February 23, 2022
How to Clean Your Air Conditioner and Stay Cool This Summer
Have you noticed your integral central air conditioning unit working harder these days? It’s time to give it some attention in the cleaning department. Keep in mind that an air conditioner stays outside, exposed to the elements, leaves, dust, bugs, etc. That’s why it’s essential to clean your air conditioner.
We recommend that you fully clean your air conditioner at least once per year. You should clean it thoroughly at the start of spring to get rid of accumulated dirt and grime. And just as fall nears its end, give your AC a minor touch-up to keep it clean during winter. Why is it important to clean your AC, you may ask. Well, you will ensure your AC runs as efficiently as possible, which, in turn, lowers your utility bills. Additionally, an efficiently running AC does not overwork, which means parts will not wear down quickly.
While being vital, cleaning your AC can be a daunting task. It isn’t as easy as wiping your floor, cleaning your bathroom, or dusting your living room. It’s a more involved task. If you’re interested in professional AC cleaning, make an appointment with Furnace Repair Calgary today!
However, if you want to DIY your way to an efficiently running AC, here is a trusted step-by-step guide to clean your Air Conditioner.
Related: MERV Rating Explained
Turn off Your AC
Shutting down your AC is the first and most crucial step to take. A typical AC uses a high voltage power supply running at 220 or 240-volts. It can be pretty dangerous if you’re not careful.
To cut power from your AC, start by turning it off at the thermostat. The second step is to go to the circuit breaker box and turn off the breaker connecting to your AC outlet. Shutting down the AC at the circuit breaker ensures no electricity flows to your AC. And it is safe to open up.
Open AC Unit
Your AC should be closed up pretty well to protect its components from the elements. To this end, open the door on your outdoor AC blower, giving you access to the evaporator coils. With some AC make and models, you need to remove the foil duct tape before unscrewing the screws that secure the door in place.
Please note that opening doing this yourself may void your warranty. Only proceed if you’ve confirmed that opening this part of your AC will not void your warranty.
Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Coils: Three Alternatives
AC evaporator coils are responsible for the actual cooling you experience in your home. Typically, the coils consist of copper. They absorb the heat inside your home and produce the cool that the AC supplies into your home’s ductwork.
Evaporator coils are an essential component of the evaporation process. Water condenses on the evaporator coil during humid conditions, extracting moisture from your home. This component plays a vital role in keeping the coils clean. Dirty coils can consume 30% more energy compared to clean coils.
After opening the unit’s door, you can access the evaporator coils. There are different ways you can clean the AC coils. We’ll discuss all of the options you have. It would help if you also had the following tools:
– Coil cleaner spray (readily available at many hardware stores)
– Warm water and dish soap
– A soft brush to dust off coils
– Compressed air for the harder-to-reach crevasses
Evaporator Coil Cleaning Option #1: Using Brush Cleaning
If your Ac’s evaporator coils are relatively clean, you can opt to use a soft brush for the cleaning process. Ensure you use a soft-bristled brush that doesn’t scratch the coils. However, the bristles should be firm enough to extract any grime and debris that’s stuck in the coils.
Use a back-and-forth motion to remove all the dirt and debris until it’s clean.
Evaporator Coil Cleaning Option #2: Air Compressor Cleaning
You can remove dirt and debris from the evaporator coils with an air compressor. The powerful compressed air is effective yet safe. Direct the air compressor nozzle from the clean side to the dirty side. Additionally, ensure you maintain consistent air pressure for the compressed air to be adequate.
Ensure you wear eye protection.
Evaporator Coil Cleaning Option #3: Warm Water and Detergent
A mixture of standard dish soap and warm water will work well to remove grime from your coil. Add the detergent-warm water to a spray bottle and then apply it to your coils.
Let the mixture sit for a little while before scrubbing the grime. Giving the solution some time to settle allows it to break up the debris. After scouring the grime, rinse any soapy water that remains.
After cleaning the coils, it’s time to tackle the rest of the AC.
Inspect the Drain Plug
The drain plug allows the air conditioner to dehumidify your home during humid days. Without regular cleaning, it clogs up from mould and algae growth.
Most modern AC units come with a sensor to detect any clog. As such, they shut down until the clog is cleared, thereby protecting your AC. However, older AC will continue to operate, causing water to drip through the ceiling and vents as the water has nowhere else to go. If you have water dripping from your vents ceiling, you should immediately turn your AC off and call an HVAC technician.
To unclog a drain plug:
- Locate the drip pan at the bottom of the AC.
- Slide it out and extract the water using a wet/dry vacuum.
- If you have access to a compressor, use it instead.
It’s more powerful and effective.
If the air compressor cannot force the debris from the drip pan, it’s time to call professional help.
Clean The Area Around Your Air Conditioning Unit
Hose down the dirt and cobwebs outside of the unit. Dirt, grime, cobwebs, anything that attaches to the AC unit might obstruct airflow, causing your AC to work inefficiently.
Remember to inspect around the base of the AC unit. Dirt can settle underneath the unit, lifting a part of the unit. An unlevel AC can cause damage, resulting in expensive repairs down the road.
Replace Your AC Filters
The final cleaning AC task is to replace the filter. You should replace these filters every three months, especially if your dog sheds a lot.
If you have a ductless mini-split AC, you can vacuum its filter and soak it to remove debris.
Clean Your Air Conditioner Today
It would help if you were diligent about cleaning your AC twice a year. Otherwise, the dirt and grime that find their way into the AC system will damage the unit, causing costly repairs and reducing the life expectancy.
If you have skipped the cleaning task and the dirt and grime in the AC are bad, consider calling an HVAC professional to give it a proper cleaning.For professional AC maintenance and cleaning, contact Furnace Repair Calgary today.