How to Clean Your Central Air Conditioner (Complete Guide)

Did you know that you should clean your air conditioning system every year to ensure that it runs at peak performance? Not only will this save you money on your energy bill, but it will also help keep your home or office cooler and more comfortable.

But you may not know how to clean an air conditioner. We will provide a complete guide on how to clean your air conditioner safely and effectively. We’ll also provide tips on using an AC coil cleaner and how often you should clean your air conditioner for the best results. Follow these steps and you’ll be sure to keep your air conditioner running like new for years to come! con

Why You Need to Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit Yearly

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As we mentioned before, one of the main reasons you should clean your air conditioner is because it will help the unit run more efficiently. When an air conditioner is full of dirt and dust, the unit has to work harder to cool down your home or office. This not only wastes energy and drives up your utility bills, but it can also shorten the lifespan of your air conditioner.

In addition, a dirty air conditioner can lead to poor indoor air quality, which can cause respiratory problems for you and your family. All air conditions require regular cleaning.

Another reason to keep your air conditioner clean is to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. These allergens can cause a number of health problems, including headaches, nausea, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In extreme cases, they can even trigger asthma attacks. By regularly cleaning your air conditioner, you can help reduce the risk of these health problems.

Lastly, doing it yourself will save money. Air conditioners need cleaning regularly and rather than pay for expensive services, you can take care of it yourself.

Tools You’ll Need to Clean Your Air Conditioner

In order to clean your air conditioner, you’ll need a few tools:

Soft Bristle Brush:

A soft brush will be used to gently brush away any dirt or debris on the outside of the unit and on the fins.

Cordless Drill or Screwdriver with Sockets:

This will be used to remove the screws from the access panel so that you can clean the interior of the unit.

Hose with Spray Nozzle:

This will be used to rinse away any dirt or debris from the inside of the unit.

Fin Straightener Brush or Fin Comb:

This will be used to straighten out any bent fins on the condenser coils.

Steps to Cleaning Your Central Air Conditioner

Now that you have all the necessary tools, it’s time to start cleaning! Follow these steps and your air conditioner will be good as new:

Locate Your Air Conditioner, Furnace, and Fuse Panel

Begin by turning off the power to the unit. This can usually be done by flipping a switch on the fuse panel. Once the power is off, locate your AC unit and remove any debris that may be blocking it. Next, locate your furnace and make sure that there is no debris blocking the vents.

Replace or Clean Your Air Conditioner Filters

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Next, you’ll need to replace or clean your air conditioner filters. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may be able to simply rinse it off with water and let it air dry. However, if your air filter is excessively dirty, you’ll need to replace it. This clogged filter will affect how much cold air you have in the worst summer heat. These are typically located in the return air duct or in the blower compartment in the furnace. Allow the filter to dry completely before installing it.

Remove the AC Access Panel

Once you have located the air conditioner unit, you will need to remove the access panel in order to clean the interior. First, use a soft bristle brush to remove any dirt or debris that may be on the outside of the unit. Then, remove any screws that are holding the panels in place. Once the screws are removed, carefully lift off the access panels and set them aside.

Clean the Interior Components

Using your soft bristle brush, gently brush away any dirt or debris from the inside of the unit. Be careful not to damage any of the delicate components. Once you have brushed away all the debris, use your hose to rinse away any remaining dirt. You can use compressed air instead of water, but do not use acidic cleaners.

Clean the Fins on Your Air Conditioner Coils

You can then begin cleaning the fins on your condenser coils. The AC condenser coils are made from copper or aluminum coils. Use a hose with a spray nozzle to rinse away any debris from the AC coils. Be careful to not bend any pins on the evaporator coil. If you do, use a fin straightener brush to straighten them again.

Replace the Access Panel and Filters

Once you have finished cleaning the interior of the unit, replace the access panel and any filters that you removed. Be sure to screw the access panel back in place so that it is secure.

Turn on the Power

Finally, turn the power back on to the unit. You should now be able to enjoy clean, cool air!

Using an AC Coil Cleaner

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If you find that your air conditioner is still not working properly after following the steps above, you may need to use an AC coil cleaner. This can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label and your air conditioner should be good as new!

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Conditioner?

You should aim to clean your air conditioner at least once a year. However, if you live in an area with high humidity or if you have pets, you may need to clean it more frequently. If you notice that your air conditioner is not working as well as it should, be sure to give it a good cleaning.

How Often Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner Filter?

Most air conditioner filters should be replaced at least once every three months. However, if you live in an area with high humidity or if you have pets, you may need to replace it more frequently. If you notice that your air conditioner is not working as well as it should, be sure to check the filter and replace it if necessary.


By following these tips, you can keep your air conditioner in top shape and ensure that your home is always comfortable. Good luck and happy cleaning!

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