summer months, seems unimaginable. These units are what make your home a safe-haven, protected from the blazing heat outside.
However, if you want your AC to run smoothly for a long time, you need to maintain it regularly. This will save you money on energy but also on costly replacements. The best time for this checkup is right before summer when you’ll be using it pretty much all the time.
The Internal Workings of AC
The air conditioner consists of two main parts and for it to work properly, these separate units need to work as one. Inside, you will find things like evaporator and condenser coils as well as cooling fins. These are the parts that need to be cleaned properly for you to have a cool and relaxing household. Before you start dismantling the unit, you have to know what tools and materials you’re going to need during this procedure. Don’t worry, all of these are pretty standard household items and you won’t have to make an unplanned trip to the store.
Now, once you collect all these items, you can start with the cleaning process. The 6 simple steps below will show you how to clean the AC and get ready for the summer. The procedure will take some time but overall, you will manage to save some money by doing it yourself and not calling a handyman.
6-Step Cleaning Procedure
1. Shut the Power Off
Every time you work electric house appliances or anything connected to the electrical grid, there is a certain danger involved. So, it is necessary to turn off your AC unit completely. The box should be located on the exterior condenser/compressor, but after that’s done, make sure you also shut the power off at the breaker box.
2. Remove the Debris
By using a screwdriver, remove the plastic panel. After that, you need to detach the unit from the window or if it’s connected to the wall, slide it out. You should know, they can be rather heavy, so having some to give you a hand during this part of the procedure wouldn’t be a bad idea. Now you need to clean the panel. You can remove some of the debris like leaves, twigs, or seeds by hand or you can use a wet/dry vacuum.
3. Clean the Fins and AC Coils
There is nothing complicated about cleaning the condenser coils. However, with this useful guide, you’ll know how to clean the AC coils yourself. As we already mentioned you will need a special coil cleaning solution and all you have to do is follow the instructions that come with it. You will have to mix it up or dilute it and then spray it on the coils. After just a couple of minutes, it will start to foam and all you have to do is simply wash it off with water. Also, be aware that this spray is for outdoor coils only.
4. Comb the Fins
For AC to maintain a high level of efficiency, you need to straighten the fins. The most practical way to do this is by using a fin comb which you can buy almost every store and is pretty inexpensive. You can also use the butter knife, but be careful not to damage the tubing located within them.
5. Service the Fan Motor
Use the household cleaner and a rag to clean the fan blades. Use a few drops of electric motor oil on plastic or rubber-capped oiling ports. In the end, wash or replace the air filter.
6. Leveling the Unite and Clearing the Space Around It
Put back the fan cage and make sure the space around the unit is clear. For it to work properly, it needs optimal airflow from all directions for at least 2 feet. If the unit is not leveled, which sometimes happens due to the settled dirt, it can cause significant damage and lead to costly repairs.
As you could see, the procedure in itself is not overly complicated, but it will take a huge chunk of your time. However, the bottom line is that this is something you can get done yourself, without the need to call maintenance service. All the tools you will need, you probably already have in your home while the fin combs and cleaning sprays are available in stores at more than reasonable prices. Do this regularly, especially before the summer kicks in, and you will have an operational AC unit for many years to come.