How To Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit

How To Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit

Like most things, air conditioning units need regular maintenance. Without this regular air conditioning cleaning your air conditioning unit can suffer from an increase in electricity bills and a decline in performance.

A decline in performance puts unnecessary stress on other parts of the system.

The compressor and fans must work harder and longer trying to cool or heat the area.

Below are several ways to clean your air conditioning unit to make sure your air conditioning unit is running as well as it should.

Clean The Filters

All air conditioning units have filters and these air conditioning filters need regularly cleaning.

These are to filter the air by catching dust particles before it gets sucked and recycled through the indoor fan coil. Any air that bypasses the filter can carry dirt which will get stuck on the fan coil. This will reduce the fan coils capability to absorb the heat from the room making your air conditioning unit run longer and use more electricity.

A blocked filter can increase energy consumption by up to 15%.

The filters job is to catch small dust particles preventing them being sucked into the air conditioning coils where they can restrict airflow and increase running costs. They also improve the air quality of the air that you breathe.

Most wall split systems air conditioning filters can be reached by lifting up the front panel. These usually have a hinge on top of the unit and you lift the front cover by unclipping the bottom right and left clips. To clean your air conditioning unit pull the front cover up towards the ceiling and it should stay open once it is lifted high enough. The filters can be easily seen and removed. Most modern units have two separate filters.

Cleaning filters is not enough to remove all of the contamination that has built up in your air conditioning unit. Photos of excess build up can be viewed on our cleaning page.

Ducted air conditioning filters  are usually inside the return air grill. This is the big grill in your ceiling that sucks the air back into the unit. The air is recycled through the fan coil and blows back out of the grills.  To get access to the filter undo the screw on one end of the grill. The grill should then hinge down and the filter should slide out of the end.

Wash the filter with a hose and lean it against a wall leaning on one corner to allow the water to run out. Do not vacuum or brush the filter as this can damage it.  While the filter is drying wipe, vacuum and clean the air conditioning grill.

Once the filter is dry then slide it back into the grill.

As the air conditioning filters absorb the smells from the environment you may find that the filters need replacing if they continue to smell. This is sometimes the case if you have pets.

Your air conditioning filters should be checked every 3 to 6 months depending on how often you use your ducted air conditioning unit.

Cleaning The Indoor Unit

Simply spray on your regular household cleaning product to the exterior of the indoor unit.

Let it sit for a minute and then wipe it off.

Special care should be paid to the top of the unit. This is the part that sucks the air. You will usually find a lot of dust around this part.

Once the filters have been removed from the indoor unit you should see the fan coil.

This can be sprayed with a suitable cleaning solution, leave it for a few minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water. Don’t worry about spillage or mess, as most if not all of the runoff will be caught in the drip pan. Rinse the fan coil until the runoff is completely clear and no solution remains, but be careful not to flood the drip pan! Allow it to drain off before rinsing further. Allow the fan coil to dry at least partially before putting the chassis back on.

This will remove some of the dirt from the front of the coil. However most of the dirt is buried deep inside the coil. Excessive dirt and foreign matter can also usually be seen on the fan barrel. Mould can also usually be seen just inside the air conditioning unit where the air exits the unit. This can usually also be smelt when the air conditioning unit is first turned on as it has a distinctive stale odour.

The indoor air conditioning coil offers perfect breeding conditions for mould, bacteria and mildew. The moist, humid air allows these to thrive.

Many years ago the only way to remove this was to remove the fan barrel and other parts from the air conditioning unit to allow them to be cleaned.

Today we have a simpler, cheaper option.

We offer a premium cleaning service where we remove the covers from the indoor unit exposing the coil. We spray the coil, fan and surrounding areas with a special non-toxic, biodegradable, antibacterial solution that kills and removes any mould or other foreign matter.

We then spray it off with  jets of hot water to reveal a near new air conditioning look.


Click here to view our premium air conditioning cleaning process.

Cleaning The Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit also needs to be cleaned as it needs good airflow to allow the air conditioning unit to remove the heat in the coils. Any loose grass, leaves and dust will all be pulled into the back of the air conditioning unit when it is running as the fan sucks the air through the unit. The bigger objects should be removed by hand and the rest can be sprayed with water from your garden hose. This high-pressure water should dislodge most of the dust and dirt.

The outdoor unit can also be sprayed with a household cleaning product and then wiped dry.

Make sure there is nothing to close to the outdoor unit as this can restrict the air flow and reduce your air conditioner’s ability to cool the air.


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