Electrical Electronic

How to clean your home air conditioner

Before you start cleaning your air conditioner, it’s a good idea to learn a little about how it works. There is an interior and an exterior component to an air conditioner, and each has a separate sort of coil that needs to be cleaned.

The evaporator coils are located in the interior of the unit. These coils are normally composed of copper, which is a good conductor of heat, and they also contain coolant. Warm air travels over the coils, absorbing heat, and the refrigerant evaporates to a gas form.

how to clean an air conditioner

The warm air is then transferred to the outer unit, where it flows via the compressor and onto the condenser coil. The compressor now returns the refrigerant to its liquid condition. With the help of an exhaust fan, the condenser coil then releases heat into the surrounding air. You must clean both the indoor and outside components of your air conditioner in order to clean it.

In this article, you’ll be guide on how to clean your air conditioner system both the inner and outer unit, along with the air filter.

Read more: Understanding automobile air conditioning system

How to clean your air conditioner AC outside unit?

Keeping the condenser coils of your air conditioner clean and free of debris will help your unit work more efficiently and last longer. Many people prefer to clean their air conditioners in the spring to ensure that they are in good working order before the summer heat arrives.

Here are a few tips for keeping your outside unit clean and functioning properly for the summer months, as well as preventing costly AC repairs.

  • Unplug the system
  • unroot plant growth
  • Loose the system housing
  • Remove the top
  • Clean and oil the fan system
  • Remove dirt around
  • Clean the coils
  • Check for damages
  • Assemble

Unplug the system

As indicated above, most central air conditioners have a shutdown box next to the machine itself. To turn off the electricity to your device, you may need to remove the shutoff box, remove a fuse, or flip a switch, depending on the brand and type. Turn off the electricity from the circuit breaker panel that controls your heating and cooling unit if it does not have a shutoff box.

unroot plant growth

Grass, weeds, bushes, and other foliage should be pulled back at least two feet from your unit to prevent them from getting inside.

Loose the system housing

To remove the outer casing or access panel, you’ll need a nut driver or a screwdriver, depending on the type of unit.

Remove the top

To remove the top of the air conditioner, you may need to pull the fan assembly off your unit. If this is the case, take care not to stretch or damage the fan wires.

Clean and oil the fan system

Remove any dirt and debris that has accumulated on the fan motor and shaft with a rag, broom, or shop vacuum. This is also a good time to lubricate each lubrication port in your motor with a small drop of oil. If your unit lacks lubricating ports, you can skip this step.

Remove dirt around

Brush dirt away from the coils with a brush or a broom.

Read more: How to fix your car AC in a few steps

Clean the coils

Debris that has become trapped can be sprayed away with water, but more serious dirt may require the use of a biodegradable foaming cleanser. Before spraying, protect any wires or motors with plastic. Spray the coils from the outside and soak them for about 15 minutes, then repeat as needed. Rinse the coils to remove any residual cleaner until the runoff is clear. Power washing your coils will cause harm to your unit.

Check for damages

If any coil fins are bent, a special “fin comb” can be obtained at any air conditioning supply store to straighten them out.


Make sure you replace all of the screws! You can now turn the power back on and enjoy your nice, clean unit.

How to clean your air conditioner AC inside unit?

Whether you start with the outdoor or indoor portion of the device is entirely up to you. Follow the instructions when cleaning the indoor unit.

  • Turn off the AC power
  • Open up the unit
  • Clean the evaporator coils
  • Clean the drain pan
  • Clean the drain when the AC is plugged
  • Close the AC access panel


Turn off the AC power

Because air conditioners have a lot of moving parts, you should turn off the power at the breaker box for safety reasons. As a result, you won’t need any lights, making this a daylight project. If your indoor unit is located in a dark area, such as the attic, you will need to provide adequate illumination.

Open up the unit

The evaporator coil will be accessible through a door on your blower unit. You may need to remove the foil duct tape depending on your unit. The door is usually held in place by a few bolts or screws.

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Clean the evaporator coils

Remove dust from the coil with a soft brush if you have one. This dust will be made up of whatever particles are present inside your home. If you have allergies, you may want to wear a mask because this includes skin cells and pollen.

A no-rinse coil cleaner, which you can get at your local home improvement store, is the ideal cleaning solution. This spray foams up and then drips into the drain pan of the unit, picking up debris and dust along the way. Spray the foam as evenly as possible, ensuring that it reaches all of the little regions that are difficult to reach by hand. The best time to do this is on a hot day so that the AC condensation rinses out the coils when you turn the unit back on.

Read more: Understanding an Air Conditioning System

Clean the drain pan

Clean out the drain pan when the coil cleaner has finished its work. Starting with soap and hot water is a good idea, and bleach can help with sanitization. Use a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. Make sure the solution is clear by pouring it down the drain. You may buy AC drain pan tablets at most home improvement and hardware stores if you want a more long-term solution to keep your drain from growing algae.

Clean the drain when the AC is plugged

You can skip this step if your bleach solution flushes gently down the drain. Your drain could be clogged if it’s slow. Mold and algae can grow in the drain if it is not cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. It’s normally a one-inch-wide PVC pipe, so it doesn’t take much to clog it.

Your drain may lead to the exterior, usually around the condenser unit. Otherwise, it will drain into a utility sink or a basement floor drain. It’s possible that if your unit is in the attic, it’ll drain through one of your outside walls. Bring a wet/dry vacuum with you as you follow the drain to its terminus. If you’re worried about the filter getting dirty, you can take it out of the vacuum.

Take the vacuum hose and connect it to the drain tube’s end. By wrapping a towel around the space, you may prevent air leaking. Duct tape the hose and drain together for the tightest seal. Turn on the vacuum and run it for two or three minutes to get rid of any accumulated debris.

Close the AC access panel

Reinstall the access panel with the same screws you removed at the start of the procedure. Use HVAC metal foil tape to seal the top and bottom of the access panel if you have any. If a professional needs to perform maintenance or repairs on the item, don’t cover up the manufacturer’s label.

For regular cleaning, this is all you need to do, but you may run into problems you can’t solve on your own. Because the coils are encased on both ends, you may encounter sections you can’t access if you have A-frame evaporator coils. If you haven’t cleaned your A-frame coils in a while, you may need to enlist the assistance of professionals to get them totally clean.

Read more: Understanding the working of a heater core

How to clean the air filter in your AC system?

Although air conditioning units don’t require much maintenance, it’s necessary to clean or change the air filters on a regular basis to lessen the risk of airborne mold and common allergens in forced air systems.

There are various types of air filters available, and while many are disposable and cannot be cleaned, washable air filters are more popular than ever because to advancements in technology and related efficiency. If you’ve been using disposable filters in the past, now is a good time to upgrade. follow the following steps to successfully clean the air filter in your AC system.

  • Turn off the unit
  • Loose the filter
  • Dust out the filter
  • Clean the filter
  • Mount back the filter


Turn off the unit

While the filter is being cleaned, keep the unit turned off to avoid allowing unclean air travel around your home.

Loose the filter

Check all vents because some systems may have numerous filters.

Dust out the filter

The first thing you can do to lessen the quantity of dusty buildup is to use a hand vacuum to lift allergens. Clean any dust from the frame with the microfiber cloth. Getting rid of the top layer of silt and any loose debris makes the next process simple and clean.

Clean the filter

Rinse the filter gently and completely in a deep sink or outside with your hose before allowing it to dry. If you need to give the filter a thorough cleaning, soak it for an hour in a flat bin with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part warm water, then rinse it gently with the hose. An air filter should never be cleaned using a pressurized cleaner; they’re far too fragile for any high-pressure hose.

Mount back the filter

Inspect the dry filter for any signs of holes that have been damaged, debris that has not been fully cleaned, or rips in the material. You can put it back in the unit if it’s in good condition. Make a note of any expiration dates on the product or its original container to determine when it is time to replace it completely.

Read more: Understanding Refrigeration

Watch the video below to learn how to clean an air conditioner:

In Summary

Air conditioner is a great device that bring comfort to house, office, car, etc. Limiting the air can be discomforting which can even cause smelly breeze. This is why this article is created to teach DIY users how to properly clean an air conditioner in few steps just as explained above.

I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!