Cleaning Your Air Conditioning System
When it comes to cleaning your air conditioning unit, there are two primary components that are most often at fault: the condenser and the evaporator. A condenser is the exterior part of your air conditioner, most commonly found mounted on slabs of concrete somewhere outside your home. The coil of the evaporator system is found in the air conditioner's plenum or mounted to the duct junction. While you may not be able to do much repairing yourself, without the proper know-how, there are some operations you could try in order to troubleshoot the issue.
Clean the Condenser
Since the condenser unit is placed on the outside of your house, it is prone to accumulating dirt and debris throughout the days. Before going further with the cleaning process, it's important to know that the cleaning must be done on the intake side of the condenser, otherwise there's no point! Once you've made sure which side is the intake side, shut off the power and follow the following steps:
- Use a commercial cleaning solution to clean the condenser unit thoroughly on the outside, as well as its front grill.
- Take apart the front grill, and, use a soft brush in order to remove the dirt found on the fins of the condenser fan. You may be thinking it'd be better to use a garden hose to clean them, as the pressure of the water will surely remove more dirt than a soft brush. That is wrong. Water can cause dirt between the fins of the fan to compact, making it harder to clean.
Clean the Coil of the Evaporator
This is something that not everyone can do, partly because the cleaning process is conditioned by the type of air conditioning unit you have. It's important to first check the plenum of your air conditioner. Do you see insulation wrapped in foil around the plenum's front? If so, you're ready to start cleaning it. Do not proceed further if you notice that the plenum is sealed inside a metal box, as you may end up doing more damage to the unit. Here's how to clean the coil:
- Carefully remove the foil-wrapped insulation from the plenum, and keep in mind that you will need to put it back together after cleaning the unit. You will now notice one access plate screwed in place.
- Remove the screws and clean underneath the coil of the evaporator using a stiff brush. If you cannot get to the evaporator, you can slide it out while making sure that you're not bending any pipes.
- You should also clean any trays found underneath the evaporator coil. Here's a trick. Pour down a tablespoon of bleach inside any weep holes that you see in order to highly diminish the growth of fungus and bacteria.