Now that winter is approaching, it's time to start thinking about shutting your air conditioner down. Proper winterization of your AC can help prevent mechanical problems when you turn it back on next summer. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you clean your AC when the hot weather is finally gone.
Vacuum the Condenser Fins
The outside of your AC unit collects a lot of dirt and debris, especially if you live in an area that's particularly windy. Use your shop vacuum to remove all the dirt and debris from the outside condenser fins. You can use a whisk broom to clean in all the creases between each fin.
Once you've cleaned the creases, run your vacuum over the surface a second time. This will ensure that you got all the dirt that was hiding in between the condenser fins.
Clean the Internal Fins
The fins inside the unit will also need to be cleaned. You'll need to remove the top grill to clean inside. Unscrew the top grill and carefully remove it. The grill will have the blade and numerous wires attached to it. Carefully set the grill to the side or have someone hold it for you.
Attach a spray nozzle to your garden hose and spray the inside of your AC unit. Be sure to spray each section of the internal fins to remove dirt and debris. It's also important that you look for things like rodent bedding or bird's nests. Those items will need to be removed, as well. Once you have the internal fin compartment cleaned, you can replace the top grill.
Clean the Drain Port
Condensation can build up in the drains and tubes attached to your air conditioning unit, and that moisture creates the perfect environment for mold and algae to grow. You'll need to remove the mold and algae before you shut your AC down for the winter. You can use a bleach solution to clean your drains and tubes.
In a small plastic container, combine equal parts of water and bleach. Locate the drain port attached to your air conditioning unit. Remove the cap to expose the opening to the port. Place a funnel in the port and pour ½ the bleach solution in. Insert a small bottle brush into the port to scrub away the algae and mold. Place the cap back on the drain port. Pour the remaining solution into the other tubes on your AC.
You don't want to deal with repair costs when you turn your AC on next summer. Cleaning your AC at the end of summer will help protect it through the cold winter months. If you need more extensive repair work done, get in touch with a company like Allied Air Conditioning & Heating Corp for help.