Almost every modern building has an air conditioner or a ventilation system of some sort. This way there is enough air inside the rooms and we can control the temperature of the indoor air. But just like everything else in our homes, our air conditioners also need maintenance and regular cleaning in order to perform better and not contaminate the air inside with pollutants from the environment.
The truth is, that the things a homeowner can do in order to maintain the air conditioner are quite limited. But there are a few simple hacks, which should help you bring it back to life and improve its performance for the time being. These tips will also help you eliminate unpleasant odors and kill most dangerous airborne allergens.
Step 1Remove the filter. Before you start with the cleaning, you should remember to unplug the air conditioner, because otherwise things will get ugly very fast. After you've made sure that everything is unplugged, you should check the air conditioner itself and remove the filter, so you can clean it and the space it's placed in. Most air conditioners have a special cover in the front part, which protects the filters inside. Gently open the front cover and then find a way to unpin the air filters without damaging them. Have in mind that in most of the latest models the filters are secured with some screws, so you might have to unscrew them before you will be able to move the filter.
Step 2Spray with a cleaning product. Once the filters are out, it's time to take care of the front coil of the air conditioner. It's not recommended to use common household detergents to clean it, because it can easily damage the specific surface. Many hardware and home improvement stores sell specialized cleaning products, designed to clean exactly these parts of the air conditioner. These cleaners will help you remove all the mould, dirt and unpleasant odours from the coil surface. Be careful and make sure you're only spraying the coils, and not any of the other parts. Don't allow the foam to get to any electrical wires or controls, because they can be easily fried when you turn the air conditioner back on.
Step 3Clean the air filter. Use plain water to clean the filters you removed earlier. You can just dip them in the sink one by one and leave them to dry. The clean filters are a must, if you want to avoid the common air contaminants from getting inside your respiratory system. Specialists claim that it's a lot cheaper and easier to just clean the air filters every day, than to clean the whole air conditioner with foam and special cleaning products. You should also consider cleaning the ducts, since a big part of the dust and dirt comes through there. Of course, the velocity of the filter and duct cleaning should be bound to the amount of dust and dirt in the house. If you suspect that the filter is responsible for the unpleasant odours in the house, you should soak it in some soapy water and wash it more thoroughly.
Step 4Clean the outdoor coils if needed. The area you live in practically decides if you should clean the outside coils or not. They are usually exposed to rainwater, which quite often makes the cleaning unnecessary, but in Australia there are many dusty areas, where the dust accumulates by the hour, so cleaning these coils would be useful. Apply a foam cleaner to this part of the air conditioner and leave it so soak and work for at least 15 minutes. After that you can pick up a garden hose and rinse everything thoroughly.
Step 5Turn on the air conditioner. At first set the air conditioner to cooling and pick the coldest setting on the thermostat. The humid and warm air which comes inside will condense when it passes over the cold coils of the air conditioner. The water which is a by-product from the condensation will rinse all the foam and dirt left inside the coils, and it should be collected in the drip pan, if everything is installed back properly (the back part should be slightly tilted towards the ground).