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Cleaning your air conditioner is not something that naturally comes to mind when thinking about household maintenance or saving power. Air conditioning is essential to have in the modern home to combat excessively humid climates, and to ensure your home is provided with comfort and clean air. However, if not maintained properly, your air conditioner can actually reduce the air quality in your home. It also saves power and your money!
Regularly maintaining your air conditioner allows it to perform more efficiently by reducing the stress that can be put on the unit from built up dust and debris. If air filters are clogged or dirty, they must work twice as hard to produce a normal flow of air. With a dirty unit, you will. Find you will need to decrease the temperature further than normal to feel the cool air. Also, a dusty evaporator coil impairs its ability to absorb heat, further reducing the ability to cool your home efficiently. An efficiently running air conditioning system will save power.
If your air conditioning unit is dirty, it becomes a breeding ground for mould, fungi, bacteria and germs. When you turn on your unit, these particles will blow into the room and contaminate the air in your home. This can expose you and your family to respiratory infections or even trigger asthma attacks. A clean unit will cool your home more efficiently, as well as circulate clean and healthy air throughout.
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A clean and efficient air conditioner requires less energy to operate, therefore you can save power and reduce your total household electrical consumption. An air conditioner that is not regularly maintained can increase your energy bill costs by up to 10%! A clean and efficient air conditioner will save you money, both on your power bill and maintenance costs.
Leaving air conditioners running in a dirty state can lead to complete failure of the unit. Running an air conditioner when it’s dirty makes the unit prone to overheating or developing ice build ups. Sometimes, if the air still feels warmer than usual, even though you have just adjusted the temperature, this can be a problem with the coolant. A leaking coolant can be costly to repair. Big problems like this can be detected early on if maintained regularly, helping you save money! To accurately track how efficiently your air conditioner is running, or when it is due for a clean, check out our Smappee energy monitoring devices.
As well as saving costs on regular repairs, consistent maintenance can also extend the life of the appliance itself. Regular maintenance should consist of cleaning the coils, housing, the vents and the duct work. Cleaning can be done by yourself at home or by a professional. If you are looking for a professional clean, head over to our Smappee partners at Total Cooling Services.
If you have made it this far through the blog post, you may have realised your air conditioner(s) are well overdue for a clean. If you are looking into cleaning the unit yourself, below is a step-by-step process of how to efficiently clean your AC. Please note: these steps below are for a split system unit. If you have a vented, window or portable air conditioning system, your cleaning process may vary a little from the process outlined below.
Before completing any of these steps, ensure that all power running to the air conditioning unit are switched off. This includes all power points and circuit board. To access the condenser coils, you’ll need to remove the outer casing of the outdoor unit. A screwdriver or another similar tool may be require to do this. Once the outer casing has been removed, remove any other components that are preventing you from accessing the coils.
Once the coils have been located, brush off any surface dirt or grime using a stiff brush or duster. Next, remove trapped or thick dirt by using a suitable cleaning agent or spray with water (spraying from the inside). Also check the coil fins. If any appear to be bent or damaged, they can easily be fixed with a fin combs. These can be purchased from any air conditioning specialist store or hardware store.
This step is completed on the indoor unit. Remove or flip up the front grille, and then remove the mesh panel. There will be either one large one or two smaller ones. Clean the panel(s) thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner or dislodge the dust straight into the bin. Be careful that none of the dust gets dislodged inside your home.
To access the fan coil, remove the indoor unit’s frame. A screwdriver or similar tool will be required to do this. Once you are able to access the coil, spray with a cleaning solution. Leave for a few minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Rinse until run off is clear and no solution remains. Be careful not to flood the drip pan when doing this. Put the unit frame back together once the fan coil has dried.
Once you have completed the previous three steps, consider the next steps for a thorough and deep clean of your air conditioner:
The time of year and how often you use your air conditioner will determine how often it needs to be cleaned. During the summertime or other high use periods, it is recommended to dust the units and the vents as an absolute minimum. For a full service or clean, the experts at Total Cooling Services recommend this to be done every 6 months.
The best way to ensure that you keep up to date with your air conditioner maintenance regularly, is to keep a maintenance card inside the unit. Most tradesmen will do this, however, if you are not getting a professional to clean your unit, you can download our maintenance card template for your own personal use. To get access to this template, fill out the form below.