Maybe you haven’t needed your air conditioner since the previous summer, or perhaps you’ve been noticing a musty smell coming from your air vents recently. Whatever your current relationship with your AC unit, cleanliness is an integral part of maintaining and caring for your cold air ally. Here is everything you need to know about air conditioner cleaning.
Why should I clean it?
Air conditioner maintenance is essential for ensuring that your air conditioning unit is functioning correctly. Whether you have a central air conditioner with an outside condenser or a small mini-split ductless air conditioner, cleanliness keeps your air cold. Dirt and debris are similar to an iceberg in the ocean. The amount of filth that is visible is just a fraction of the crud that lives inside your air conditioner unit.
How do I clean it?
First and foremost, turn off the power. For a mini-split unit, or a larger centralized system, locate your breaker box and flip off the main power switch that controls your air conditioning unit. Your air conditioner uses large amounts of electricity and contains a lot of conductive metal. Tampering with your air conditioner while there is live power flowing through it could be harmful, and even fatal.
Cleaning the outdoor condenser unit is an excellent first step in cleaning your air conditioner. The fan, grate, and condenser coils are all victim to being clogged with common elemental debris like dirt, leaves, dryer lint and grass.
A regular garden hose is a great tool to use to clean the fan and the condenser coils inside the condenser unit but avoid using a pressure washer. Remember, the condenser unit is designed to expel heat and water, so don’t be alarmed when you see the water leaking out the bottom of the unit.
After the outside unit is cleaned, it is time to move inside. In air conditioners of all sizes, there are a couple different “problem areas,” that tend to collect dirt and debris. First is the filter.
When it comes to how air conditioning works, the filter plays a very important role. Every air conditioner has a filter and chances are, yours needs to be cleaned or replaced. In mini-split ductless units, filters are removable and can be cleaned with soap and water. It is vital that you give the filter plenty of time to dry before you put it back into the unit.
In a central air conditioning system, the air filter is found either at the furnace filter cabinet; or at the return air filter grille inside the home. Filters made for centralized air are typically disposable and are easily replaced with a new filter that Simpson HVAC has in stock. Professionals recommend that your filter be changed between one and two times a year depending on how frequently you use the AC.
While you are inside the furnace unit, you should turn your attention to the evaporator coil. Due to its functionality, the evaporator coil is a magnet for dust, which clings to the dew left on the exterior of the coil. This build-up of debris can prevent the evaporator coil from properly cooling the air, potentially resulting in a significant malfunction. The evaporator coil should have a thorough cleaning at least once every three years, or even more frequent if you use the Air Conditioner constantly. It is highly recommended to hire a licensed HVAC contractor for a good coil cleaning.
Don’t forget the vents! The vents in each room of your house are responsible for expelling hot air and blowing cool air in are prime targets for dust. Any professional HVAC technician will tell you that clean vents help reduce the amount of debris that your filter has to contend with, helping keep your AC unit cleaner for longer.
When should I clean it?
Spring is typically the big push for air conditioner cleaning and maintenance. If you wait until summer, you could find yourself in a position where your air conditioner is broken and needs to be fixed, leaving you without cool air when you need it most.
Most professionals will tell you that a thorough cleaning should take place a month after you have stopped using the air conditioner unit for the summer, and a month before it typically gets hot in your area. This timeline gives you a buffer that allows you to properly maintain and care for your unit before and after the warm season.
Related: How Does Air Conditioning Work?
Keeping your air conditioner clean is the best way to keep your AC unit running smoothly. In addition to ensuring you have cold air at a moments notice, keeping your system clean will also ensure that you avoid breathing in nasty things like pollen, dust mites, and mold spores. This summer stay healthy and cool by keeping your air conditioner clean!
If you need to replace or fix your AC unit, contact us today to learn about our air conditioning replacement and AC repair services in Santa Rosa.