Cleaning Your Window AC in 6 Steps

May 7, 2022
Indoor air quality in Seattle, WA

The window AC is one of the simplest air conditioning systems you can have in your home. This devise is convenient for individuals who live in apartments or other dwellings that do not have a central HVAC system installed to effectively cool the entire property. Like the other types of air conditioners, a window unit needs regular maintenance to function effectively throughout its service life.

One of the ways to maintain the system is by cleaning it to get rid of any dirt. When the window AC is kept clean and properly maintained, it becomes more efficient, operates more quietly, and circulates healthier, cleaner air for you to breathe. Cleaning your window air conditioner will also help reduce the chances of mold and mildew growing on the inside of the unit. Here is how to clean your window AC clean in just six steps.

1. Get the Right Cleaning Materials

The first step toward cleaning the window AC is assembling the right cleaning materials. The cleaning soap or detergent for the unit should be mild, a safe solution for your skin and the environment. If you will be using hydrogen peroxide, it is important that you consider purchasing rubber gloves and eyewear for protection.

You will also require cleaning cloths to wipe the AC components, a screwdriver to open the panels, a spray bottle for the hydrogen peroxide, and one for the cleaning solution. Have a garden hose ready outside. In case you need to change the filter, ensure you have a new one handy. Once you have gathered all these materials, check that you have the AC manual to serve as a guide to the internal components of the device.

2. Disconnect the AC system From Power and Clean the Face Panel

Ensure the AC unit is powered off and unplug it from the circuit breaker before starting to clean it. If the window AC is located in a high-rise building it may not be possible to clean the outside panel with the device in place. At any rate, you should remove the unit from the window so as to clean the components comfortably. Using the screwdriver, open the face panel and spray the inside with a mild detergent solution.

Using strong solutions such as vinegar or bleach may lead to corrosion of the internal components of the AC. In case there are tougher stains on the internal components, use a soft brush to remove the dirt. Once the components have been cleaned, let the panel dry.

3. Clean the Air Filter

One of the key components of the window AC is the air filter. Its work is to remove any pollutants, debris, and dust from the air. A dirty air filter can cause the system to be ineffective in cleaning the air around the home. It is recommended that the air filter should be cleaned at a monthly interval, and it should be replaced after four months of continual use.

Using the manual, check on the location of the filter and see how to remove it. Once the filter is out of the system, use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the debris. Then, use warm water and mild soap to wash it gently. Ensure that the filter is dry before returning it to the system.

If your filter is old, you will have to replace it. If there are any challenges, do so with the help of a technician. Before replacing it, always check the manual to ensure that the size you have is correct and that it bears the same model number as that of your system.

4. Rid the Coils and Fins of Dust

To clean the AC fins and coils, remove the back of the unit that protects it from the elements and extreme weather. The system condenser coils always lie underneath this covering and will need to be sprayed with a mixture of soap and water in order to clean them. If the fins are not taken care of, they may encourage mold growth, which is not welcome in the system.

If the coils have any grime or dust on them, the detergent and water solution will help this to run off. Use a fin comb to clean the areas surrounding the fins and ensure that they are free of grime. You should exercise caution when cleaning the fins because they are quite delicate and quite sharp. You probably ought to wear protective gloves when cleaning the fins. Once you are done cleaning these components, leave the coils and fins to dry.

5. Clean the Drip Tray

The condensate drip pan is instrumental in collecting the moisture that drips off the evaporator coil of the AC system. This prevents water drips from damaging the AC system by directing them away from the unit. With continued use, slime is created on the surface of the drip tray due to the formation of algae and fungus on the pan’s surface.

With time, the slime buildup increases, causing the drain line to be clogged, hence preventing the condensation from flowing outside the home. Cleaning the drip tray will help get rid of the slime through a simple process. Start by lifting the access door to the coil and removing it so as to access the drip tray. In case it is locked in, remove the screws and lift the panel.

Once the panel is lifted, ensure that you put on gloves resistant to chemicals before spraying a coil cleaner that is aerosol-based on the surface of the drip tray. If you allow the drip tray to sit for a while, the slime will loosen and fall off of it. Scrub the drip tray using a brush. Finally, use a hose to flush out of the condensate drain and allow the drip tray to dry off.

6. Reassemble the Unit

In order to prevent the recurrence of mold and mildew in the system, spray hydrogen peroxide on the external components of the AC unit, especially in those areas where air flows. Let the components dry out for some time, and then start the process of reassembling the unit. Remember to use the manual in case you forget the sequence when putting the parts back together.

The window AC is a convenient device to have in your home to keep it cool. However, it needs regular maintenance for efficient performance. The most important part of the window AC that needs to be cleaned regularly is the filter, preferably once a month.

At Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer both cooling and heating repair, installation, and maintenance services as well as indoor air quality solutions. Our services also include duct cleaning, water heater repair, and a full range of electrical options. Our technicians and electricians are certified to provide quality results, and they have years of experience. If you are a resident of the Greater Seattle area and require home comfort expertise from outstanding professionals, call us today to learn more or arrange an appointment.

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