Keeping your air conditioning system clean can help maintain its efficiency levels and extend its useful life. If you have some extra time on your hands and would like to learn how to clean your air conditioning system, follow the instructions below.
Before you start, turn off the power to the indoor and outdoor units.
The Outdoor Unit
Cleaning the outdoor unit of your home’s air conditioning system is easy and straightforward. You can start by unscrewing the top lid to expose the fan and fins. Use a garden hose to clean any dirt and debris from the fins. If the dirt does not come off easily, use a commercially available cleaning spray designed for this specific task. Be sure to follow all the instructions on using the cleaning spray to avoid damaging the fragile fins.
Once you are done cleaning the inside of the outdoor unit, replace the lid. Take the time to clear and clean the surrounding area, where the unit is located. This may involve raking away leaves, and clearing vegetation growing too close to the unit. This will ensure that there is continuous airflow around the unit.
The Indoor Unit
Cleaning the indoor unit of
the air conditioning system tends to be more challenging; however, savvy home owners are more than capable of getting this done. You might need to remove the outer cover of the blower or furnace unit, as well as any foil duct tape used on it. This gives you access to the evaporator coils.
It is recommended that you use a commercially available no-rinse coil cleaner to clean the evaporator coils. The cleaner is designed to foam up and then drip down onto the drain pan on the unit. The main reason for using this cleaner is to avoid corroding the sensitive parts of the unit that may be caused by the use of other cleaning solutions.
Once you are done cleaning the evaporator coil, move on to the drain pan. A simple solution made using water, bleach and soap will help clear out any dirt, algae and mold on the drain pan. You can then rinse off the pan with a solution made of equal parts of water and bleach. This solution will also clean out the drain pipe.
If the cleaning solution does not drain from the drain pan fast enough, you might have a blocked drain pipe. This can be as a result of overgrown mold and algae, obstructing the pipe. Since this blockage poses a risk of flooding the unit in case of excess moisture dripping from the coils above, you will have to clear it.
To clear the drain pipe blockage, just attach a wet/dry vacuum to the opposite end of the pipe, the end draining water out, and turn it on for a few minutes; about three or four minutes.
Once the cleaning of the indoor furnace/heating unit is done, replace the cover and foil duct tape and switch the power back on.
Although you can clean most parts of the air conditioning unit on your own, it is recommended that you call in a qualified specialist to conduct a comprehensive cleaning job periodically.