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How to Clean an Air Conditioner

Stop for a second and consider this: Every single breath of air you take inside your home is sucked through an air conditioner first. It makes perfect sense to regularly and thoroughly clean your air conditioner. A dirty air conditioner can be a safe haven for allergens, bacteria, insects, rodent droppings and dust. Cleaning your air conditioner can improve its efficiency, reduce costs and purify the air in your home. By properly cleaning your air conditioner you will be ridding it of these contaminants and may be pleasantly surprised by a reduction in noise and odour and a better flow of cool air to your home. With regular cleaning and professional servicing, your air conditioner should live a long and healthy life.

When should you clean your air conditioner

It isn’t enough to wait until the problem is obvious. Don’t wait for a stale odour or the tell-tale signs of dust around the outlets or vents in your air conditioning system. You need to be proactive about cleaning your air conditioner and set aside a regular time to do it. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning the filters quarterly.

You should also clean your air conditioner even more regularly if you live on or in close proximity to a construction site, dirt road or quarry. You should also clean your air conditioner is there’s been an acute event such as high winds or a dust storm. Demolition works or a house fire in your area may also signal the need to clean your air conditioner because there may have been airborne asbestos particles which may have lodged in the filters of your air conditioner. You should consider wearing a face mask and old clothes when cleaning your air conditioner for these reasons.

Risks associated with DIY air con cleaning

Don’t expect to be able to fully clean and service your air conditioner yourself. Some jobs are best left to qualified professionals. As with any electrical appliance you should be aware that there are risks so you should always proceed with caution. You should disconnect the air conditioning unit from its power source before dismantling the unit. In that way, you much less likely to be on the receiving end of an electric shock or come into contact with a quiet fan that’s still in motion. Be aware that certain electrical components carry an electrical charge even when disconnected from a power source so you need to ensure that you don’t touch these components. You should also be particularly wary about moisture getting in to these areas. Remember, only a qualified electrician should carry out electrical repairs or access the electrical components on any appliance.

Another risk associated with cleaning your air conditioner is that if you go too far you may void your warranty. You should always refer to the manufacturer’s manual or instruction booklet for guidance as to what steps you can take to clean your air conditioner without voiding your warranty. If in doubt, it’s time to call a professional in.

Preparing to clean your air conditioner

If you decide to clean your air conditioner yourself, try to assemble your equipment first. That way you can complete the task without having to make multiple trips to collect what you need. You might need a ladder, vacuum cleaner, soft brush, dry cloth and a place to rinse and dry the filters.

You should protect the area adjacent to where you are cleaning your air conditioner with towels or newspaper. Because the process might generate dust and debris, consider covering nearby furniture with an old sheet or doona cover.

Try and set aside time to clean your air conditioner when small children or pets aren’t around. That way you won’t endanger them and can concentrate fully on the task at hand with a minimal disruption.

Getting down to the dirty business of sanitising your unit

If you have a ducted air conditioning system, the removable parts of the outlets or vents in the roof may be able to be washed by hand or even on the top rack of a dishwasher on its lowest heat setting. Check your manual for instructions. The ducting itself is much harder to access and should be cleaned and filters disinfected by a professional. Other parts of the air conditioner or air conditioning system may be more labour-intensive to clean. A ducted system located in your roof cavity might be much more difficult to access than a split system so you should consider enlisting the services of a professional to avoid the dangers associated with working at height.

If you have a split system, you should closely inspect the external unit for leaves, debris and cobwebs. These can generally be removed with a soft brush. Gently brush any debris away from the unit and not into the unit itself. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to do this.

In relation to the internal unit of a split system, you may need a ladder to access the unit. Open the front panel of the unit. From there you should be able to safely remove the filters. Once the filters are removed you can use a vacuum cleaner to gently clean the coil and remove any visible dust from inside the unit.

Carefully remove the vanes (these are the bits that control the direction of the airflow) at the front of the unit. There should be both vertical and horizontal vanes that can be moved. Check you manual for location of the catches that secure them in place. Vacuum behind them thoroughly. Clean the interior of the unit with a dry cloth.

Wash the filters under cool running water and allow them time to dry thoroughly before re-inserting them into the unit and returning the vanes to their original position and securing them in place.

Always check your instructions manual for instructions as to how to safely clean your air conditioner.

Got better things to do with your time? Crown Power can assist you with a regular service and provide useful tips on how to clean an air conditioner. Contact us today on 1300 85 11 86 and be blown away by our friendly, reliable and professional service.