Clever DIY Air Conditioner Cleaning Tips
Tips & Tricks

Clever DIY Air Conditioner Cleaning Tips

Now is the perfect time to clean your air conditioner so that it’s ready for use next summer. Try these clever DIY air conditioner cleaning tips. If you notice any issues with your air conditioner not cooling effectively or blowing out warm air, it’s important to address the problem.

About 75% of all homes in the United States have air conditioning, amounting to nearly $29 billion in energy costs each year. With a few DIY air conditioner cleaning tips, you can keep yours running smoothly. Not only will your machine run efficiently, but it could save you money in the long run.

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Air conditioners work by pulling warm air inside and cooling it through a process of compressing and condensing. Moisture is evaporated over the cooling coils and the cooled air is sent back inside. This process is similar to refrigeration, although with a few key differences.

Your central air or split unit’s compressor and condenser are outside and separated from the indoor evaporating unit. In a window-mounted air conditioning unit, the condenser is the part that sits outside of the window.

The compressor moves refrigerant around the condenser’s cooling coils. The warm, moist air is cooled and circulated back inside by the evaporator. Meanwhile, the heat and moisture are blown outside. Your evaporator might be indoors in your unit’s air handler.

Parts You Can Clean

Before you start taking things apart, let’s go over this air conditioner cleaner DIY. First, you’ll want to know which parts of your system you can clean. Some might not always seem accessible. Check out these Best Air Conditioner Foaming Coil Cleaners.


Changing filters in everything from cars, to pools is important: air conditioners are no exception. In fact, because they circulate the air you breathe it is important to clean out all the dust, pollen, hair, and contaminants that clog them up. You should clean or replace disposable AC filters every 1-3 months.

In a split unit or a window unit, your filter is on the face of the indoor portion. You can clean this yourself. However, for complex split system air conditioner cleaning, you might want to call a professional if it is very dirty.

In a central air HVAC system, you might have two filters, though they could be hard to find. Look for a large vent inside your home: this is your air return and there is likely a filter inside. Your air handler, which might be in an attic or garage, also has a filter that could be much harder to locate and access, so check your model’s manual. Or you can get in touch with HVAC contractors to repair or replace the filter. You can learn more here about HVAC repair.

Condenser Fins

You can clean between the small fins of your condenser unit using a soft-bristle vacuum brush and a foaming cleanser. Because this part is outdoors it will collect grime like dirt and pollen. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual first and never use a pressure washer.

Drain Pipe

Central air HVAC units, as well as split units, have a drain pipe near the evaporator. You can clean this yourself to keep it clear of mold and bacteria. However, it may be difficult to access, to read your unit’s manual first.

Air Conditioner Cleaning

Cleaning your air conditioner yourself can save you time and money, and even save your machine from breaking down. Of course, if you are uncomfortable, contact a professional air conditioner cleaning service. In this way, you keep your home healthy, happy, and cool.

Photo by Shika Chen on Unsplash

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