If your air conditioner is struggling to keep you cool on the warmer days in Spring, it probably needs a good clean to get ready for the sweltering summertime. If you have it on full and it still doesn’t cool things down and seems to be pushing out less air, then it definitely needs a clean and possibly a service by an air conditioning professional. There are a few things that could be going wrong, but cleaning it is probably the first step to rule out the need for a thorough clean. Keeping your unit clean maintains the air quality in your home, not to mention increasing energy efficiency and lowering your running costs. The family’s health is another factor since air conditioners catch dust and microbes, but if they’re not cleaned regularly they clog up and collect moisture and mould, which isn’t good for you or for your unit.
Many contemporary air conditioners can self-clean, nothing really does it better than a good old hands-on scrubbing off all the doobies and bits and bobs that become clogged up with dirt and dust. The following guide can help you clean your split-system air conditioner if you’ve never done it before. If you have a portable, vented, or window air conditioner this guide won’t apply.
Cleaning your split system unit isn’t all that difficult, and once you’ve done it, you have the confidence do it again:
Read the Instructions
Air conditions normally have a manual with instruction on cleaning the unit, with details about how to get to and clean the air filters and other maintainable parts. If you can’t locate the manual, many manufacturers have them on their websites for customers to download.
!TURN THE AIR CONDITIONER OFF BEFORE YOU START CLEANING!
Air Filters in the Indoor Unit
The filters in the indoor air conditioner unit need to be cleaned regularly. It’s simply a matter of popping the plastic cover open and taking the filter or filters out. The usual recommendation is to clean the filters every six or eight weeks, but it how often you use the unit will determine when to clean. In other words, the more you use it the more often it should be cleaned.
How to clean the filters:
- Remove the filters and shake them well or brush them.
- You can vacuum them to clean them more thoroughly but use the dusting attachment.
- You can wash the filters in warm water with a mild detergent if they’re dirty.
- Then rinse the filters clean
- Dry the filters thoroughly before replacing them in the unit.
Remove the louvres from the indoor and clean them with a dry cloth or vacuum them. Clean the space behind the louvres as well
The Outdoor Unit
You should also keep the air conditioning system’s outdoor compressor unit clean and clear of plants or grass; brush off any cobwebs, leaves and dust on a regular basis. You can also vacuum the air intake to keep dust at bay.
More Advanced Cleaning
If you’re confident enough you can also remove the housing from both the outdoor and indoor units to get to the condenser coils. It’s recommended that they’re kept clean, but the best advice here is to call in a professional air conditioner technician to do this job. Regular professional cleaners who maintain houses probably don’t do this kind of advanced cleaning of air conditioner units so a specialised techie is the answer. Cleaning these parts yourself, or using someone other than a qualified aircon professional could void your warranty, and you could damage components, releasing refrigerant gas – plus there’s the electrical safety hazard.
Service Your Air Conditioner Regularly
To keep your unit run n ing well for years, a professional air conditioner technician should be called in to service it regularly, to test the thermostat, make sure the system is in good working order and check its levels of refrigerant gas. Some manufacturers recommend an annual service, but if in doubt always check your model’s manual or call the manufacturer for advice.