As you pull your window air conditioner out to undergo another long hot summer season, it’s important that you take the time to clean up. Many homeowners skip over this step and end up with an inefficient window AC unit and skyrocketing energy bills. When you take the time to thoroughly clean out your window air conditioner and prep it for the summer, you can ensure that it’s operating efficiently to keep your energy bills to a minimum.
Start With Your Air Filter
You want to start by locating and removing the air conditioner’s air filter. For most window AC units, this filter is hidden behind the front panel or is easily accessible from the side of the unit. To clean the filter, you want to start by using a vacuum to get all the larger debris off of it. Next, use a mixture of warm and soapy water to remove dust and debris that is left on the filter.
It is absolutely imperative that you let your filter sit out and air dry before you put it back inside of your window AC unit. If you put the filter in your unit while it’s still damp, it can actually foster ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth within your air conditioner. This can allow mold spores to circulate throughout your home, which can be damaging to your respiratory health. It’s also crucial to note that you should be cleaning your filter at least once a month throughout the summer season.
Clean Its Exterior
After you set your air filter aside for air drying, you want to get a cloth and some warm water with a mild detergent. Wipe down the entire exterior of your air conditioning system. Pay special attention to any stuck-on dirt or debris. Realize that the more dust and debris that you remove from the exterior of your unit, the less you’re going to have to deal with inside of your home.
Straighten and Dust Its Fins and Coils
For this next step, you’re going to want to purchase a fin comb. You can pick these up at your local hardware store, and they’re going to be sold in different sizes. You’ll want to know the distance between each fin on your air conditioner. In some cases, this may be an inch of space, and in others, it may be a half-inch. Whatever the distance is will determine the size of fin comb that you’re going to need to purchase.
You’ll want to insert the fin comb into your AC unit and run it gently across your aluminum fins. This will help to straighten out any of the fins that have been damaged over time. It’s vital that all of your fins are adequately spaced as that’s where the heat is being dispersed to the outside of your home. If the fins are all bent, it’s going to be harder for your air conditioning system to adequately cold your home in an effective manner.
Once all of the fins are bent back into their original position, it’s time to clean them off as well as the coils. The best way to do this is to purchase a can of condensed air. Make sure that you have your air conditioner outside while you’re spraying the condensed air. This will allow the dust and debris to disperse to the air outside instead of keeping it inside of your home. Remember, if you’re uncomfortable with any step of this process, call a professional!
Clean the Drain and Drip Tray
Your window air conditioner will have a drip tray and a drain. During the air conditioning process, humidity from the air is removed via the evaporator coil. As the heat is transferred from the air going through the unit into the refrigerant inside the evaporator coil, moisture accumulates on top of the coil. The water will eventually run down the side of the evaporator coil and down into the drip tray. It will continue to run down the drip tray into the drain that is typically on the outside of the window unit.
Over time, moisture and airborne particles can accumulate inside the drip tray. You’ll want to remove the drip tray and give it a good scrubbing to get rid of any hard water scaling. Additionally, you’ll want to pour some distilled white vinegar through the drain itself. This will work to remove any hard water scaling that could be partially blocking the drain tube. Make sure that you give it a good 30 minutes, and then run some cold water through the drain tube to ensure that it is adequately clear. Make sure that you reinstall your drip tray.
Hydrogen Peroxide Is Always an Option
If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your window air conditioner, it may be packed full of a bunch of grime and debris. If soapy water isn’t adequately removing all of the build-up, you may want to consider using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. It’s typically easiest to put this in a spray bottle for application. Make sure that you wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and goggles to protect your eyes. You may need to spray the hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for a couple of minutes before you continue with your cleaner.
The Various Benefits of Cleaning Your Window AC Unit
Probably the biggest benefit that homeowners gain from cleaning their window air conditioning units is they enhance the quality of their indoor air. It’s easy to forget that airborne particles and other debris can get stuck inside your air conditioning unit as air flows through it. While your filter is good at removing some of these particles, there are still some left behind that can continue to deteriorate the quality of your indoor air. Taking the time to clean your window air conditioner will help to remove those nasty airborne particles and keep your indoor air clean.
Another great benefit of cleaning your window air conditioner is that you can make it more efficient. Not only will getting rid of the grime and debris inside of it allow it to operate more efficiently but straightening out the fins will do so as well. When the fins are in their original position, they’re able to adequately disperse heat in an effective manner.
Many people don’t realize that there’s mold growing inside of their window air conditioner until they start taking it apart. If you think about it for a minute, you’ve been breathing in mold spores the entire time mold has been growing inside of it. This can be damaging to your health. Cleaning your window AC on a regular basis helps to ensure that you catch mold growth early on so that it is less damaging to your health.
Lastly, when you take the time to thoroughly clean your window air conditioner units, it helps to extend their lifespan. It’s crucial to think of your window AC as similar to your car. It needs to undergo regular oil changes and other services to continue to work properly. Otherwise, its internal parts are going to prematurely deteriorate and end up causing the unit to fail well before the manufacturer’s suggested lifespan.
Expert AC Services
White Mechanical, Inc. provides expert AC services to the entire Foothill Ranch, CA community. We can also assist with all of your heating and commercial needs. Simply call us today to schedule your next service appointment.