You Should Clean Your Home’s Air Conditioner (Unless You Like Losing Money)

April 21, 2015

House cleaned? Check.

Car washed? Check.

Air conditioner cleaned...wait, what?

Yes, your central air conditioning system needs cleaning at least once a year to keep it energy efficient (aka, not throwing money down the drain).

So what exactly needs cleaning on an air conditioner? How do you clean it?

We’ll explain all that.

But first, let’s explain why cleaning your air conditioning system is super important for energy efficiency.

Why your AC needs cleaning

Basically, if your AC system is dirty, it can’t do it’s job properly.

But what is that job? Simple: to be a heat sponge. That is, it absorbs heat from your indoor air (cooling it as a result) and dumps that heat outside.

To accomplish this, it has 2 units that work together:

  1. The indoor unit (absorbs the heat)

  2. The outdoor unit (dumps the heat outside) 

These 2 units are what need cleaning. If they’re dirty, they work inefficiently, costing you money.

Now that we’ve given you an overview of what needs cleaning, let’s focus on what you can clean and what needs a professional’s touch.

What you can clean: the outdoor unit

Since the outdoor unit is, well, outdoors, it get pretty dusty and dirty. Dirt, dust and grass clippings block airflow, making it harder for the outdoor unit to disperse heat from the refrigerant.

Think of it like you’re trying to cool off while wearing a sweater—not easy.

How to clean the outdoor unit:

  1. Turn off the air conditioner at the circuit breaker (you don’t want to electrocute yourself).

  2. Remove any matted material (dirt, leaves, etc.) with a brush.

  3. Rinse the coil cleaner off with a water sprayer. One way to do this is to start from the top right on the side of the unit, then spray down going in rows (left to right) until you get to the bottom of the unit. 

  4. Turn the air conditioner back on at the circuit breaker.

WARNING: DO NOT use the water sprayer on a high setting. Doing so may bend the delicate coil fins.

What a professional must clean: indoor unit

Even though it’s indoors, the indoor unit can get plenty dirty if you forget to change your air filter.

When certain parts of the indoor unit (like the evaporator coil, the part that cools the air) get too dirty, it has trouble cooling your home’s air, increasing your energy bills as a result.

A professional needs to check out the indoor unit to see if it needs cleaning.

Most HVAC contractors will clean the inside unit as part of an annual maintenance visit (they’ll even clean the outside unit while they’re at it).

AC maintenance is legit service to keep your AC running efficiently. Even ENERGY STAR says you should, “Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups.“

Want your air conditioner cleaned to so you can save money?

Contact Advanced Air for professional AC maintenance.

Advanced Air has been serving Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Southwest Florida in Lee and Collier Counties for over 25 years.