How to clean an air conditioner at home – DIY cleaning rules for air conditioners

Do-it-yourself air conditioner cleaning at homeThe coolness that the air conditioner gives in the blistering summer heat is comparable to an oasis in the desert. It is difficult to do without these household appliances in the summer in central Russia, and even more so in the southern regions. But in the absence of proper care, the air conditioner, in addition to coolness, can bring many health problems, which is why it is so important to clean it in a timely manner, based on the attached instructions, as well as being guided by the general rules for cleaning equipment.

The content of the article:

  1. When and why should the air conditioner be cleaned?
  2. Cleaning the indoor unit of the air conditioner
  3. How to clean the indoor unit – instructions
  4. Cleaning the external compressor block

When and why to clean the air conditioner – the dangers of dirty equipment and signs that cleaning is already necessary

Every air conditioner needs regular cleaning.

Oddly enough, not everyone knows about this, and many owners of this household appliance believe that, apart from refueling with freon, the air conditioner does not need anything (and they only learn about that when the device stops cooling the air).

But the air conditioner, which “just hangs for itself,” in a year (or even earlier) becomes the source of numerous problems:

  • The microclimate in the house is deteriorating.
  • Dust, mold and fungus settled in the technique spread through the air throughout the house, causing various diseases.
  • The operation of the device itself deteriorates due to dirt and dust on the internal elements and dust.
  • The efficiency of the equipment decreases and the energy consumption increases.
  • The wear and tear of the split system accelerates and the risk of breakage increases.

And if buying a new air conditioner when the device breaks down is not a very serious problem (although the cost of air conditioners today may become too high for many), then you should definitely think about your health.

The most “popular” diseases caused by an air conditioner that is not cleaned in time include …

  1. Bronchial asthma.
  2. Allergy development.
  3. SARS, laryngeal edema and bronchitis.
  4. Pneumonia. Particularly dangerous is pneumonia, which develops under the influence of legionella – pests that affect the respiratory system in a short time and provoke a disease that is extremely difficult to determine and treat.
  5. Dry eye syndrome.
  6. Dry skin.
  7. Fatigue and headaches.

To avoid such risks, it is recommended that at least once a month or two clean the air conditioner filters.

As for the rest of the details and deep “overhaul” cleaning of the device, it all depends on the specific recommendations of the manufacturer.

However, general terms for all air conditioners still exist:

  • Filter cleaning: 1 time in 1-3 months.
  • Deep cleaning of the indoor unit – Once every 6 months: before spring and after the end of intensive use (that is, in autumn).
  • Cleaning the outdoor unit – Once every 1-3 years, if the device hangs at the level of the 1-2nd floor. The external block of the apparatus located at the level of the 8-10th floor, as a rule, does not need cleaning.

The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 7-12 years with proper care and maintenance.

Timely cleaning and prophylaxis of the device will allow you to develop the resource of equipment without repairs, nerves and consequences.

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

Your device definitely needs urgent care if …

  1. The air conditioner has ceased to “cool”.
  2. Incomprehensible sounds are heard from the device, which are uncharacteristic for it (crackling, etc.).
  3. You notice an unpleasant odor in the room.
  4. Water is dripping from the internal (not external!) Unit.
  5. The power of the apparatus decreases, and energy consumption increases.
  6. Mold has started in the technique.

If this option is yours, and you have no idea from which side to approach the cleaning of the device, then you have 2 options – to figure it out on your own – or to call professionals.

Video: How to clean the air conditioner with your own hands?

Cleaning the indoor unit of the air conditioner

Any split system consists of 2 blocks.

The indoor unit contains:

  • Filters.
  • Drainage system.
  • Front Panel.
  • Control system.
  • Heat exchanger with radiator.

In the external block:

  • Filter and capacitor.
  • Compressor.
  • Valves with which freon moves.
  • Fan.

On a note:

The air conditioner cannot produce cold – it only transfers heat with the help of a refrigerant from the street to the house or vice versa, as when the mode is turned on to heat the room. During cooling, the freon evaporates and the refrigerant leaves the compressor.

How do you clean your air conditioner?

We clean the internal block of the device in several stages, having previously disconnected the device from the network!

Cleaning the filters

It is recommended to carry out it every 3-4 weeks, and under certain conditions of severe pollution – even more often.

The filter is a fine mesh that is located under the panel of the device. It is through it that air is sucked into the equipment.

  1. Remove the cover of the indoor unit.
  2. We carefully remove the filter.
  3. We rinse it under warm water without using hard washcloths and heavy chemical artillery. Hot water, bleaches with abrasives, solvents are also prohibited. It is recommended to immerse the filter in a bowl of ordinary soapy water for 5 minutes, and then rinse it with a stream of warm water.
  4. Dry without hot air exposure.
  5. We return back.

Do-it-yourself air conditioner cleaning at home

Rotary turbine cleaning

It is usually cleaned in the fall or based on the degree of contamination.

  • Remove the cover of the indoor unit.
  • We carefully remove the filter.
  • Using a brush with long bristles, apply soapy water to the blades and forget about the apparatus for 5-6 minutes.
  • We put polyethylene under the diffuser grill and start the turbine. This blows dirt and debris out of the rotor onto the floor.
  • Next, once again carefully remove the remnants of dirt from the parts.
  • We put the filter back, close the lid.

Cleaning the evaporator grill

This part is a system of pipes, in which the evaporation of freon occurs directly.

If at the time of cleaning you noted the presence of rust on metal parts, it means that you urgently need to contact the service center (look for it in the documents issued when purchasing the device).

Cleaning the evaporator grill is recommended in the spring – before starting the air conditioner.

The use of metal brushes for cleaning is prohibited.

  1. Remove the cover of the indoor unit.
  2. Next, remove the front grill that covers the heat exchanger.
  3. With the help of a brush, carefully and as accurately as possible, we clean off the dirt and dust, which we immediately remove with a vacuum cleaner with a special nozzle.

Important: in case of serious contamination of this part of the air conditioner, it will not be possible to do without a steam generator. In this case, it is recommended to contact a specialist.

Drainage cleaning

An extremely important part of the technique, stagnation in which provokes the growth of mold and mildew.

In addition, blockages in the tubes lead to device breakdown. It is recommended to wash the drain pan to remove dirt and moisture regularly!

There are several cleaning options:

  • Light degree of pollution: wash with clean water or with the addition of soap (you can also use dishwashing liquid). The liquid will enter the drain on its own – through the heat exchanger.
  • In case of blockages or heavy deposits of dirt in the tube: we disconnect the drainage, blow through the pipeline with a vacuum cleaner.
  • At the maximum level of contamination: complete disassembly of the air conditioner with flushing of the pipeline along its entire length.


After complete cleaning of the indoor unit, perform antibacterial cleaning:

  1. We turn on the device at full power.
  2. We select the mode – cooling.
  3. We spray inside a special spray intended for cleaning air conditioners.

How to clean the internal and external block of a split system?

Cleaning the external compressor block of the split system and air conditioner – what can you do with your own hands?

Speaking about the outdoor unit of the air conditioner, it is worth noting that most often and most intensively this outer part of the system is contaminated with fluff from trees, dust, sand and other dirt when it is located on the lower floors of houses.

It becomes even more polluted if the outdoor unit is on the motorway side of the house.

Naturally, these contaminants do not pass without leaving a trace for the air conditioner: the work of parts slows down, heat exchange is disturbed, the refrigerant stops cooling fully, parts wear out, etc.

Therefore, cleaning the outdoor unit is necessary – although not as often as for the filters.

Mechanical flushing of the outdoor unit is usually sufficient:

  • Disconnect the device from the network.
  • Remove the outer casing (made of metal).
  • Remove coarse debris with a brush.
  • Using a vacuum cleaner, we remove plaque on inaccessible parts (approx. – or by blowing with a compressor).
  • We carefully clean the fan blades.
  • We rinse the entire plate condenser with a powerful jet of water (approx. – a steam generator unit).
  • We dry the parts (by natural drying) and return them back.

It is important that moisture does not get into the electrical unit during cleaning!

Deep cleaning of the internal system of the device should be carried out by specialists if you are incompetent in this matter (any violation can lead to equipment breakdown).

In addition, not everyone is able to flush the outdoor unit. Moreover, if it is located above the first floor and far from the window.

How to clean the internal module of an air conditioner, split systems yourself – step-by-step instructions and video

Video: We disassemble the indoor unit of the air conditioner for cleaning

Air conditioning and split system – is there a difference?

In fact, the difference is insignificant. And the designs of both devices are almost the same, and there is no difference in the cleaning scheme, with the exception of specific nuances.

Split system has a wider “package” of benefits and functions. It has a higher power and low noise level, cools the air faster, is capable of ionizing and humidifying the air, and can also be located on any surface in the room.

Regardless of the characteristics of the equipment, it is important to remember the following recommendations when cleaning the air conditioner:

  1. We use products and tools that are made specifically for cleaning air conditioners (special brushes and sprays).
  2. We call specialists to clean the outdoor unit. We also call them in case of any doubts about cleaning the indoor unit (with the exception of filters, which can be easily removed even by a person ignorant of technical issues).
  3. It is recommended to entrust the first cleaning to professionals. Firstly, the cleaning will be carried out using a steam generator, and secondly, you will see how to properly clean your equipment.
  4. For cleaning and daily use, refer to the instructions for the device.
  5. Do not wipe the parts after cleaning and do not dry them with hair dryers – they must dry on their own!
  6. Do not turn on your device in the middle of winter without a specific set of work corresponding to this adaptation process.
  7. Clean the filters regularly – this will save the remaining parts of the indoor unit from rapid contamination.

Periodically spend disinfection of the indoor unit using special antiseptics or alcohol solutions. It is carried out with the filter removed: the device is set to the minimum temperature and maximum blowdown mode, and the agent is sprayed into the air intake area until the solution drains. Next, you need to remove the remnants of this agent from the tubes and the body itself.

The website thanks you for your attention to the article – we hope it was useful to you. Please share your feedback and advice with our readers!

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