DIY: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner for Improved Performance

September 20, 2023

DIY: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner for Improved Performance

As air passes through your Columbus HVAC system, dirt, dust, pollen, animal dander, and more is deposited inside. Keeping your A/C clean improves efficiency as well as the quality of your indoor air. Cleaning your air conditioner isn’t as hard as you might think, so keep reading for step-by-step instructions for this weekend’s DIY task.

Clean The Area Around Both Units

Split central air conditioning systems have an evaporator indoors, usually located near your furnace, and a condenser outdoors. The space out to three feet around both your indoor and outdoor units should be clear of clutter and debris. Avoid storing items around your indoor HVAC unit, as they could block air flow or fall and damage the system. Check that landscaping and other growth is well away from the outdoor component and that the concrete slab on which it rests is in good repair. While planting shrubbery or trees around your condenser is an appealing and natural way to hide it from view, make sure to clean the area regularly to prevent leaves, twigs, and other debris from accumulating.

Clean the Evaporator

Check and replace your air filter if necessary. This filter keeps particles from entering your forced air system and should be replaced every three months. Turn off the power to your HVAC system and remove the access panels with a screwdriver. Wipe or vacuum away dust carefully. Your evaporator should have a plastic drain tube to channel condensation away from your air conditioner. Pull this tube away from its port and check that both are clean and free of mold or algae. If the tube and port are clean, replace the tube. If not, clean out the port with a rag and a pipe cleaner. Pour a solution of bleach and water down the tube to flush it before replacing it in the port, then replace the access panel and switch the power back on.

Clean the Condenser

Turn off the power to your outdoor unit before cleaning it. Vacuum or use a long-bristled brush to remove any dust and debris from the exterior fins, but be careful-these fins can be sharp! If any fins are bent or damaged, you can straighten them with the tip of a butter knife, taking care not to inset the knife deeper than half an inch. Next, unscrew and remove the grille at the top of the condenser. Remove any debris and wipe down the fan with a soft cloth. You can also use a hose to spray down the inside of your condenser, spraying from the inside out to avoid pushing any dirt further into the unit. Then replace the fan and restore power to your air conditioner.

Cleaning your air conditioner just once a year will result in better performance, cooler temperatures, and lower energy bills. You can find more tips for maintaining your Columbus HVAC system in summer and winter on our Learning Center page. Visit our website to contact an HVAC expert for speedy and effective repairs or installation in Columbus, Ohio.

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Last Updated: May 22, 2024