Keeping your central air conditioning unit clean not only prolongs its life, but can also save you money on your energy bills because air flow is not obstructed. Follow the three-step guide below to give your air conditioner a thorough cleaning twice a year.
Step 1: Clear Any Growth Away From The Outside
The first step involves clearing away any grass or other plant growth from the outside of the AC unit. This not only keeps the plants from blocking the air vents, but it also reduces the amount dirt and pollen allowed to contaminate the condenser and motor.
Dig up any plant life growing around the base of the unit. By removing them from the roots, you can decrease the likelihood of having thick growth around the air conditioner.
As a precautionary measure, mulch the area to prevent seeds from sprouting. Mulching will also make it easier to remove anything that does come up, making your job easier the next time. Once you have removed all of the plant growth and mulched the area, go on to step two.
Step 2: Wipe Out The Vents
In this step, the outer vents of the air conditioner are wiped out to remove any dust, pollen, and debris. You will need a gallon bucket of warm water, grease-cutting dish detergent, two cleaning rags, and white distilled vinegar for this part of the job.
Mix a teaspoon of the dish detergent in with the water. Dip one of your rags in the soapy water and wring it out slightly. Wipe around the vents first, then inside the grooves.
If you encounter any stuck-on grime, pour a small amount of vinegar on the other rag and apply it to the area. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe it with the soapy water. The vinegar will cut through the dirt, enabling you to remove it.
After cleaning the outside of the air conditioner unit, go on to step three.
Step 3: Clean The Inside Of The Unit
Now that you have thoroughly cleaned the outer vents, it is time to work on the inside of the unit. For this step, make sure the power is off so the unit does not accidentally turn on while you are moving the parts inside. For added peace of mind, you may want to turn off the breaker that feeds the unit.
Once the power is off, remove the access panel located on the side of the unit. Check for any stray grass or leaves that may have come through the vents and clean them out.
Use a hand broom to carefully remove any dirt that has built up on the bottom of the air conditioner. Then, use the soapy water from the previous step to wipe off the fan blades and outer motor casing. Your rag should be wrung out as much as possible to prevent excess water from entering the electrical components of the unit.
After wiping the inside, leave the access panel off so the unit can air dry for about 15 minutes. Then, replace the panel and turn the power back on.
Once you have cleaned the inside of the unit, run the air conditioner for one cycle. This helps remove any dust or pollen that was stirred up during the cleaning process, trapping it inside the old filter. Then, replace the filter to complete the job.
During or after your cleaning, you could discover that your unit is not working as it should. If so, you may want to contact an HVAC professional that specializes in your unit's brand to diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs. To learn more about local HVAC services, visit http://www.perryheatingandcooling.com.