If you’re reaching for your air conditioner for the first time this year, you should do some quick maintenance to ensure it is still running smoothly. While you might not think it’s important, keeping your air conditioner running in top condition can extend its life and keep you cooler for longer.
1. Prepare to clean
If you’re looking to clean your air conditioner when it’s already in use, make sure it’s fully unplugged from any power source. You’ll also want to move it to a solid surface (not carpet).
Gather the tools you’ll need so you’re not constantly having to get up. You’ll need any filters you plan to replace, a damp cleaning cloth, a pan or bucket (depending on how your air conditioner drains), and a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. You may also want to use your favourite essential oil in this solution.
2. Clean or replace the filters
Remove any filters that you want to clean or replace. If the filter is washable, do so, but if it should be replaced then do. You’ll be compromising the effectiveness of the filter, and it may be ruined in the wash anyway.
Most manufacturers should sell replacement filters for their appliances.
3. Drain the water
Due to the way that air conditioners work, they naturally collect water from your air. This water is then collected in the unit and needs to be drained. Some units have an exhaust hose that vents the air, others may have a drain pump or hose you have to open, and some may just have a tank that you need to remove and empty.
4. Clean any hoses or drains
This is where you need the 50/50 vinegar solution. Simply detach the pipes and rinse them with this solution. Then, reattach them and run the air conditioner on fan only mode for about half an hour to dry your unit and eliminate the smell.
If you’re worried about bad odours you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to this solution to eliminate any musty odours and leave your home smelling fresh.
If you can’t detach the drain hose, don’t force it off or rinse it with water. You can clean it by hand with a damp cloth or bottle brush.
5. Wipe the exterior
Use a damp cloth to wipe the exterior of the unit to remove any dust, dirt, or splatter. Do not remove any panels that shouldn’t normally come off, or use any abrasive chemicals or harsh detergents that may damage the panels.
6. Don’t be afraid to call a professional
There are some parts of the air conditioner that shouldn’t be touched by someone who isn’t professionally trained. These include the condenser and evaporate coils. If you call a professional for regular maintenance of your unit, they will be able to clean these coils and keep them working. However, if they break, they can be very expensive and difficult to replace, so you might be better off just buying a new unit.
You should also call a technician for any issues surrounding the power cable or any other non-removable part.