Keeping the air con in your home clean is important to maintain good air quality. The filters inside the units are built to catch microbes and dust, so when they’re not cleaned properly, they become clogged up, collecting moisture, which can then lead to mould. This can create an unhealthy environment in the home.
Air con keeps the air circulating freely indoors, making sure it’s clean and healthy. When it’s cleaned and maintained regularly you can relax, safe in the knowledge that you’re breathing in cleaner air.
As a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, when you turn a dirty AC unit on, the particles are blown into your home and contaminate the air – opening you up to various respiratory conditions and even asthma attacks. A dirty unit can also attract insects such as spiders, flies, cockroaches and dust mites that can leave droppings in the AC system, causing further contamination.
To prevent germs and pests from infiltrating your air-con, professional maintenance should be performed twice a year. Cleaning should be carried out more often than this. The standard recommendation for cleaning is three times a year, but this will depend on the environment in which the unit is installed.
Some aspects of cleaning are something the householder can do themselves. Other tasks need a professional to prevent safety risks and damaging the unit.
Benefits of cleaning
Regular cleaning and proper maintenance have further benefits – if you look after your unit well, this will also mean improved energy efficiency and lower running costs. The AC system will consume more power when dirty, because it’s being forced to work harder, thus increasing the running costs. On average, it can consume between 5% and 10% more electricity.
In the long run, a dirty unit can lead to problems such as parts failure. As dirt and dust gather, it will become harder to clean and the unit may be prone to overheating, as the evaporator coils will begin to struggle. A dirty unit can also be more prone to developing ice build-up, which ultimately can result in a breakdown.
If you haven’t had your AC cleaned and serviced in a while, it might be worth scheduling this in – failure to do so can lead to costly repairs in the future.
Clean the filters
If you’re planning to clean your air con, make sure you know what you’re doing first by reading the instruction leaflet. It will tell you how to access the air filters to clean them.
Most importantly, before you start the practical task of cleaning the air con, make sure it’s turned off at the wall. The air filters are the key components that require regular cleaning, as they can become extremely clogged. The dirtier they are, the tougher they are to clean.
It’s normally simple to pop open the plastic cover and remove the filter. There may be more than one filter, so open all the covers. Aim to clean them three times a year at the very least. A good time for a clean is in spring, so you’re all ready to go for summer, the peak season. Then, after heavy use in the summer, clean the system again in the autumn.
Once you have removed the filters, take them outside to shake off excess dirt and dust. Use a small, soft brush to clean them further – you can even vacuum them using your vacuum cleaner’s soft brush head attachment.
When the filters are particularly dirty, wash them in warm water mixed with a mild detergent. Rinse clean and dry thoroughly before putting them back into the air conditioning unit.
Check the instruction manual before you attempt to remove the AC’s louvres to clean them – the blades that direct the airflow. Thoroughly clean the blades and also the space behind them in the AC unit, either with a dry cloth, or the vacuum cleaner if there’s enough space.
The condenser coils need cleaning occasionally by removing the housing from the indoor and outdoor units to access them. However, this isn’t a job that a householder should tackle. This job needs to be carried out by a professional.
Attempting to clean the condenser coils yourself could void your warranty, or inadvertently damage components, letting the refrigerant gas leak into the atmosphere. There could also be electrical safety hazards if you try a DIY clean.
A specialist will test the thermostat, check the refrigerant gas levels and ensure all the internal parts are in good condition.
There are numerous different types of AC units and the principle of regular cleaning and maintenance is the same for all of them – look after your AC and your AC will look after you!
If you have split system air conditioning, clean the filter screens in the indoor unit twice a year, replacing them if necessary. You may need to do this more frequently if your air-con is always on, or if you live in a particularly dusty environment.
You will know when something is amiss if you experience a marked drop in performance. Wipe down the ducts or vents and the indoor unit with a soft cloth. If there is anything more complex to be done, always ask a professional, mainly for safety reasons, but also to minimise the risk of damaging the system.
This is a good time of year to clean your air conditioning system since you won’t be using it as often now we’re rapidly going into winter.
Dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of innovative AC solutions, GREE UK is the world’s largest air conditioning manufacturer. If you have any queries regarding the proper maintenance and upkeep of your system, please contact us.