Spring Cleaning for Your Home’s Air Conditioner

outside AC unit

With spring in full bloom, the season of renewal is upon us. That could mean a few things, from sprucing up your wardrobe to freshening up decor around your home. But have you thought about giving your air conditioner some serious TLC this spring-cleaning season? If not, then it’s time – we all know how important air conditioning is in Florida!

A thorough cleaning of your air conditioner can make a huge difference in its performance and helps prevent future issues down the line. Here, we'll walk through the essential steps for how to properly clean and maintain your air conditioning unit so it's ready to beat the summer heat.

Cleaning Your Outside Unit

Cleaning your outdoor unit is easy enough that even someone with minimal experience can do it. We promise!

First things first: turn your unit off and unplug it to avoid potential injury or damage to the system. If there’s an air filter on the outdoor unit, remove it and determine if it needs to be cleaned or replaced. This will depend on the type of filter you have, as well as how dirty it is.

Next, using a soft-bristled brush and vacuum, try to remove as much dirt and debris as possible from the outer fan unit. Then, grab a garden hose and spray water into the back of your A/C unit until any remaining dirt or residue has been cleared away.

Should I Clean the Coils?

Absolutely! You can clean air conditioner coils yourself, and you should do it at least once per year in the spring, and maybe again during the summer if you use your air conditioning a lot. Cleaning the AC coils is a fairly simple process:

  1. With the unit still off, you can use your hose sprayer to focus on particularly stubborn areas that need a deeper clean. Just remember not to turn up the pressure too much; otherwise, you could damage the components of your air conditioner.
  2. Alternatively, you can go out and grab some coil cleaner from your favorite hardware store (call ahead first to make sure they carry it!). Just spray on and wipe off, following the instructions on the can. Be sure to follow any safety precautions and use the coil cleaner as directed.
  3. Finally, wipe down all surfaces of your central A/C unit with a damp cloth and you're done!

Why It’s Important to Clean or Replace Your Air Conditioner Filters

Not replacing or cleaning your A/C filters not only breaks the hearts of HVAC professionals everywhere, but also causes trouble for your home – and potentially your wallet.

It can be easy to forget about it, but not regularly cleaning and replacing your filter could be inviting dust, dirt, and all sorts of other substances inside your home, reducing the effectiveness of your A/C unit.

Keep in mind too that ignoring this task could lead to increased repair bills down the line if you aren't taking proper care of your unit - so save yourself some money in the long run and get into a routine of regularly cleaning or replacing that filter!

Cleaning Your Air Conditioner Filters[A4]

With the power off, carefully remove the filter from its housing. If you have central air, you may have more than one filter; consult the manual so you know where to look.

After taking the filter out, use hot water, along with a mild detergent and a scrub brush, to remove dirt and dust buildup, taking care not to damage the material. Rinse well until the water runs clear then let it dry completely before placing it back into its housing.

Another method is to soak the filter in equal parts warm water and vinegar. Just remember to let it fully dry before you put it back. If you give it a day or so, that should do the trick.

Replacing Your Air Conditioner Filters Instead

If you can’t remember the last time you checked your air filter, it’s probably best to opt for a new one. But taking it out and inspecting it will provide the best direction: If it looks really grimy and caked with dirt and dust, buying a replacement is your best bet.

Note the size of your filter and the direction it sits in your unit—taking a picture can help you remember. Then head off to the store and purchase a new one. Most hardware stores should carry all the standard sizes.

Be sure that the new one goes in the proper direction (it should have arrow indicators on it), then plug the unit back in and turn it on.

With just a few simple steps, you'll have your system up and running smoothly before you know it, keeping all those summer days cool and comfortable.

Schedule a Professional Tune-up for Your Air Conditioner

Cleaning your unit and the filters certainly helps, but it’s also a good idea to have the pros come and examine your system on occasion.

If you’re in the Orlando, FL area, give United States Heating & Air Conditioning a call at (407) 337-7925, or schedule service today. We’ll inspect your entire system to see how it’s performing and make recommendations to help you get the most out of your air conditioner.