How toTech

How to Clean an AC That Works in a Humid Environment 

Whether you live in the Northern Hemisphere, or if you are currently situated in the still wintery Southern Hemisphere, come summertime and the AC becomes your new best friend. Depending on your region’s climate, you might be tempted to keep your AC switched on throughout the summer season. However, the abuse can take a toll on your machine and reduce its performance competency due to the build-up of dust and debris. In fact, a clogged air filter can impede your unit’s flow of air thus making it work harder. 

Needless to say, this is unhealthy for your AC, as it not only reduces your unit’s efficiency but may even threaten its life expectancy and cause permanent damage. For this reason, you should make cleaning your AC a regular habit, especially if your unit works in a humid environment. However, there is a technique for cleaning your AC, and here is all you need to know.


Turn Off the Power

It goes without saying, meddling with electricity can be very dangerous even when you know exactly what it is you are doing. With that said, before you make any attempt to clean your AC unit, make sure you have it turned off. You are even required to turn off the power at the breaker box. This is a crucial first step that helps prevent accidents from occurring.

Remove Debris

Depending on how long your unit has gone without receiving proper care or attention, you might find that the debris build-up is sticking out deep from inside your AC. Start by removing the dust and debris that is visible on the exterior before delving deep into the interior. Before you proceed, make sure you have a screwdriver or wrench in your possession. Either one of these tools will be used to remove the screws or fasteners attaching the fan grill or cage to the unit. Once you have cracked the machine open, get down to business, and start cleaning the interior. You may choose to clean the unit’s interior by hand or with a dry/wet vacuum.


Clean AC Fins

Back to the exterior, if your unit has not previously undergone a thorough cleaning it is absolutely exigent to the cleaning process that you focus your attention on the fins. Traditionally you should proceed by removing the outer covers of your AC. Afterward, you will need to use a brush attachment on a vacuum so as to remove the outside dirt in its entirety. Spray water using a hose through the AC fins in order to reach into the areas of your unit that are inaccessible. However, it is important to remain cautious of the water pressure, as anything other than a gentle stream can cause permanent damage to your AC unit. Note that you may use a dedicated fin cleaning spray, which is available at home improvement stores.

Fins Should Be Straight

Your AC fins should be kept straight at all times since dents can strongly reduce the machine’s efficiency. During this step, it is important that you approach with caution, as to not cause any damage to your unit’s fins. Ideally, you will need to use a fin straightening tool. However, should you not possess such a tool, a butter knife will suffice.


Clean Around Unit

After straightening the AC fins you need to replace the fan’s grill and start cleaning the surrounding area of the unit. This helps prevent debris from building and piling up in the future. Look to create at least 2 feet of clear space. Additionally, experts advise AC users to cover the top of the unit during colder months when the AC is not needed in order to prevent debris from falling in. However, it is important not to cover the sides completely as this could lead to future complications with your AC unit.

Unit Should Be Levelled

A crucial part of the cleaning process pertains to leveling the unit itself, which helps elongate the AC’s life. A common problem that usually happens over time involves having the pad upon which the unit is seated to tip, which is usually the result of the soil settling beneath it. The compressor then becomes susceptible to premature failure on the condition that the condenser unit is an out-of-level unit. 

To reverse such an outcome it is best you use rot-resistant shims to bring the unit back to a steady and neutral level. Note that leveling your unit is not an easy task and may require the involvement of expert technicians and/or engineers. With 25 years’ worth of experience, the servicing and repair professionals from stress the need to perform preventative servicing and maintenance to avoid serious complications from arising. Therefore it is strongly recommended that you seek the services of an experienced technician, as they are capable of spotting mistakes you might have made. Although you should make sure the technicians are fully accredited, otherwise the service may come short and prove to be disappointing.

Source: King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

Turn Your Attention to the Evaporator Coil

After finishing all previous steps, it is now time to turn your attention to the evaporator coil, which is situated on the inside of the furnace/blower unit. You will need to locate the evaporator coil door and may be required to remove some screws and the foil duct tape. Once you get inside, proceed by cleaning the coil with a soft brush. Afterward, look to spray the area with a no-rinse coil cleaner, which is commercially available. Seeing as the no-rinse coil cleaner may produce foam, which will likely drip in the drain pan, followed by cleaning the drain pan with hot water and soap. Note that you may need to add a little bleach as well. Typically, the bleach, hot water and soap solution should drain easily, bringing to an end this process.

All in all, the process of cleaning an AC is a task that is easily completed, on the condition that you follow these steps carefully. Upon completion, simply turn the power back on and enjoy the new and improved cool air produced by your clean AC. And remember, it is highly advisable that you regularly perform preventative servicing and maintenance, otherwise serious complications will be in the offing, as it ceases to be a matter of if, but a matter of when.

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