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How often should you clean your air conditioner

Experts recommend cleaning the indoor unit of the air conditioner every 2-4 weeks. This is important so that the air filters are not clogged with dust and dirt, and the device effectively cools the air in the room.

It is enough to service the outdoor unit of the split system once or twice a year.

How do you know when it’s time to clean your air conditioner?

Here are the signs that clearly indicate that the split system is dirty:

  • There was an unusual noise, the air conditioner began to buzz and crackle during operation.
  • After switching on, you feel an unpleasant, musty smell.
  • The room temperature began to decrease more slowly than before.
  • Increased electricity consumption.

There is an important point here. If you are not a split system maintenance specialist, then it makes sense to carry out only superficial cleaning: tidy up the air filters of the air conditioner, remove dust from the radiator and fan, and wash the case.

A more thorough processing of the same radiator, fan, drainage system and other deeply located elements should be entrusted to specialists. Otherwise, there is a risk that the air conditioner will fail.

How to clean the indoor unit of the air conditioner

What you need

  • Rubber gloves.
  • A vacuum cleaner.
  • Dishwashing sponge or soft cloth.
  • Microfiber cloth.
  • Soap: liquid or bar soap.
  • A special tool – a spray for cleaning air conditioners.

What to do

Find out what filters you have

This is indicated in the instructions for your split system model. You can only clean reusable mesh filters, like these:

Air conditioner mesh filters can be cleaned
Mesh filters of the conditioner. Photo: photopixel / Shutterstock

Disposable filters cannot be cleaned: they are simply changed when they become clogged with dust. How often this should be done is also indicated in the instructions.

Remove filters

Unplug the air conditioner from the outlet. Lift the cover of the split system – the desired element is located directly below it.

Washable mesh filters are curved plates. They need to be pulled out. This can usually be done by lifting the filter slightly and then gently pulling it towards you and down.

Pull out the air conditioner filters to clean
Frames: Russian Hobby / YouTube

In order not to make a mistake, follow the user instructions.

How to remove disposable filters is indicated there. Mounting systems may be different, but in any case, it is very easy to pull the element out of the air conditioner.

Clean filters or prepare new ones

With disposable filters, you can simply shake out the dust. Or immediately replace with new ones if they look very dirty or have expired.

Reusable must be washed. This is done in a certain sequence.

Vacuum the filters first.

How to clean your air conditioner: Vacuum the filters
Frames: How? Semenych will show / YouTube

Then rinse in cool running water, gently removing dirt with a sponge. Pay special attention to corners and edges.

If the filter still looks dirty, you can soak it in soapy water for 20-30 minutes. To do this, combine a few drops of liquid soap or a teaspoon of soap chips with 5-6 liters of warm water. Please note: you can immerse the filter in the mixture only if the instructions allow it.

After soaking, rinse the part thoroughly under running water again. Wipe with an absorbent microfiber cloth and leave to dry. Dry the filters only naturally. Never use a hair dryer or place parts on the battery.

Clean the interior of the split system

Vacuum the exposed indoor unit of the air conditioner.

How to clean the air conditioner: Vacuum the open indoor unit
Frames: How? Semenych will show / YouTube

Use a soft cloth to remove the remaining dirt from all accessible places.

To disinfect the split system and create a protective film on its parts, use an air conditioner cleaner. How to use it is usually indicated on the package. In some cases, manufacturers suggest spraying the contents of the can onto the internal elements of an open air conditioner, wait 20-30 minutes and then turn on the split system, activating the ventilation mode, for 3-5 minutes.

Spray the inside of the air conditioner to clean it
Frames: Russian Hobby / YouTube

According to other recommendations, it is necessary to set the recirculation mode, and spray the cleaning agent in front of the suction zone.

Set filters

If you have strainers, make sure they are completely dry. Before installation, they can be treated with the same cleaning spray – again, if this is allowed in the instructions for the air conditioner.

After 10-15 minutes, replace the elements and close the lid.

Reinstall the filters after cleaning the air conditioner
Frames: Russian Hobby / YouTube

After that, turn on the split system by selecting the ventilation mode for another 5-7 minutes.

If you have disposable filters, immediately install them in the block.

Wash the body outside

Having dealt with the internal cleaning, disconnect the air conditioner from the mains again and wash its body from the outside using a damp cloth. Pay special attention to the opening shutters at the bottom of the device.

Check the operation of the air conditioner

Run the cleaned and fully assembled device in cooling mode and evaluate its performance.

If you continue to hear a hum and feel an unpleasant smell, then the air conditioner needs professional care, including the use of special tools and steam cleaners. Only specialists can safely use such devices.

How to clean the outdoor unit of the air conditioner

This is not always possible. If you live in a high-rise and the outdoor unit of the air conditioner is located on the outer wall, it is better not to risk it. For preventive cleaning in this case, call the master.

What you need

  • Rubber gloves.
  • Screwdriver Set.
  • A vacuum cleaner.
  • Sponge for washing dishes.
  • Microfiber wipes.
  • Warm soapy water.
  • Spray container.
  • Basin with clean warm water.

What to do

Disassemble the block

Disconnect the split system from the power supply. Remove the top cover of the air conditioner. Usually it is fixed on self-tapping screws, so use a screwdriver of a suitable size.

Remove the cover of the air conditioner to clean it
Frames: Vitaly Dashko / YouTube

You also need to unhook the grate that covers the fan.

Clean the outdoor unit inside

Vacuum all surfaces that you can reach thoroughly. Dust residues that have accumulated in the corners, on the pallet or inaccessible parts, brush off with a dry cloth.

Apply soapy water to the inside surfaces of the block. It is convenient to do this from a plastic spray bottle. Wait 10-15 minutes for the dirt to dissolve and wipe the parts with a damp sponge or cloth. Be prepared that you will have to rinse the fabric several times in clean water.

Wash the outdoor unit from the outside

Use the same soap solution and a sponge or cloth to thoroughly wash the exterior surfaces of the air conditioner. Remove foam with clean water. Then wipe the surface with a dry cloth.

Assemble the outdoor unit

Make sure the block is dry both inside and out. Then reinstall the dry and clean fan grille and top cover.