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If you are new to the world of indoor cooling, you may wonder what is central air, and how to clean an air conditioner as part of regular maintenance. Even the best air conditioners, after all, become dirty after prolonged use. So how do you go about cleaning a central AC unit?
This process differs from model to model, much like when learning how to clean a portable air conditioner. Keeping your AC clean and maintained goes a long way toward minimizing damage, so you won’t have to fix a central AC not blowing cold air, among other issues.
With a central unit, regular maintenance should include cleaning the outdoor condenser coils and making sure there’s no restriction in any of the ducts to ensure maximum efficiency. If you have a room AC, however, check out our article on cleaning a window AC.
Additionally, shop vacuum systems should be used to clean the registers and return grilles as part of a routine maintenance program. This will keep dust and dirt particles from entering the system.
When dealing with an air conditioner’s electrical components, it’s important to stay cautious. Before accessing any parts, be sure to turn off the power at the breaker box. Additionally, keep in mind that the fan motor and wiring may still have live electrical currents, even when the power is turned off.
Always use caution when removing the access panel to avoid damaging any wires or other components. Proper airflow is crucial for an air conditioner to function correctly, so regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter is necessary. High humidity levels can cause excess moisture buildup in the unit, leading to corrosion or electrical issues. Finally, it’s important to monitor temperatures to ensure the AC is functioning properly and not overheating.
Exercise extreme caution before cleaning the unit to be sure it is sufficiently cut off from power.
STAT: Air conditioner units consist of a condenser (which itself contains the compressor, cooling tubes, and a fan), an evaporator (the large internal unit which cools the air), tubes to drain moisture from the dehumidified air, and a fan to blow the cool air out into the house or apartment. (source)
Should you clean AC coils?
Cleaning evaporator coils is a crucial part of the process for some AC units, but for others, you should wait for a professional before tackling those evaporator coils. Discuss the specifics of your air conditioner unit with a pro.
How do you clean the outside AC unit?
Use a garden hose or a pressure washer on low power, taking care to follow the above steps.
Does spraying water on my air conditioner help it run more efficiently?
Yes, spraying the condenser fins can help with the efficiency of your outdoor unit, but it really depends on the make and model and the specifics of regular cleaning methods.