How To Clean Air Conditioning Unit

June 7, 2021
AC Cleaning in Roseville, Michigan

Having a good working home air conditioning system is a must to be comfortable during the hot summer season. Part of ensuring that your system is in good working order is cleaning it prior to its long summer run. There are a few tips that we’re going to discuss below that you should implement during your cleaning process.

Air Filters

The first place that most homeowners will start their cleaning process is the air filter holder. It’s highly recommended that your home air filter be changed once every three months. For homes with lots of pets or young children, you may want to consider changing your filter more often.

Many homeowners get confused when it comes to telling when to change their air conditioning filter. It’s best to pull the filter out every month and do the light test. If you hold the filter up to a light source and you can see through it, there’s still some life left in your filter. If you can’t see through it, then it’s time to change it.

There are four main types of air filters that you can purchase. These are fiberglass, pleated, reusable, and HEPA. Most homeowners opt for pleated filters as they provide a great level of filtering at an affordable price. Those who have young children or respiratory disorders should consider purchasing HEPA filters. These provide a high level of filtering, catching up to 99.97% of airborne pollutants.

If you’re not interested in having to spend money every three months. You may want to invest in a washable air filter. It’s very important to note that this type of filter must be properly cleaned and fully dried before it gets reinstalled in the holder. If you install the washable filter while it’s still wet, it could cause unwanted mold growth in your centralized air conditioning system.

When purchasing an air filter, you’ll need to get the right size. Each home air conditioning unit has its own size of air filter that you’ll need to install. Make sure that you check the model number on your existing filter to ensure that you’re replacing it with the right one.

Vents and Ductwork

Now is the time to pop out the various vents throughout your home. Take the time to scrub off any stuck-on dirt and debris. It’s amazing just how much grime these vents can collect over the winter months. Make sure that all the vents are entirely dry before you reinstall them.

When you reinstall your venting, you should ensure that the grates are open. Also, you’ll want to evaluate the area directly in front of the vent. Make sure that there are no objects blocking the vent, such as your couch.

When you have the vents out, it’s a good time to do some cleaning of your ductwork. Use a vacuum and suck up any loose debris so that you can prevent it from recirculating in your indoor air. It’s highly recommended to have professional ductwork cleaning every three to five years. Professionals have specialized equipment that can clean the entire ducting system. The less dirt and debris in your ducting, the better your indoor air quality will be.

Outdoor Unit

You’ll want to turn off the power to your entire air conditioning unit at the circuit breaker. Head to your outdoor unit and remove the AC grille cover. This will be held on by a few screws, and you may need to disconnect some wiring to get it entirely off.

Once you have access to the entire system, you’ll want to remove any loose debris that has found its way inside the compressor unit. Due to the natural outdoor elements, it isn’t uncommon for loose leaves, twigs, and other debris to blow into this unit. Using a wet-dry vacuum is one of the easiest ways to remove this debris.

Next, you’ll want to use a condenser coil cleaner to remove all the stuck-on debris from your coil. Once the coil is clean, use your hose to spray off the rest of the system components. Be extra careful when spraying near the fins, as they are very sensitive to force.

The last task you’ll want to perform on your outdoor unit is to straighten up the fins. You can use a simple pair of plyers to straighten the fins back to their original position. Or, there are fin combs that you can purchase at your local hardware store. Either way, just be sure that you make straightening the fins a part of your regular cleaning process as they work most efficiently when in a straight position.

Area Around the Outdoor Unit

Once you finish cleaning up your outdoor unit and you reinstall the cover, it’s time to assess the state of the area around it. You don’t want anything to be within about 2 to 3 feet of the unit. This open space gives your unit adequate airflow so that it can do its job properly.

If there is loose debris, like leaves, you’ll want to remove them from around the unit. Any bushes that are growing too close to it should be trimmed. Lastly, any tree branches that are nearing the 3-foot radius around the unit should be trimmed back to prevent any airflow issues.

As part of your yearly cleaning maintenance, it’s a good idea to check the concrete slab that the unit is on. It needs to be level for the outdoor compressor unit to perform at its best. Use a long level and determine if the compressor unit is on level ground. If the unit is unlevel, use some gravel or other substrate for popping up the low side of the concrete slab.

Indoor Unit

To gain access to the indoor unit, you’ll need to remove the access panel. It’s typically held in by screws or bolts. Once removed, set the panel aside. You’ll want to start your indoor cleaning with the evaporator coil. There are specific foaming cleansers that you can purchase at your local hardware store to remove the stuck-on debris from the coil. This cleanser is much easier to use than traditional soap and hot water.

Next, you’ll want to clean the drain pipe and the drain. Using a mixture of bleach and water can work to remove stuck-on debris like hard-water scaling. It is vital that this scaling be prevented from accumulating in great quantities as it could clog the drain. When the drain or drain pipe becomes clogged, water will back up in the system.

Dependable AC Service

Having a dependable company that you can call to perform service on your air conditioning unit in Detroit, MI, is a must. Fortunately, C & C Heating & Air Conditioning provides service, repairs, and installation for both cooling and heating units. We also offer duct cleaning, air filtration systems, and indoor air quality assessments. Simply give us a call today to get started.

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