Tips & How To’s

How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner Like A Pro

Tim Parry


How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner

Keeping your air conditioner clean is a no-brainer. You have to clean your window air conditioner unit as regularly as possible to keep it in perfect working order. Additionally, cleaning your air conditioner unit is crucial as it reduces the need for making repairs. In this article, we have explained how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it.

What Is A Window Air Conditioner?

If you live in a high-rise building, chances are, there is a window AC unit in one of the windows. A window air conditioner is one of the simplest types of air conditioning units. This significantly heavy unit consists of all the components of a standard air conditioner. Furthermore, window ac units come in handy if the regular central AC isn't sufficient.

Based on its weight, you can tell the capacity of your window air conditioner. Most window air conditioners are made for large spaces. A window unit does not draw ventilation from outside. Instead, it deposits hot air outside and leaves cold air as a replacement. As the window unit continues to function, it gathers dust, mildew and mold.

As time goes on, you will need to give the AC unit a deeper clean at regular intervals. The older a window air conditioner gets, the more care it needs. Additionally, their size makes it almost impossible to remove from the window frame once they are set. This makes them the perfect spot for breeding mold and other potential health risks.

If it has been a while since you last cleaned your air conditioners, you should try and get to it. However, if it proves difficult, you can also call a professional cleaner to help remove debris and prevent mold. In addition, there are ways to diagnose whether your window units require cleaning. We have come up with additional information as you go through this article.

How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner

Before you begin, you should know the different essential parts of a window air conditioner. Some parts are removable, and others are not. Not unless you are a professional. However, there are safe ways to clean your air conditioner at home. Here are some step-by-step methods and some of the cleaning tips that we found were helpful for an AC unit deep clean.

1) Disconnection

If possible, turn off your window air conditioner. As you might already know, working on an AC that is on can present health risks to you and damage the air conditioner as well. Furthermore, you should always aim to avoid electrocution when working on your air conditioner. Again, turning it off or switching off the main switch should do the trick.

2) Cleaning The Air Filter

Depending on the model of your window air conditioner, your air filter might be easy to remove, or you might require a screwdriver to remove it safely. You should then use a hand vacuum to remove any debris and dust. Next, using warm soapy water and a soft-bristle brush, you can gently clean the filter. Let the filter dry. It would be preferable to air-dry the filter.

3) Clean The Coils And Fins

Coils and fins are very delicate. Start by gently cleaning the evaporator coils and cooling fins first. Next, you can clean them using a toothbrush, coil cleaner or a soft brush attachment. You should be extra careful not to damage these parts in any way. Bending them is also out of the question. An evaporator coil makes a room cooler. You can then use compressed air from a hand vacuum to remove any more dirt.

4) Cleaning The Fins

The fins are very delicate. Bent fins could lead to a spoilt AC unit. Using warm water, with dish soap or a mild detergent mixed in, you can gently spray water all over the interior. Be extra careful not to use the full force of the spray bottle directly on the fins. This could damage them. Lastly, you can gently comb through the fins using a fin comb. A fin comb will remove more dust buildup.

5) Cleaning the Grill

The grill usually gets the most dirt on it. You can easily remove it and soak it in warm soapy water with a cleaning solution like dish detergent or a general household cleaner. Using a rag, you can then remove any visible dirt. After that, you can proceed to air dry it. If your grill is not detachable, do not pry it out using force. A damp cloth or a wet cloth should also do the trick.

5) Prevention Measures

Suppose you have suffered from mold and mildew accumulation in your air conditioner unit before you can prevent it from happening again. In a spray bottle, dilute a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in water and spray all over the interior of the air conditioning unit. A homemade spray cleaner like this prevents any mildew from forming again.

6) Drying And Re-assembly

After letting all the components completely dry, you can begin to re-assemble the unit piece by piece. If you get stuck when assembling, you can always consult the user manual. Furthermore, a clean air conditioner circulates cleaner air. With no debris and dust clogging its parts, an air conditioner uses less energy and becomes more energy efficient.

Signs Your Window AC Needs Cleaning

Before you get to place a service call, there are a few signs that your air conditioner needs to be cleaned. Many parts of an air conditioner are usually out of sight, and that makes them hard to clean. However, a user manual should let you know how to go about it. At first glance, there are a few signs that your unit needs to be cleaned. They are:

a) Mold And Mildew

If mold is clearly visible to the naked eye on the front panel, then it means there is more inside the unit. Mold is harmful, and the fan blades aided by the fan motor are probably circulating spores all over your house. A colony of mold should probably tell you that it is time for a thorough cleanse and disinfection with hydrogen peroxide.

b) Dust Buildup On The Filter

You should probably clean your filter monthly or every three months. However, if there is dust buildup in the filter, this means the unit is not going to be fully functional. On the other hand, a well taken care of unit can last over a decade. However, a dirty air filter could pose a risk for anyone suffering from allergies to dust and pollen.

c) Weird Smells

The drain pan or drain hole can also get clogged up with mold. This causes the mold to release a strong and severely pungent smell. The worst part is, the smell will engulf your whole house. Furthermore, the smell will attract other small insects such as lizards. As soon as your notice a pungent smell, it might be time to do a deep cleanse.

d) The Unit Is Noisy

If you hear your unit huffing and puffing or making weird noises, then it is an indication that your unit needs cleaning. When dust, grime, and debris accumulate in your AC, all the functions are slowed down. This places a heavy load on your AC, and the unit starts to become noisy. As a result, it will not function at total capacity.

Additionally, after cleaning your AC, you should let all the components dry entirely. If not, they attract mold, which slows down the AC.

Materials You Will Need

If you want to clean your conditioner unit yourself, there are materials that you will need. However, they are easy to get as well. Additionally, you should ensure not to touch hydrogen peroxide with your bare hands or let it get in touch with any clothing. It has strong bleaching properties and will bleach your clothes.

  • Protective gloves
  • Water (warm water is preferred)
  • Cleaning agent (soap or mild cleaning detergent)
  • Cleaning cloth
  • A drip tray to catch any dripping water
  • Spray bottle
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Soft bristle brushes
  • Compressed air (hand vacuum cleaner)
  • Screwdriver (for AC parts that are screwed in)

Bottom Line

In conclusion, window air conditioners are a good investment because they last longer. However, they need a thorough cleaning every three months to remove any blockages and keep them in good working condition. A clean AC with a clean filter will leave you with fresher air and run more quietly. If you don't want to clean the AC yourself, you can always call a professional.

In hindsight, you might have to call a professional if it gets too tasking for you. However, it would help if you always sprayed a hydrogen peroxide mixture. In the cold months, it is essential that you remove it and store it inside. Then, you can put it back on the window if you require it again. Either way, basic cleaning and dusting should also help keep your unit fully functional.

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Tim Parry

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