Cleaning Air Conditioning Systems
Cleaning air conditioning systems is not a complicated task. Although it could take quite a bit of effort and some time.
Some home owners prefer to do it themselves – and save on the maintenance costs, while others just feel it’s not worth their own time. They would rather pay for a professional job to be done. There are pros and cons for whether or not to do the cleaning yourself.
However, that’s a story for another posts. In this post, we will share the simple steps involved in cleaning air conditioning systems – so that if you wish to, you too can do it youself.
Steps to Cleaning Air Conditioning Systems
Many times, when an air conditioning system blows warm air, it is assumed that an air con gas top up is required. While that may be true sometimes, it is often not the cause.
Usually, an air conditioner may not be blowing crisp cold air – not because it needs more refrigerant, but rather it requires a proper cleaning. Evaporator and condenser units or coils get clogged up over time (with dust and and grime). Dust mixed with the cold moisture in the coils causes a thick mushy grime to develop in between the coils.
The air conditioning system has to work doubly hard to generate cold air, when the coils are clogged and not cleaned regularly.
When the coils are completely clogged up, it is impossible for the air conditioner to produce cold air – even if it’s top branded model. Below are the simple steps you can use to cleaning air conditioning systems, should you decide to do a quick job yourself.
Step 1 : Open the Air Conditioning System Casing
The first step to cleaning air conditioning system is to remove the outer casing of the air conditioning system. This may seem like a simple task but depending on the type of air conditioner you have, it may be a little tricky to accomplish. Generally, wall split system air conditioning systems are simple. Just lift the movable enclosure/cover and you will get access to the air conditioning filter. For other air conditioning systems, you may need to unscrew and gently remove the outer casing. Some older models require quite a bit of effort and force to unhitch the casing from it’s frame.
Step 2 : Remove & Cleaning The Air Conditioning Filter
Once the casing is removed, you will now see an air conditioning filter inside. The filter looks like a netting and by the time you need to service your air conditioner, it will likely have a thick layer of gray dust on the netting. Just remove the filter by clicking it out of the slots, and have the filter properly scrubbed and washed under a running tap. Be careful not to scrub too hard or you may damage the netting.
Most models of air conditioners allow you to replace the filters with replaceable filters. These replaceable filters are available commercially. If you find it too much of a hassle to wash the filters yourself, or if your filter is too old or even damaged, replacing a new filter may be a good option.
Step 3 : Cleaning the Air Conditioning System Coils
Behind the filter, you will see the grilles of the fan coil. This is the a trickier process. Fan grilles are very thin and can be easily bent or damaged. If they become bent, they may obstruct airflow and permanently reduce the cooling effectiveness of your air conditioning system. Hence it is essential that you clean the fan coil with extreme care. Bottom line : be gentle.
Get a high powered vacuum cleaner and start vacuuming any dust from in between the grilles. You should try to use a vacuum cleaner that can do do wet surfaces. Meticulously vacuum between each grille. Use the extension that has the brush at the end so you can brush out the dust and suck it out of the coil.
Once you are done vacuuming, you would have removed more than half of the congestion in the coil. The remaining dirt is wet dust, which clings on harder to the grilles. For these, you will want to purchase a fin comb kit.
The fin comb kit helps you reach in between the grilles with a firmer plastic comb. Using the fin comb, you can loosen out the wet dust or what people sometimes call grime.
Again, be very gentle about it. Start “combing” out the air conditioning coil. Some people skip this step altogether, finding it too much of a hassle. Once you are done with this process, you can now, proceed to step 4.
Step 4 : Spraying Coils With a Good Coil Cleaner
This is a very important step that many people miss. After cleaning out the coil and filter, you should spray the coil down with a good air conditioning coil cleaner. These sprays are available at hardware shops such as Bunnings. Just pick up 2 cans of coil sprays and spray down the coils with it.
The solution cuts deep into the grime, dissolving and removing them completely off the grille.
Once you are done spraying, use a dry cloth to wipe off the excess spray. You do not need to towel dry. Just wipe off the excess spray that has dripped onto the bottom of the casing. You can leave the coil slightly wet from the spray.
Once you turn on the air conditioning system, the solvent dries up quickly. Leaving your coil squeaky clean.
Step 5 : Re-install The Air Con Filter
You’re done! Last step is to re-insert the air conditioning filter (once it’s dried from the washing).
Then you can close up the air conditioning casing and power up your air conditioner for some crisp cold air.
Why Cleaning Air Conditioning Systems Is Important
It is important to maintain your air conditioning system regularly as not doing so can result in much greater running and repair costs.
When the coils are clogged, your air conditioning system requires more power to get air to flow through the grilles. This consumes a lot more electrical power, resulting in higher running costs.
In addition, the lifespan of the air conditioner is also impacted. A properly maintained and regularly cleaned air conditioning system, will definitely last a lot longer than one that is poorly maintained.
Why Get A Professional To Do It
Our suggestion is to at least get your air conditioning professionally serviced – once a year. If not, once every 6 months. You can do it yourself in between that period. Say every 2 months.
Professional servicing uses chemicals that can more efficiently flush out dust and grime from the compressor and wall split system units.
A professional cleaning job also ensures your air conditioning is checked for other faults – and the tradesman can suggest whether you need to top up on refrigerant.
Service packages are now available at very attractive prices. Getting a package saves you the hassle of arranging each servicing seperately. Just sign a contract and leave all the maintenance work to your professionals.
Jim’s Heating & Cooling is a top installer of all brands of air conditioning systems. Contact us to enquire about our professional air conditioning maintenance packages. Our experts do a great job every time.