How to clean your window air conditioner

By keeping your window air conditioning units in good shape, you’ll be greatly extending their useful lives. Keeping your appliances clean is one of the best ways of extending their use and making sure that they run efficiently. There will be professionals in your area who undertake this type of work but by doing it yourself you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that the job was well done and that you’ve saved money.

Luckily, cleaning a window air conditioner like the SPT WA-1211S is a simple task and requires no special tools or equipment other than those you already have in your home.

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Here are the basic requirements you’ll need:
Your household vacuum cleaner.
An old tin can or similar container.
Rags – finally, a use of that old ragged t-shirt.
A brush with a long handle – your regular toilet brush will work well here.
An oilcan.
Your household selection of screwdrivers.
If you have a fin tool, that’s excellent but if not, it’s optional.
If your air conditioning unit uses disposable filters, you’ll need a new one to replace the old.

Here are the steps to take to ensure that your appliance will be thoroughly cleaned and will work well through the warm summer months.

If your unit has a disposable filter, simply remove the old one from the unit and replace it. If your unit has the kind of filter that is manufactured into a plastic frame remove it for cleaning. Lay the filter flat in your sink or bathtub and grab your regular laundry detergent. Sprinkle the filter with a quantity of the detergent, there’s no need to buy special cleaning solutions. Add hot water to the sink or tub until the filter is under about an inch or so of water and is just submerged. This next part is effortless as all you have to do is leave it to soak for about a quarter of an hour. Once you’ve removed the filter from the water give it a good rinse in warm water to remove the detergent residue. Leave the filter to dry.

The next step is to remove the front grille from the unit. This is usually a simple process – just undo the clips which are usually at the bottom of the unit. If you’re unsure, refer to the manufacturer’s leaflet as sometimes screws may have been used to hold the grille in place. Put the grille to one side once you’ve removed it.

There will be a metal cover concealing the mechanism of the unit so remove this carefully. Again, you might have to remove screws. Incidentally, the reason you have the old can or container is so that you can use it to carefully keep any screws you remove. If the container is compartmentalized in some way so much the better as you can keep screws from different areas of the unit in different compartments. Remove the metal cover, being sure to take care as the edges are sharp.

Take a look at the fan motor and inspect it for any damage or signs of wear. Locate the oil holes on the motor and add a few drops of oil to each. A general-purpose oil is fine. If the holes are covered with rubber plugs, you’ll need to remove these first. Be careful not to add too much oil; just three or four drops is all you need to add and be sure to add it slowly.

Take your brush and remove all surface dust, especially paying attention to the evaporator. When doing so, brush from side to side as vertical brushing can damage the soft aluminum fins. Now that the dirt is removed, use a degreaser or a HVAC cleaner to spray the fins. HVAC cleaner is formulated especially for this purpose. The instructions on the can will probably tell you to let the cleaner stand for about fifteen minutes but do check with the brand you are using. Remove the solution by gently pouring warm water onto the fins, taking care that the water doesn’t come into contact with any electrical components.

If the fins appear to be bent, straighten them using your fingers. If you have a fun comb, by all means use this. Straighter fins mean more efficient air flow.

For the rear fins and the condenser coil – repeat the last two steps. The rear fins are likely to be surrounded by a plastic cowling and the job will be easier if you remove this.

Take a soft rag and wipe and dirt or dust from the fan blades. Be careful not to bend or damage the blades. At all times, treat the appliance delicately.

Using your household vacuum cleaner, vacuum all the surfaces to remove every last speck of dirt. Be sure to include both sides of the grille assembly and the underneath of the unit cover.

Once these jobs are done, drain out any water that might remain in the base and leave everything to dry. This may take a few hours.

Once you’re sure everything is dry, plug the appliance in and test it for smooth running. Once you’re sure that the unit runs well, switch it off and reassemble the unit very carefully. If you’re going to store your unit after your cleaning work is through, cover it with an old blanket or a specially-made air conditioner cover. It’s a good idea to place the appliance on a couple of pieces of wood during storage to ensure that air can flow underneath. By treating your air conditioning units to a thorough clean once a year, they’ll give you valuable service for years to come.

 

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