What You Should Know About Regular Window AC Unit Maintenance

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If you own a home containing a window-mounted air conditioning unit, it is important to follow a comprehensive maintenance schedule to keep it running efficiently. In addition, regular maintenance also extends the operational lifespan of your unit, since it won't have to work as hard to keep you cool. Here is what you should know about your window unit and how to maintain it for a long, efficient lifetime of service:

How your window unit works

It can be helpful to understand how your window air conditioner works so you understand why maintenance will improve its functioning. Window units consist of several essential components to be aware of:

  • Evaporator - This component cools the interior air by transferring heat from the air to the refrigerant inside the evaporator.

  • Condenser - Similar to the evaporator, except operating in reverse, the condenser transfers heat from the refrigerant to the exterior air.

  • Compressor - This device compresses the refrigerant, which permits it to absorb and release heat in a perpetual cycle.

  • Blower - This component circulates air into and out of the window unit and passes it across the evaporator and condenser coils.

Dirt on the evaporator and condenser can inhibit the efficient transfer of heat between the air and components. In addition, a dirty blower can also reduce air flow across the components and lessen the air quality for occupants.

How to clean the window unit

You will need a few simple household items to clean the window unit:

  • Garden hose with spray nozzle

  • Plastic spray bottle

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Nut driver set

  • Stiff-bristled plastic brush

  • Paper towels

1. Unplug the window unit and remove it from the window - After the unit is unplugged, remove it from the window carefully and place it in a convenient outdoor location near the garden hose.

2. Remove the front grille and cabinet - Pull the front grille away from the unit to expose the evaporator coils. Next, use a nut driver with an appropriate-sized bit and unscrew the sheet metal screws holding the cabinet in place. Carefully pull the cabinet off the unit and set it aside.

3. Soak the condenser and evaporator coils - Once the condenser and evaporator are exposed, add three-to-five drops of liquid dishwashing soap to a plastic spray bottle and fill the remainder of the bottle with water. Spray the condenser and evaporator coils with the soapy water until it is thoroughly soaked, and allow the coils to soak for several minutes. Don't scrub the coils, or you may bend or damage the delicate fins.

4. Spray and clean the blower - While the evaporator and condenser coils are soaking, use the soapy solution to spray the blower blades. Scrub the blades with a stiff brush to loosen dirt and other debris.

5. Wash down the interior of the window unit - Once you have scrubbed the blades on the blower and allowed the evaporator and condenser to soak, set the garden hose nozzle to a fine mist pattern and spray the coils, blower and other internal components of the unit. Don't direct the water flow directly toward electronic components, but it is safe to rinse off the compressor and inside of the cabinet, as these parts are designed for exposure to water. If there are any leaves, dead insects or other debris inside the cabinet, pick them out by hand or use paper towels to clean them up.

6. Replace the front grille and cabinet - After spraying the coils and internal components, allow the unit to air dry for about an hour. Once it has dried, replace the front grille and cabinet; be careful when reinstalling the cabinet not to pinch or cut any wiring.

7. Reinstall the window unit - Place the window unit back into position, if you will be using it soon, or store it in a dry location until it will be needed.

For more information or if you feel you cannot do this on your own, consider contacting a professional AC service, such as Enright and Sons.

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28 January 2016

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