If you've been running a window A/C unit all summer, autumn is the perfect time to clean the unit thoroughly and ensure it's in good condition. It's a lot easier to clean an air conditioner right after you stop using it than it is to wait until it's been sitting in your basement or attic for several months, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to do some scrubbing. Follow these tips to eliminate dirt and ensure your A/C unit will work properly when the warm weather returns.
1. Clean the filter.
After running your air conditioner all summer long, the filter is bound to be filled with pollen, dust, and other allergens. Prepare your A/C unit for winter storage by removing the filter and cleaning it thoroughly. Wiping it with a damp paper towel should do the trick, but don't be afraid to soak the filter in a bucket of soapy water if you are dealing with stuck-on dirt. Don't put the filter back in the air conditioner until it is completely dry, or else it will attract mold and more dirt.
2. Vacuum the inside of the air conditioner.
Your air conditioner won't run as efficiently if it is full of dust and dirt, so take this opportunity to vacuum the inside of the A/C unit thoroughly. Using the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner, clean the back of the front cover as well as the bottom and sides. If your air conditioner has a metal grill, remove it and vacuum it thoroughly before replacing it.
3. Remove adhesive from the outside of the unit.
If you secured your air conditioner with duct tape, now is a good time to remove the sticky residue. Do this by applying a small amount of liquid adhesive remover to each sticky spot. After letting the adhesive remover soak in, wipe away the sticky residue with a cloth. Remove any excess adhesive remover with a damp rag.
4. Wipe down the body of the A/C unit.
If there's dirt in your filter, there's probably dirt on the outside of the unit. Clean the body of your air conditioner by wetting a soft cloth and wringing out the excess water. Wipe the top, bottom, and sides of the unit until you have removed as much dirt as possible. Do not use a wet rag to clean the inside of the air conditioner, or you risk damaging the unit's electrical components.
5. Clean the fan blades.
Use a soft cloth to clean the blades inside your A/C unit. It is very easy to break one of these blades, so use caution when performing this task. If you do break a blade, have it replaced by a professional, or else your air conditioner will be very noisy the next time you use it.
6. Wrap the air conditioner tightly.
Don't store your air conditioner until you've wrapped it in a tarp or large sheet of plastic. Storing the unit without a protective covering leaves it vulnerable to insect and rodent damage. Wrapping your air conditioner will also protect the unit from damage caused by moisture or extreme temperature changes. If you have to leave your A/C unit in the window, wrap it with a winterizing cover to prevent heat from escaping and cold air from entering your home.
Cleaning your air conditioner isn't the most fun task in the world, but it is a necessary one. Although you can do many maintenance tasks yourself, always call a company like Perry Heating Cooling if you notice a broken blade, damaged coil, or other defect while you are getting your A/C unit ready for winter storage. Hiring someone with experience repairing air conditioning systems will save you time and reduce your risk of injury.