Tip & How-To about Heating & Cooling

Window Air Conditioners - Clean them every year

The Window Air Conditioner that you bought last year is not performing like it did when it was new. What can you do to get the slightly cool to cold again? Cleaning the air conditioner may be the answer. I will go over the best ways that I have found to do that.

First off let me tell you that you should never try to clean your window air conditioner while it is still in the window. If it is a large unit, then pull the chassis out of the tin box and take it outside or someplace where you can put the water to it with out hurting anything. If it is a small unit, then the whole thing will need to be removed and carried to a location where you can wash it out.

Now that you have the window air conditioner out of the window, you can get to work. On small units you may need to remove some screws to get the cover off. You need to be able to get to the coil with all those fins both inside and out. The outside coil is the most important. The inside coil usually can only be accessed from the one side. Remove the filter and was it or replace it. This is a very critical part of the unit. It will help to keep the indoor coil clean. If it is very dirty it will also hinder the air flow through it and reduce the capacity of the unit.

Get a good degreaser or coil cleaner. Most any good quality household detergent will work also. A garden sprayer will work very well for both spraying on the cleaner and also to wash the coils after they are cleaned. I usually stay away from using a garden hose. The pressure from many houses is strong enough the bend the fragile fins in of the coils. If this happens you will need to straighten them. This can become very time consuming. Wet the coils with plain water first. The spray on the coil cleaner and let it soak for awhile. Then wash off the dirt by spray water from both sides. try to wash as much of the dirt as possible from the coils. Air is constantly going through the coils when the unit is running which deposits and traps dirt in the coils. It can take some time to get the dirt to release and wash away. Your patience with cleaning will be worth the time and effort. A soft brush can also be used, but take care not to bend the fins.

After the coils are cleaned, check the motor for oil holes. These are usually on the top at each end of the motor. The holes have little passages down to the motor bearings. Add just a couple of drops of oil to each hole. The oil will work flow down to the bearings to lubricate them and prolong the life of your motor. Oil for small motors can be found in many hardware stores. If you can find the oil that has a long pull out spout on the bottle, that works best.

Now you just need to put everything back together the way it came apart. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Hopefully you have good notes and a good memory! Replace the filter with the wash one or a new one. Place the unit or the unit chassis back in the window and you are goods to go! Give the unit a few hours to dry before plugging it in. Water and electricity do not get along well. You can speed the drying process up with a hair dryer if you are in a hurry.

Now you have a clean window air conditioner that should perform just like it did the day you got in out of the box. Regular cleanings and oiling will help your window air conditioner to give you many trouble free years of service. This cleaning should be done at least once per year. In very warm or dirty environments you will find that it may be helpful to do this more often. You will also find that the more times you do this the easier it gets. Have fun with this and good luck! Work should always be fun!

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