Spring Cleaning for Your Air Conditioner

outside AC unit

In addition to sweeping, mopping, washing the windows, and switching out your wardrobe in preparation for summer, spring is the perfect time to clean your air conditioning unit thoroughly. Doing so now will ensure that you’re less likely to deal with unpleasant surprises once the temperatures start to soar. We’ll take you through the process step-by-step.

How to Clean Your Central Air Conditioner

Cleaning a central air unit is probably not anyone’s idea of a good time, but it’s essential to keeping your system working well. You’ll be doing part of this job inside, and part of it outside. The entire task should take you about an hour to complete.

You’ll need a few tools to complete your AC cleaning:

  • Screwdriver
  • Soft cloth or soft-bristled brush
  • Vacuum (A wet-dry vac works perfectly.)
  • Hose and nozzle

Once your tools are assembled, you’re ready to get to work! We’ll start with the outdoor portion of the task first. Here’s what you’ll need to do to clean your central air unit.

  1. Turn off the power to your AC at the breaker box. This is an essential safety step!
  2. Remove the top of your AC’s condenser unit. You can find instructions for how to do this for your particular model in your owner’s manual or by checking the manufacturer’s website.
  3. Remove debris from inside the unit. You’re likely to see dirt, twigs, leaves, and grass inside the unit housing. Use a vacuum to remove it. This increases airflow, which helps your unit work more efficiently.
  4. Use the hose to wash off dirt and grime. Spray the unit from top to bottom on all sides to remove grime and dust. You definitely don’t want to use a power washer for this. Power washers are too powerful and might damage the delicate fins that help direct airflow.
  5. Re-attach the top. Once you’ve finished vacuuming and washing the unit down, re-attach the top securely.
  6. Check for overhanging branches and other debris. Removing any potential debris now will keep your unit in good condition.

Now it’s time to head inside to clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter.

Related Content: Random HVAC Shutdowns: Debris and Your HVAC

How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning an air conditioner filter is a simple process. You’ll need to start by locating the central AC vent. The location of this will vary depending on your home, but it could be in the floor, wall, or ceiling.

  • Remove the vent cover and remove the filter. If you have a washable filter, wash it now by either vacuuming it or taking it outside to spray down with the hose. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular filter.
  • If you washed the filter, let it dry completely.
  • Re-install the filter, making sure it’s installed in the right direction by checking the arrows or indicator marks on the filter.
  • Re-attach the vent cover.

Now, you can turn the power to your AC back on. You can check “central air unit cleaning” off of your to-do list!

What Happens If You Don't Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter?

If you don't clean your air conditioner filter, it can get clogged with dust and debris. This restricts the airflow and reduces the efficiency of your air conditioner. Cleaning your air conditioner filter regularly will help keep your air conditioner running efficiently.

AC Questions? We Can Help!

Regular cleaning and maintenance can go a long way toward extending the life of your AC and keeping your energy bills at a more manageable level. If you find that your central air unit needs more than just cleaning, call us for help at (512) 488-1120 or schedule service online.