How to Service Your Air Conditioner

Cleaning the registers is an important part of how to service your air conditioner.
Cleaning the registers is an important part of how to service your air conditioner. (Image: Images)

Air conditioners work by drawing out the moisture from the nearby air. This lowers the humidity of air air and cools it in the process. The cooled air is then blown throughout your dwelling by a series of vents and ductwork. The two major parts of most home air conditioning systems are the evaporator and the condenser. Both of these fixtures need to be serviced in order for your air conditioner to work at its best. You can service your home air conditioner yourself without having to wait on a technician with the help of some cleaners and a few tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Condenser fin cleaner
  • Feather duster
  • Garden hose
  • Sprayer
  • Air conditioner filters
  • Nylon brush
  • Evaporator coil cleaner
  • Flexible hose
  • Bleach

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Turn off the power for the air conditioner. In the main circuit breaker switch for your home or dwelling, look for the switch that controls the air conditioner unit. Move the switch to the "Off" setting. Some AC units may have a separate cut off switch, sometimes located by the condenser on the exterior of the dwelling.

Replace the air conditioner filter. This is an easy part of servicing your air conditioner that many people forget to do. The filter needs to be changed at regular intervals, otherwise your air conditioner will work harder and have a shorter life.

Remove the cover on the condensing unit outside. The cover may be all in one piece, or you may be able to loosen the screws and pull off one side at a time. Use a feather duster to clean off any dirt or dust on the outside of the condenser fins. Spray with a condenser fin cleaner and allow it to soak in according to the instructions. Gently rinse off the cleaner with a fine mist from a garden hose.

Locate the evaporator coils for your AC unit. The evaporator is typically located in the basement or attic and will be in close proximity to the blower or air handler. Spray the coils with a coil cleaner and allow it time to soak in. Brush off the coils with a nylon brush and rinse well.

Clean out the drain pan underneath the evaporator coils. Water condensation generated by the operation of the coils drips down and falls into the drain pan. From here, the water is directed outside. Occasionally the drain hose on the pan can become clogged with mold or other debris. Clean out the drain pipe by running a flexible tube through it. Pour a capfull of bleach down the drain hose to kill off any mold inside, followed by hot water.

Clean off the air conditioner registers with a feather duster. These are the vent coverings on the end of the air conditioner vent that direct the cooled air throughout your house. They can collect quite a bit of dust and allergens. Keeping these clean will also help the airflow in your system.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't use hard brushes or powerful water streams when cleaning the condenser fins, as they are fragile and can bend easily.


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