Ensuring that your air conditioning unit is clean will extend its life and minimize maintenance. A clean AC unit will also cool the air more efficiently which helps to reduce your energy consumption. The majority of outdoor units are easily accessible, which will allow you to safely perform the cleaning and some maintenance yourself. It’s best to clean the outside unit twice a year; once at the beginning of summer and then again at the end of summer. Here are the simple and safest step-by-step instructions to clean your outside AC unit.
What You’ll Need:
- A replacement filter
- Garden hose
- Shop vacuum
Step 1-locate and remove the air conditioner filter (usually found on or near the air conditioner return duct).
Step 2-dispose of the old cardboard fiber and replace with a new filter. If the filter is reusable, rinse with a garden hose to remove dust and debris, allow to air dry and replace.
Step 3- turn off the power going to the air conditioner unit. This typically requires flipping the assigned breaker switch.
Step 4- using a screwdriver; remove the top access panel on the outside unit (the panel with the vent openings). Carefully set the panel aside to prevent damaging the fan wires or attached fan.
Steps 5-carefully examine the condenser coils on the inside of the unit for dirt, dust and debris. Using a shop vacuum, vacuum the debris from the coils, be careful to not bend the coils and fins.
Step 6-using a garden hose with zero to low pressure rinse the coils by spraying the water from inside out.
Step 7-use your hands to remove any leaves and other debris that is attached to the fan vents in the panel and use a damp rag to wipe the fan blades clean.
Step 8-screw the panel back in place on the unit. Turn the power back on the air conditioning unit.
The fins are sharp and cause scratches or cuts, so wear heavy gloves when you are cleaning the condenser coils. For the optimum results, you should change or clean the filter at least once every other month to reduce the amount of dirt and dust that reaches the condenser coils. If the fins on the condenser coils are bent, the air will not flow through them properly, so you should contact a local air conditioning repair company to fix the fins.