Keep It Cool And Breezy: AC Spring Cleaning

Posted on: 6 January 2015

Are you gearing up for your annual spring cleaning? Are you prepping to clean those gutters and spruce up your lawn? If so, don't forget that you also need to clean out your air conditioner. Just a few hours of cleaning can help you stay cool and save money—two things you will really appreciate in the heat of the summer. 

How Can You Prepare?

There are two main parts of the air conditioner: the condenser (or the outdoor unit), and the evaporator (or the indoor unit). Both of these will need to be cleaned. Pick a day that is clear and warm. In order to best test the machine after cleaning, it should be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Before you start, make sure that you have allotted yourself a few hours for the cleaning. Ensure that your AC is off. If you need to, shut off the central power that feeds to the machine.

Start with the Condenser Fins

If you look around your condenser, you will see some thin, metallic fins. These act as the vents through which the central fan sucks air. This means that all the dirt and debris in the air and the surrounding area gets sucked in as well and gets stuck on these fins. If your air conditioner isn't running efficiently, this mess will be the main culprit. Clean them well but carefully, because they break easily. This requires a soft brush or vacuum. If some of the fins are bent, you can straighten them with some fin combs. These can be bought at any appliance store.

After you've vacuumed the fins, gently hose them off, and (if there is a place to do so) lubricate them with a few drops of oil. You're now ready to turn the unit back on! Wait a few minutes, and then feel the coolant tubes to make sure that it's working.

Cleaning the Evaporator

Usually the main evaporator is inaccessible to you, but if you can get to the coil, you should vacuum the bottom, just like you did with the condenser fins. The main thing you can do to keep the evaporator clean is cleaning the filter. Turn off the power, and then replace the filter. There is also a tube where condensation drains. You will need to check to make sure it is not clogged with mud or mold.

When to Hire a Professional

Every few years, you will need to hire a professional as part of this spring cleaning. He or she will be the only one who can

  • Check the coolant level.
  • Clean the main evaporator.
  • Check the electrical a professional. 

By cleaning your air conditioner yourself, not only will you be saving money on hiring an air conditioning repair professional, but you will also be saving money on your electrical bill.


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