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How to clean your window air conditioner



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Having a window air conditioner is a life saver during the hottest months of the year, but all that heavy use can really take its toll on your AC unitTo keep your window air conditioner in good working order, it is important to clean it regularly.

Keeping your air conditioner clean will prevent mold and mildew from growing inside and get more long-term value from your appliance. In addition, a well-maintained window air conditioning unit uses less energy than a dirty one.

However, cleaning a window air conditioner can seem daunting if you̵

7;ve never done this before. Fortunately, the process is not as complicated as it may seem. The following tips will help you keep your AC unit clean, functional and energy efficient.

Gather your materials

You need a few things from around the house to give your air conditioner a thorough clean. Before you get started, grab the following materials:

  • Warm water
  • Mild soap or detergent
  • Reusable cloth
  • Drip tray to place under your unit
  • Spray bottle filled with 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Fin comb or brush with soft bristles
  • Compressed air
  • Screwdriver

1. Clean the filter

Cleaning the filter in your window’s AC unit is the most important thing you can do to keep it running smoothly. It is a good idea to wash the filter monthly, even if you are not cleaning the entire appliance. Here’s how to do it.

First make sure your air conditioner is unplugged, then remove the front panel and remove the filter. If it is covered with dust or hair, use a vacuum cleaner to clean up as much dirt as possible. From there, wash your filter with warm soapy water and let it dry. Wait for it to dry completely before putting it back into your window AC unit.

It’s also a good idea to change your air conditioner’s filter regularly. The exact frequency will depend on how much you use your AC and environmental factors, but you should try to replace your filter every six weeks to six months.

2. Wipe the grill and the exterior

While your filter is drying, wash the grill with warm water and a mild detergent. Or if you don’t want to wash it, you can use a damp, reusable cloth to wipe it off instead – be sure to clean properly between the openings where air comes out. Let it dry completely before reattaching.

After you’ve cleaned the grill, wipe the top and sides of the air conditioner. Make sure to get into small spaces where dirt and dust can easily collect. Wait until the grill and exterior are completely dry before running the appliance.

3. Dust the fins and rinse

Now it is time to roll up your sleeves and get into your air conditioning unit. You don’t need to dust the fins and coils every time you clean your air conditioner, but most manufacturers recommend doing this quarterly or biannually.

First, take a fin comb or soft brush and gently comb the aluminum fins in your air conditioner. Take your time during this process as the fins bend easily and can be sharp. If you notice curved fins, gently slide them back into place.

Then squirt your can of condensed air into the unit to dust off the coils. You need to be as thorough as possible to remove any debris that could be causing your device to malfunction.


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4. Clean the container and let it drain

Clean the interior of your window A / C unit by emptying the drip tray and draining the drain. To remove debris or dirty water from your bin, grab a wet-dry vacuum cleaner (if you have one) or a damp cloth and pull out whatever has collected in it. Let it dry before reassembling.

Finally, check the drain to see if it is blocked by anything. Use your cloth to wipe the opening and make sure there is a clear path for the water to exit your unit.

5. Reassemble the unit and spray the cleaner on

After you’ve cleaned and dried everything, it’s time to reassemble your window air conditioner and give it a final spray to keep mold from growing.

Get your hydrogen peroxide spray bottle and apply the solution to the areas where air is flowing in and out. Wait for the peroxide to dry before using your device – and you’re done! Not only do you breathe cleaner and colder air, but you also extend the life of your air conditioner.

Final tips

In addition to regular cleaning, there are other steps you can take to keep your air conditioner in good working order. For example, take it out of your window and store it indoors during the winter months or when you are not using it for a longer period of time.

If this seems like more work than you’re willing to do, you can always hire a professional to clean your window air conditioner for you. To find someone, ask your friends and family for referrals or contact reputable service providers in your area.

But whether you decide to call in an expert or clean the appliance yourself, make sure to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Clean your filter at least monthly and spray your appliance with hydrogen peroxide to prevent mold.

For more information on choosing the right air conditioner for your home, check out CNET’s comprehensive coverage on this topic:


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