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How To Clean An AC Unit

Table of Contents

Is your cooling system prepared to keep you comfortable this year? Will your air conditioner be performing efficiently?

You may not know that dirt and debris can collect on and clog the outdoor condenser coil over time. Doing so can cause a number of issues, some of which include overworking the system, running up your electric bill, warm air coming out of the vents, and air conditioner breakdown altogether. Debris build-up on the outdoor system could lead to service and costly chemicals to clean air conditioners

One precaution you can take to help yield better operation and efficiency of your system is to consider washing your central air conditioner. Watch the video below to see Craig, one of the Logan Services experts show you how to wash your air conditioner to keep it running efficiently.

Turn OFF The Power To The Central AC Unit

Set your central ac cooling mode to OFF on your thermostat or turn off the power source at the indoor breaker box or outdoor fuse box.

Remove Large Debris From The Unit

Locate any collection of leaves, grass clippings, branches, weeds, etc. that are removable by hand and pull and brush them off the outdoor unit.

Spray Down The Air Conditioner

Find a hose with adjustable pressure. Use a low-medium pressure or the shower feature and, starting from top to bottom, gently rinse the coil. Try spraying at different angles to remove anything that may be caught in the coil. NOTEDO NOT use a power washer or high-pressure hose attachment as the high water pressure can bend/damage the delicate fins on the coil. Use an air conditioner fin comb to gently clean off the fins.

Turn The A/C Back ON

Air conditioners don’t need to be completely dry; turn it back on shortly after rinsing.

Now that you’ve done your part to clean off the cooling system, you should also check your furnace filter to see if it is time to clean or change that as well. These simple maintenance tips can help allow your air conditioner to keep you comfortable throughout the rest of the season.

Need service or maintenance on your air conditioner? Contact our team today or check out our service and maintenance coupons!

Do you have a window ac unit? Follow the guidelines below for some best practices across the industry for specifically cleaning your window air conditioner.

How to Clean a Window AC Unit:

Regular cleaning of your window air conditioning unit is essential for maintaining its efficiency and prolonging its lifespan. Cleaning the evaporator coils, condenser coils, and cooling fins helps ensure optimal performance and prevents clogs that can lead to a decrease in cooling capacity. In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean an AC unit.

Tools and Materials Required

  • A/C coil cleaner
  • Electric motor oil
  • Household cleaner
  • Fin comb
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Nylon-bristle brush
  • Leather gloves
  • Rag

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Remove the AC unit: If you have a window AC unit, start by removing the plastic filter holder/trim panel. Then, carefully remove the unit from the window or slide it out of the wall. It’s recommended to have assistance as AC units can be heavy.

Straighten the cooling fins: Use a fin comb that matches the fin spacing on your AC unit’s coils. Insert the fin comb and gently pull up to straighten any bent cooling fins. This step helps to improve airflow and maximize cooling efficiency. Remember to wear leather gloves to protect your hands from cuts.

Vacuum visible buildup: Before applying any cleaner, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any visible buildup from both the evaporator and condenser coils. This will help prepare the surfaces for deeper cleaning.

Apply coil cleaner: Purchase an A/C coil cleaner from a hardware store. Follow the instructions on the cleaner can and apply it to the surface of both the evaporator and condenser coils. Allow the foam to work on the buildup. If the buildup is heavy, you can use a nylon-bristle brush to gently brush in the direction of the fins. Be cautious not to damage the fins.

Clean the fan blades: While the foam cleaner is working on the coils, clean the fan blades using a household cleaner and a rag. Remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the blades. If your fan motor has oiling ports with plastic or rubber caps, remove the caps, and apply a few drops of electric motor oil using an appropriate oiler. This helps keep the fan motor running smoothly.

Wash or replace the air filter: Remove the air filter and wash it with mild soap and water. Allow it to dry completely before reinstalling it. If the filter is damaged or excessively dirty, consider replacing it with a new one. A clean air filter improves the efficiency of the AC unit and helps maintain good indoor air quality.

Reinstall the unit: After completing the cleaning process, carefully reinstall the AC unit back into the window or wall. Ensure it is properly secured and aligned for optimal performance. Test the unit to see if it’s blowing cool air and operating efficiently. If you encounter any issues, it may be necessary to consult a professional or consider replacing the unit.

Cleaning your window AC unit on a regular basis is an important maintenance task that can significantly improve its efficiency and lifespan. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined above, you can effectively clean your AC unit and ensure optimal cooling performance. Remember to prioritize safety, wear protective gloves, and consult a professional if you encounter any difficulties or issues during the cleaning process.


Why is it important to clean my AC unit?

Cleaning your AC unit is important for several reasons. It helps maintain its efficiency by keeping the airflow unrestricted, improves indoor air quality by reducing dust and allergens, extends the lifespan of the unit, and prevents potential issues caused by dirt buildup, such as reduced cooling capacity and increased energy consumption.

How often should I clean my AC unit?

The frequency of cleaning your AC unit depends on various factors such as the environment, usage, and the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a general guideline, it’s recommended to clean the AC unit at least once a year. However, if you live in a dusty area or notice a decrease in performance, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

Can I use household cleaning products to clean my AC unit?

It’s generally recommended to avoid using household cleaning products on your AC unit, especially on sensitive components like coils and fins. These products may contain chemicals that can damage the unit. Instead, use a mild detergent or specialized coil cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

Can I clean the evaporator coils myself?

Cleaning the evaporator coils requires careful handling as they are delicate. If you are comfortable doing it yourself and can access the coils easily, you can clean them using a soft brush or a fin comb to remove dust and dirt. However, if you are unsure or the coils are difficult to reach, it’s best to seek professional assistance.

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