Spring time is rolling around quickly, so deep cleaning your home is probably at the front of your mind. There are a lot of indoor tips for tidying your house for the upcoming warmer month like storing away cold weather clothes or donating items around the house you no longer use or need. But one spring cleaning must that many overlook is preparing your room air conditioner for optimal use.
Cleaning out your wall or window AC unit is an important chore to remember because it benefits both the unit's immediate efficiency and its overall longevity. But, hiring a professional to clean an air conditioner can end up costing you $100 to $250. Luckily, with a little know-how found below, you can easily do the cleaning yourself.
How to clean your AC unit:
Before you reinstall a window sitting or room air conditioner, you should clean out all the dust and dirt it accumulated from last time it was used or in storage. The cleaning process should take a few hours at most and only costs the price of some cleaner.
- Unplug unit and remove plastic panel. Before cleaning, the unit should be removed from the window and unplugged for safety. Remove the outside plastic trim panel (it should easily clip off) to expose the insides of the unit.
- Inspect cooling fins and coils. AC fins are the small, metal fins located on a grill-like structure of a unit. They aid in the dispersing of cool air, and can stop working if clogged or bent. If these fins look caked with dust, run a vacuum over the grill with a soft bristle attachment, making sure not to damage the fins. If the fins are bent, a fin comb can be purchased online or at any hardware store. Brush the fins with the fin comb in the same direction they lie. Once these are cleaned, you may want to apply AC coil cleaner to the area. This foaming cleaner works into the fins and coils, expelling any dirt that wasn't vacuumed up.
- Clean the fan blades. The only thing left to do is to wipe down the fan blades and make sure they're well oiled. A wash rag and any house cleaner can be used to wipe down the blades. If blades are catching, use a few drops of oil to lube the area.
When it's time to replace your unit:
Once you've cleaned your AC unit, it should perform better. If you do not notice an increase in air flow or coolness, then something else is wrong and you will need either AC repair or replacement. You will have to decide what option is better for you, depending on how old or expensive your unit is. Here are some things to consider when looking for a new unit:
- Take into consideration the area of the space you want to cool. Do you want a small space cooled, or would you benefit from installing central air?
- Look for high-efficiency products. New AC units need a SEER of 13, but shooting for higher will enhance performance.
- Don't just choose the cheapest option. It may be tempting to buy whatever is on sale at the moment, but splurging for a top-of-the-line unit will help in the long run. Talk to professionals in your area to find the best value for your dollar.