An air conditioning unit is one of the most valuable investments in your home. As such, it requires constant maintenance to not only safeguard your health but also your wallet. When the AC filter is clogged with dirt and dust, it requires more energy to push air through its fibers. This leads to higher utility bills, and in the long run, the AC unit may be damaged.
To keep your AC working efficiently for longer, clean the filters once a month or twice a month in seasons of high use (summer and winter). It is also recommended to assess the filters for any damage regularly.
Types of Air Conditioners
The most common air conditioning systems that you can find in homes are:
- Ducted air conditioning systems: These units have a central fan coil, which is located in the roof and is connected to all the rooms in a home through a network of ducts.
- Split system air conditioning: This system has units that are divided into two; the indoor unit and the condenser.
- Multi-split system air conditioning: This system has both indoor and outdoor units. It has several indoor units that are all connected to a single unit.
- Portable air conditioners: This AC system is a standalone air conditioning unit that can serve one specific room only. Outside air goes through the exhaust duct and is cycled by the compressor.
Tools Needed for This Exercise
You can always call professionals to do the cleaning for you. However, learning how to do it yourself is even better as it is cheaper and more convenient. If considering cleaning it yourself, you will require these tools:
- Hair dryer
Locate the Filters
The first step is to locate the filters. For central air conditioners, the filters are usually housed near the cold air return. While most units have the filters residing behind the return vent, other units have multiple return vents that you may miss out on the location of the filters. Check properly and ensure all filters are removed ahead of the cleaning process. If unsure about your AC model, you can call your manufacturer for further clarification.
Remove the Filters
First things first, before you embark on anything, turn off the system. This will stop the circulation of unfiltered air in your home. Once switched off, examine whether the AC filter needs to be cleaned. Using the screwdriver, unscrew the vent cover to reach the filter. You can also remove the filter by using the release handle. Carefully slide out the filter from its slot.
The Cleaning Process
After removing the filters and you spot any form of discoloration, grayness, and surface dust, it is a clear indication that the filters need to be cleaned. If the filters are framed with plastic or metal, they are reusable and can be cleaned using a handheld vacuum or the normal vacuum cleaner.
However, if you want to conduct deep cleaning, you will need to clean the dirt and dust using warm water. In this case, a bathtub faucet and a shower head will work best. Direct the dirt-filled side of the filter downwards and pass the water on the less dusty side for better cleaning. Do not use the faucet on high pressure as it may damage the air filter.
Alternatively, you can soak the filter in a wide sink or bathtub in a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar. Let the filter sit in the mixture for an hour or two, depending on how grimy it is. A small amount of dish soap or detergent can also be used in place of vinegar. Afterward, drain the water and allow the filter to dry.
If you have a modern AC, it has an automatic cleaning button that cleans the filter with a single click. This type of air conditioner cleans the filter using an internal cassette and a brush device to remove the dirt. It then deposits the dust particles into a compartment that allows it to be blown away. With such a feature, you only have to set it to conduct routine cleaning regularly.
In the case of disposable filters, the ones framed with cardboard, cleaning is not an option. Instead, these filters will require a replacement. You can get new filters from local hardware stores near you. Before heading out to the store, check the size of the filters you have removed. It is usually inscribed on the sides. Doing so will save you from the inconvenience of buying a filter that does not fit.
Allow the Filter to Dry
Once the filter is all clean, allow it to dry properly before mounting it back into the unit. You can lean the filter on its side to let water drip, allowing it to dry gradually. If you want to speed the drying process, you can use a hairdryer set to “cool” to dry the filter. Do not use the hairdryer if not set to “cool” as it may burn or damage the filter. For more complex AC units, you can consult the manufacturer for extra tips on how to handle the filter.
Reinserting the Filter
Reinsert the dry filter into the AC unit by sliding it back into its slot. Ensure the arrows on the frame point towards the unit.
Air Conditioner Maintenance
For your AC to last long, it requires proper care and maintenance. All filters have different cleaning requirements. There are some that need to be cleaned once or twice a month, while others require cleaning only four times a year. To find out which category your AC falls in, you will have to consult your manufacturer. Clean your air conditioner as often as advised by the manufacturer.
Replace your filter when necessary
Even with constant care and maintenance, the filter will eventually undergo wear and tear. In the event that you notice damages such as tears or holes on the filter, ensure to replace the filter.
Keep the Condenser Coils Clean
To improve your AC’s efficiency, you need to clean the condenser coils as well. You can do this by blowing the back of the unit where these coils are located with compressed air. Alternatively, you can do it manually using a soft brush to scrub between the coils. However, be careful not to bend the coil fins.
Call Honest Air Conditioning for Professional Cleaning Services
Apart from regular cleaning, the air conditioning system requires to be professionally serviced at least once a year. During servicing, the technician will ensure all the internal parts are in good condition, which will keep the unit working efficiently for years. For homeowners living in dusty or humid areas, dusting and cleaning of the unit will require twice as much effort because the air conditioning system clogs much faster than in cleaner environments.
For professional air conditioning system servicing, call Honest Air Conditioning. We serve the Greater East Valley homes with our expertise in air conditioning systems. If you live in Mesa, Arizona, we are the guys to reach out to for all air conditioning services, including repair, installation, and maintenance. Our team conducts cooling repair, cooling replacement, cooling maintenance, heating repair, heating installations, and heating tune-ups. Call us today!