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How to Clean Window Air Conditioners - Maintenance Guide


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Cleaning a window air conditioner will help keep the dust and debris out of your unit, which will maintain the appliance in good condition for longer. A clean window unit would function better, and cause you less problems than one riddled with dust. You'll save up on potential repair expenses in the future for issues that could have been avoided.

In this article, we highlight the step-by-step process in cleaning and deep cleaning your window units. General monthly cleaning can be easily done at home, while you may need to have a professional handle the deep cleaning if you're not confident to do so.

How to Clean Window AC Unit

For General Cleaning:

Step 1: Check for Any Smells or Dirt on Your Unit

First check for any musty or odd smells from your window air conditioner. It may be helpful to turn the unit on to check for smells while using the air conditioner. A musty smell indicates mildew, which you will need to clean out to remove. Other smells may mean other types or dirt or problems with your air conditioner that may require professionals to fix.

Step 2: Shut Off Your Window Air Conditioner

Otherwise, shut off your air conditioner to start the cleaning. It is important to unplug your window AC unit while you clean it to avoid electrocution or accidental damage to your unit. Ensure that there is no electricity flowing through your unit.

Step 3: Remove the Filter

Carefully remove the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remove the front casing first, then carefully slide the filter out of the unit. Have a basin with you to catch all the dust that falls off, or use a vacuum cleaner to remove any loose debris as you remove the filter from the air conditioner.

Step 4: Create a Cleaning Solution with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide makes for one of the best DIY cleaning solutions that is both mild and effective. Take a spray bottle, and mix together 3% hydrogen peroxide with water in a 2:1 ratio. This cleaning solution will disinfect your window unit as it clears away the dirt!

Step 5: Spray Hydrogen Peroxide Around the Unit

Spray the inside and the outside of the unit with the cleaning solution you've just made. Get into the areas behind the filter, as well as the inflow and outflow vents of your unit. The best time to clean your air conditioner is at night, when you can keep the aircon off for hours, giving the appliance enough time to fully air dry before using.

Step 6: Clean the Filter With Soapy Water

A dirty air filter will create problems for your air conditioning unit, which is why it is essential to clean a window air filter monthly. Filters are relatively easy to clean: simply wash the filter with soapy water in the sink until the accumulated dust has completely washed away. Let the filter dry before placing it back into your AC unit.

Step 7: Let Everything Dry Completely

Never use an air conditioner while it is still wet. Allow the air conditioning unit to dry before you place all the parts back together. Using an air conditioner while wet may cause short circuiting, damage, or even electrocution when improperly dried.

For a Deeper Clean:

Step 1: Dismantle Your Window Air Conditioner

First thing's first: you'll be taking your unit outdoors to clean, so it is only practical to unplug the appliance, and dismantle it from its perch. Use a drill to remove the screws on the window panes, and move the entire unit outside.

Step 2: Remove the Unit Casing

Use your drill or screwdriver to remove the casing of your unit. Keep track of all the screws you've just removed. A good way is to stick them on a piece of paper labeled with its corresponding position so you can drill them back on their rightful places afterwards. For rusty nails, you may want to replace them with new, identical ones instead.

Once you've removed the casing, you now have access to all the parts that can be cleaned. Be careful not to fold, bend, or otherwise damage any of the parts as you clean them.

Step 3: Vacuum Up Any Debris

Vacuum up any visible debris. The small pieces of dirt you see can fly off deeper into your unit, so it is best to remove them now before they do. Use the nozzle attachment of your vacuum cleaner to get deep into the nooks and crannies of window AC units for a thorough vacuuming.

Step 4: Brush Out the Dirt

Use a soft bristle brush to loosen the grime from the condenser coils, the fan motor and blades, and more. Avoid using excessive force, and go in small, gentle strokes. This will make it easier for the vacuum cleaner to remove the dust particles later on.

Step 5: Use Compressed Air to Remove Debris

A can of compressed, cold air should help get rid of the debris from deep inside the AC mechanism, where your vacuum cleaner and bristle brush cannot reach. Use a thin straw to guide the air though the small nooks, safely removing the grime with a gust of air.

Step 6: Vacuum Up Once More

Finally, use the vacuum cleaner once more to clear away the dust and dirt you've just blasted out of your air conditioner. This step will ensure the debris doesn't just simply go back into your air conditioner, and you can later dispose of the dirt bag properly.

Step 7: Wash Waterproof Parts

This step is optional, but will give you a deeper cleaning. Wash any waterproof parts: the casing, the filter, and anything that does not have any electrical parts on them. Let these parts completely dry before rebuilding your AC unit.

What we've presented here is a simplified version on how to deep clean a window air conditioner. If you are not confident with your mechanical know-how, or would like a professional clean, contact an experienced aircon cleaning company such as Luce Aircon to get the job done quickly and easily!

Maintenance Tips

With window-type air conditioners, the most prevalent issue would be to keep the unit clean. The unit consists of both the interior and the exterior parts in one casing, which allows dirt to enter your entire cooling system much more easily. Depending on your area, your filter may be collecting a lot of pollution as well, so cleaning this is a must.

  • Clean the air filter once or twice a month depending on regular use.
  • Wipe the inflow and outflow of your unit daily to keep grime from accumulating.
  • Ensure your unit has ample time to dry between uses to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Disinfect your unit regularly with a cleaning solution.
  • Have a professional HVAC technician check your unit twice a year for cleaning, chemical wash, and maintenance.
  • Know the common problems of your aircon brand, as well as the indicators of an issue with your unit based on smell, sounds, and functions.

Cool It!

You don't have to stress over your air conditioner when you've got Luce Aircon to help you with all your aircon maintenance needs! Our expert technicians are always ready to help you clean, diagnose and repair your unit when you need it. 

Give us a call today, and we can schedule an appointment at your convenience!

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer

This article is written by our passionate staff writers who seek to share our knowledge from our business

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