Window air conditioner cleaning: how to do it quarterly to avoid air con
Note from Webmaster
Phillip Fry: The following article written by
Donald Grummett of Ottawa, Canada-based
MG Appliance Repair Services is really excellent and very much in depth
in its explanation of how to clean the inside of a window air conditioner.
You should clean the inside of each of your window air conditioners at least
every three months, including the beginning and the end of your air
conditioning usage season. If you don’t do quarterly cleaning, each of your
window air conditioners will become a very productive mold factory that
continually throws airborne mold spores out into your breathing air. One
additional suggestion I would add to this “how to” masterpiece by Mr.
Grummet is that after you have cleaned each part and each area inside the
air conditioner, spray the part and area with a complete wet coating of 6%
strength hydrogen peroxide to kill any remaining mold spores. You can buy 6%
strength peroxide at most pharmacies. Thanks----Phillip
Here is Mr. Grummett’s step by step cleaning explanation---
Very little is required to clean a window air conditioner, except lots of
patience. If patience is something you lack then it is a job you should turn
over to the local appliance serviceman.
can or container (old muffin tin works well also)
handled brush (an old toilet brush works well)
De-greaser or spray detergent
Selection of screwdrivers (Philips, Flat bladed, 1/4″ socket head)
filter (if disposable type)
Conditioner Cleaning Procedure
Start by removing the filter from the front grille. If it is a disposable
type simply replace it with a new one. Other types are made in a plastic
frame and can be cleaned and reused. To clean a reusable type lay it flat in
the sink and sprinkle surface with laundry detergent. Then cover with about
one inch of hot water. Just enough so the filter is submerged. Soak for 15
minutes. Remove from water and rinse with warm water. Hang up to dry while
proceeding to next step.
Next, remove the front grille from the main body of the air conditioner.
They usually pivot on 2 spring clips at the bottom. It is usually removed by
pulling the grille gently forward while pushing it down at the same time. If
there is resistance then look for hidden screws. Look near the top edge of
the grille or behind the control knob door. Once removed place the grille
aside until later.
Carefully remove metal cover of air conditioner to expose inner workings.
Once all the screws are removed lift the cover straight up. Do not let it
hit the other parts as it can have sharp edges.
is where the old can comes in handy (ice cube container or muffin tin works
well also). Use it to keep track of all the screws you will be removing. An
air conditioner will often use a number of different types and sizes of
screws. Segregate them from each other or confusion will result when we
Check the fan motor for any oil holes or oil plugs. If the motor has oil
plugs they are usually rubber. Use caution when removing because the rubber
may have become brittle. Often they will break off in the oil holes
resulting in a blockage. If this occurs try to remove the broken plug by
using a pin, or the tip of a small screwdriver.
the fan motor oil holes are exposed add a few drops of oil to each end of
the motor body. Use a general purpose (3in1) oil or clean motor oil. A #30
oil is sufficient.
natural tendency is to over-oil. Too much lubrication is as bad as not
enough. Therefore only 3 or 4 drops on both ends of the motor body is
sufficient. Add the oil slowly, pausing a few seconds between each drop. If
you add it too quickly over-lubrication will result.
Use the brush to remove surface dust and dirt from the evaporator (front
fins). Use an up and down motion. Do not go side to side or allow the fins
to be bent over. The fins are very soft aluminum and can be easily damaged.
surface dirt is removed, spray with de-greaser or cleaner. There is a good
product on the market called HVAC cleaner. As the name implies it is meant
for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioner coil cleaning. If this is not
available Fantastic spray cleaner used in kitchens and bathrooms works quite
stand about 15 minutes or as per instructions on de-greaser can. This will
allow cleaner to loosen any hidden dirt. Remove dirt and excess cleaner by
slowly pouring warm water into fins. Do not allow the water to enter any
electrical connections or components that may be near the coil. As an added
precaution cover the motor with one of the cloth rags. to protect it from
use any form of high pressure air or water because this can drive dirt
farther into fins. Also, use extreme caution as these coils are filled with
high pressure refrigerant.
Straighten any bent fins. Use a fin comb if available. If no fin comb then
use something soft such as a Popsicle stick. Straightening the fins will
increase the efficiency of the air flow through the coils. This adds to the
overall cooling effect produced by the air conditioner.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the condenser (rear fins) coil. A plastic cowling
usually surrounds the condenser fins. If so, check the top edge to see if it
will lift or open. If it opens this will allow easier access to the
condenser fins. Again use caution because the condenser coil is also filled
with high pressure refrigerant.
Wipe any dirt buildup from both fan blades using a soft rag. Do not bend
blades. This would cause a vibration that would harm the motor.
Vacuum all surfaces including front and back of grille assembly. Do not
forget to vacuum underside of metal air conditioner cover. If the cover
contains air holes clean them thoroughly. If necessary use a damp rag. Also
use an old rag to remove any debris build-up from the base.
Drain any water left in the base and allow it to dry for few hours.
completely dry plug in air conditioner and test operation. If everything
appears okay unplug and reassemble.
reassembly is complete, retest operation to ensure replacing the cover has
not affected anything. Adding the cover will tend to twist the frame and can
cause interior parts to move out of alignment. This can cause the fan to
become noisy. To correct for this problem remove the cover and realign to
the main body of the air conditioner. Reinstall the cover and test for
noises every time 2 or 3 additional screws are added to the cover.
Finally, cover air conditioner with plastic wrap or an old blanket. Store in
a warm dry area. Raise it from floor slightly by placing onto a couple of
pieces of wood. This will protect the floor from the metal edges of the air
conditioner, and also protect the air conditioner from moisture.
this simple procedure yearly. If you do, the machine will be ready for many
more years of dependable service.