Aside from the coils, it is recommended to clean the drip pan, drain line and filter regularly. For the drip pan, empty it and use a wet/dry vacuum or cloth to remove standing water and any debris that has collected inside.
To clean the drain line, open the PVC cap and remove any clogs. Then, rinse the drain line with warm soapy water and allow to dry completely.
Clean the Condensate Drain
The air conditioner drain line is responsible for releasing excess moisture that builds up inside of the unit. When this line becomes clogged, the system may shut off as it cannot release the excess water properly.
If this drain line is not cleaned regularly, it can also become a breeding ground for mildew and mold. As a result, it is important to clean the AC condensate drain at least once a year before starting up your cooling system again. Fortunately, this is a fairly simple DIY task that can be completed in just a few minutes.
To begin, you will need to locate the drain line itself. This is usually a PVC pipe near your outdoor air conditioning unit that connects to a drain pan. Make sure to use dry rags to remove any excess water from the drain pan before proceeding with the cleaning process.
Once you have located the drain line, you will need to remove the cap from its top. Take a look at the drain and try to find any obvious blockages such as hair or dirt that could be causing the problem. If you are unable to see any visible clogs, it is possible that you will need to take out the drain snake and attempt to break up the clog manually.
A good alternative to using a drain snake is to simply pour some vinegar into the drain. Vinegar will help to kill off any lingering bacteria or mold and can easily be rinsed away with a little water afterwards. After pouring in the vinegar, allow it to sit for about 30 minutes before flushing the line with water.
Another option is to blow out the drain line with compressed air. This is a great option if you don’t have a wet-dry vacuum and can be done with a bicycle pump or an air compressor. Just be careful not to apply too much pressure as this can cause the drain line to leak. If you are unable to remove the blockage with either of these methods, you will need to use a wet-dry vacuum or cut into the PVC piping and perform a more thorough cleaning.
Clean the Coils
Keeping the coils of your air conditioner clean is one of the most important preventative maintenance tasks you can do to keep it running efficiently. A dirty coil limits air flow, reduces efficiency and shortens the life of your AC unit. It also leads to a higher risk of expensive repairs, and makes your home less comfortable. Cleaning the coils can be an intimidating job, but it’s not difficult if you know how to do it.
The first step is to shut off power to the air conditioning system. Find the breaker near the indoor air handler or outside condenser and turn it off. Next, remove the top and side covers of the outdoor air conditioner and vacuum the coils to remove any dirt and debris. It’s best to wear gloves and eye protection while working with the coils to protect yourself from sharp edges and bent fins.
Once the coils are vacuumed, use a soft brush to remove light dirt buildup. Avoid brushes with hard bristles as they can damage the delicate coil fins. Once the dirt is removed, spray the coils with a non-toxic cleaner. There are several products available that are designed specifically for air conditioners, and there are even specific formulas for evaporator and condenser coils. The cleaning solution can then be rinsed off with a garden hose.
Be sure to check your AC manufacturer’s warranty before self-cleaning the coils. Many warranties require you to have the coils cleaned by a professional at least once every year. In addition to protecting your AC unit’s warranty, regular coil cleaning will ensure that your house stays cool and comfortable while saving money on energy bills. With a little time and effort, you can keep your air conditioner working like new for years to come. This is why it’s a good idea to learn how to clean the coils yourself as part of your preventative AC maintenance. This can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the lifetime of your air conditioner. It’s a worthwhile skill that you can easily learn to improve your home comfort while saving money on your energy bill.
Clean the Filter
Whether you have a whole-house system or a window unit, an air conditioner needs a filter to trap and collect dust, dirt, and other particles before they can circulate through your house. A dirty filter can cause the ducts to overheat and damage the unit, so it’s important that you clean it regularly. Here’s how to do it:
Start by vacuuming the filter with a handheld vacuum or a vacuum cleaner attachment. This should remove most of the visible dust and grime. If the filter is still clogged with debris, you can clean it by submerging it in a sink filled 50:50 with water and white vinegar. Allow the filter to soak for about an hour, then rinse with fresh water. Allow it to dry completely before replacing it and resuming airflow.
The best way to ensure that the filter is cleaned properly is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some filters may need to be replaced rather than cleaned, so read the manual to make sure you’re using the correct method.
You can also use a garden hose to wash the filter, but be careful not to use a high-pressure nozzle as this could damage the filter. Once the filter is dry, it’s ready to go back in the duct and start working its magic! Be sure to set a reminder to check and clean the filter monthly or more often as needed, depending on the level of pollution in your area or the nature of your hobbies. This will help keep the air in your home breathable and your energy bills low!
Clean the Remote Control
While we may not realize it, remote controls can collect a lot of bacteria on their surfaces, especially since we touch them so often with fingers and hands that aren’t exactly sparkling clean. That’s why it’s a good idea to give your air conditioner remote control and all your other high-touch devices (think TVs, media players, etc) a regular, disinfecting cleaning—especially in light of COVID-19.
To start, remove the batteries from your air conditioner remote and use a soft cloth to wipe off dirt and debris around the buttons. For tougher spots, spray a microfiber cloth or cotton swab with a mixture of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol and work it into the crevices.
Make sure the sensors on both your air conditioning unit and the remote control are free of dirt, which can prevent the remote’s signal from being received by the sensor on the unit interface. You can also try sliding open the back of the remote and rearrange the batteries (making sure the flat end of the battery is against the spring and the nobbly bit is against the metal contacts) as that’s another common reason for the air conditioning remote not working.