How to Clean a Central Air Conditioner Unit

Clean a central air conditioner before the cooling season begins.
Clean a central air conditioner before the cooling season begins. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

At the beginning of the cooling season, it is time to clean the central air conditioner unit. This does not involve anything too intense and can be done by anyone with basic household skills and tools. By keeping it clean, the air conditioner will run easier and be more efficient. Although this can be done at the end of the cooling season, this task is best done at the beginning to remove all the dirt and debris before the first time it is used.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment
  • Dishwater solution in a bucket
  • Sponge
  • Screwdriver

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Check the outside condenser and make sure that it is free of leaves, lint, dirt, shrubs, etc.

Check the pipe for draining condensationit to make sure there aren't any blockages, if applicable.

Change the filters once a month during regular use.

Remove the cover of the unit and vacuum out any dirt and debris at the bottom with a vacuum and hose attachment. Wash fan blades with a sponge and a soapy dishwater solution. Replace the cover when finished.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always turn off power to the AC unit before doing any cleaning.
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