Here's The Right Way To Clean Your Air Conditioner

For some reason, it seems as though one only worries about the health of their air conditioner in the middle of July when the temperatures are at their most excruciatingly hot. Whether you have central air conditioning or a simple window unit, your air conditioning system requires maintenance in order to keep you cool through the warmest seasons. Aside from cleaning your air conditioner to ensure that it is running properly, as it turns out, you'll also be saving yourself from experiencing severe allergies. As allergist Dr. Maria Garcia-Lloret told The New York Times, small particles like pollen, mold spores, pollutants, and dust mites can actually get trapped in the filter in your air conditioner — meaning that these irritants are being blown back at you all day long. In fact, according to Dr. Garcia-Lloret, exposure to the mold spores growing on your dirty air conditioner could cause long-term issues with allergies.

For starters, those who have central air conditioning or ductless air conditioning should be calling on an experienced HVAC technician to perform maintenance and cleaning their systems at least twice a year, according to Conditioned Air. It is especially important to get your dirty evaporator and condenser coils cleaned as dirty coils can increase the energy usage of your air conditioning system by over 30 percent, thus costing you more to cool your home.

Here's how to clean your air conditioner on your own

Can't afford to hire an HVAC professional to check out your air conditioner? Those who have central air conditioning can still clean the system's filters and coils without an HVAC professional. According to Real Simple, you can simply swap out dusty filters with new filters in your air conditioning system every one to two months. Dave Mejean, HVAC manager at B&W Plumbing and Heating Co., Inc., also detailed how to clean an air conditioning system's coils to Real Simple. "Take a look at the unit and see if there's any dirt, grass clippings, or other debris blocking the exterior fins," Mejean told Real Simple. "Turn off the unit and carefully spray it down with a hose, making sure not to get the electrical box wet."

To clean your portable or window air conditioning unit, simply take off the front panel and remove the filter to vacuum the debris off the filter. Then, wash the filter with warm, soapy water before placing it back inside the air conditioner. After washing the filter, wipe down the grill and exterior of the air conditioning unit with warm water and mild detergent, dust off the fins and coils with a fin comb or soft-bristle brush and a spray of condensed air from a can, according to CNET. Finish off the cleaning of your portable or window air conditioner by emptying the drip tray, clearing the drain, reassembling your unit, and cleaning the surface of the air conditioner.