Step-By-Step Guide: How to Clean a Central Air Conditioner

The secret to maintaining a long-lasting air conditioner starts with cleaning it. Not only does proper maintenance maximize the efficiency of your central air conditioner, but it also ensures the comfort and safety of your family members. Furthermore, you get the best return of your investment.

Whether you schedule regular air conditioner maintenance or prefer to clean it yourself, it’s important to maintain your system to prevent costly repairs. That’s why we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to clean your air conditioner, starting with the condenser.

Cleaning the Outdoor Condensing Unit

How to Clean a Central Air Conditioner Without a ProfessionalUse the Breaker Box to Deactivate the Air Conditioner

Prior to cleaning your AC unit, it’s important to deactivate the power. To turn the air conditioner off, locate the breaker box connected to the system. This is a square box that is connected to the wall on the exterior of your house. Open the circuit breaker box and flip the button to the off position. Turning off the air conditioner is extremely important and allows you to properly disassemble and clean without harming the unit or yourself.

Use a Wet or Dry Vacuum to Remove Dirt From the Condenser Fins

The condenser fins are situated on the exterior of the outdoor condensing unit of the central air conditioning system. Condenser fins are engineered to push excess heat away from the air conditioner. To clean the condenser fins, carefully move the nozzle of a wet or dry vacuum over them. Wet or dry vacuums can typically be found at the hardware store and online. This clears any dirt and debris on the fins that may hinder the condenser to draw in air effectively.

How to Clean a Central Air Conditioner Without a ProfessionalStraighten the Condenser Fins

Once you have cleaned the condenser fins on your air conditioner, we recommend straightening any noticeable bent or twisted fins. You can do this by using a kitchen utensil such as a knife to gently bend the fins back into position. Try to be steady and gentle when straightening the fins to avoid breaking or damaging them.

Cleaning the Fan in the Compressor

Once you are finished cleaning the condenser of the central air conditioner unit, you will be required to remove dirt and debris from the fan. You will need to first remove the fan from the compressor. First, use a screwdriver to remove the wiring from the front of the fan. Next, identify the fan near the top of the compressor and remove it.

Remove the Grate Covering

Use a screwdriver to remove the grate panel. Next, unscrew and remove the fan. Please note that the fan motor does have fragile wires that are connected to the compressor. This means you may not be able to completely remove the fan from the central air conditioning system. However, you should be able to lift the fan from the compressor to remove dirt, debris, and other objects.

Use a Water Hose to Sanitize the Fan Blades

Use an outdoor hose to wash away dirt, rubble, twigs, leaves, and other contaminants from the fan blades. If your garden hose is unable to remove dirt and debris from the blades, use a paper towel and sanitation spray to sanitize the fan. Once you’ve wiped the blades, spray water through the compressor’s fins from inside of the unit to ensure you impede any blockage that may occur from debris.

Put Compressor Back Together

Once you’ve vacuumed the condenser fins and sanitized the fan glades, you may put the compressor together. Do this by placing the fan back on top of the compressor, and re-screwing it to the metal frame. Next, insert the screws for the grate panel that goes on top of the fan. Once the compressor is assembled, you may activate the power to your central air conditioning system.

How to Clean a Central Air Conditioner Without a Professional5 Signs That Indicate It’s Time to Perform an Air Conditioner Repair

Sometimes, cleaning your air conditioner just isn’t enough to improve AC efficiency; You may need to seek some professional assistance. Let’s take a look at signs that indicate your air conditioning system needs repairs.

Distributing Warm Air

If your air conditioner is blowing warm air in your house, this is an indicator of an issue. Warm air could be the result of a broken compressor or a refrigerant leak. Either way, this issue typically requires assistance from a licensed technician.

Visible Liquid Near the System

If you spot water or leaks around your air conditioner unit, the excess moisture may be caused by a drain blockage or a refrigerant leak. Whatever the case may be, address the situation immediately to avoid potential mold growth.

Unusual Noises

If you hear loud grinding, grating, squealing or any other unusual noises from your motor, you may need to seek an HVAC professional for insight. Your air conditioning system should operate fairly quietly. A loud noise may be a signal of a bigger problem. Allow an experienced technician to inspect and fix the issue before your system worsens.

Unpleasant Odors

A musty, sour, or foul smell can be an indication of central air conditioner issues such as burned wire insulation or mold growth. If you smell an unusual odor from your air conditioning system, speak with an HVAC professional right away.

High Humidity Levels

An essential function of your air conditioner involves pulling humidity from the air inside your home. If you’re experiencing a muggy or sticky feeling in your home’s air, agitated allergy and asthma symptoms, or notice water or fog gathering around your window, this may indicate your air conditioner isn’t working properly. Contact an HVAC technician to determine if your AC needs repair.

Central Air Conditioner Repair & Installation Services in West Chester & Other Areas of PennsylvaniaCentral Air Conditioner Repair & Installation Services in West Chester & Other Areas of Pennsylvania

The only way to prevent issues with your air conditioning system is to schedule continuous tune-ups with a licensed HVAC contractor. WM Henderson provides dependable and efficient air conditioning tune-up, replacement, and repair services to homes in areas of Pennsylvania including Coatesville, Broomall, West Chester, and Conshohocken. Our team also provides other HVAC services including furnace maintenance, heat pump repair, ductless mini-split system installation, and boiler replacement. Give our team a call by phone at (484) 206-8594 to receive assistance with a malfunctioning air conditioning system. Our team of licensed plumbers will make sure your air conditioning system stays in pristine condition.

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