How to Clean the Air Conditioner For Better Performance

Cleaning the Air Conditioner is one of the most critical maintenance jobs. A user should clean the Air Conditioner for its long life and lower energy consumption. You should also clean the air conditioner for its better performance.

Your air conditioner is an important item to make your house an oasis of calm and relaxation. Over time, you may find that your unit is working harder to obtain the same level of cooling as it used to. If you have an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, heating performance can also degrade over time.

You must work on the unit’s outdoor and indoor components to clean the air conditioner.

How to Clean the Air Conditioner Indoor Unit?

It depends on whether you want to begin with the indoor or outdoor unit of the AC. We will start with instructions for the inner part.

Turn off the air conditioner

Air Conditioners have many moving parts as the safety is paramount, you must turn off the power at your fuse box. That means you won’t have any lights, which is a daytime task. You should ensure adequate lighting when your indoor unit is in a dark place, such as in the attic.

Open the AC unit

The blower unit has a door to the evaporator coil. Relying on your device, you may need to remove the foil tape. There are often a few screws or bolts holding the door in place.

Clean the AC evaporator coils

How to Clean the Air Conditioner Indoor Unit

If you have a soft brush, use it to brush the dust off the coil, you may also use a toothbrush for cleaning purposes. That dust is made up of all the particles that populate the interior of your house. It includes pollen and sometimes skin cells. So if you have a dust allergy, you might need to wear a mask.

The best cleaning solution is a no-rinse coil cleaner, which you can purchase at your local hardware store. This spray foams up and drips into the device’s drip tray, taking dust and dirt with it. Spray the foam as evenly as possible and apply it to small areas you cannot reach with your hand.

The best time to do it is on a warm day so that when you turn the unit back on, the AC condensation will wash the coils.

Clean the AC Drain Tray

When the coil cleaner has done its job, clean the drain tray. Detergent and hot water are good items to begin, and bleach will help disinfect. Go for a 50/50 mix of water and bleach. Pour the mixture down the drain to ensure it’s clear. To protect your drain from algae longer term, you can buy AC drain tray tablets at most hardware and home improvement stores.

Clean the AC Drain if it is Clogged

If your bleach mixture easily washes down the drain, you can skip this step. If it’s sluggish, your drain gets clogged. Algae can build up in the drain without regular maintenance and cleaning. It’s typically about an inch wide PVC pipe, so it does not take much build-up to clog.

Your drain may end outside, around the outdoor unit. Otherwise, it will be directed into a sink or drain in the basement. If your device is in the attic, it may drain down one of your exterior walls. Follow the drain to the end and bring a wet/dry vacuum. However, if you are concerned about soiling the filter, you can remove it from the vacuum cleaner.

Take the vacuum hose and hold it to the end of the drain pipe. You can prevent air leakage by holding a towel around the gap. If you want the tightest seal, tape the hose and drain together. Turn on the vacuum and let it run for two to three minutes to remove any built-up debris.

Close the AC Access Panel

Reattach the access panel utilizing the same screws you removed at the beginning of the process. If you have Heating, Ventilating Air Conditioner metal foil tape, use it to seal the bottom and top of the access panel.  Furthermore, do not cover the manufacturer’s label as an electrician may require it to perform repairs and maintenance on the device.

That is all you have to do for a regular cleanse, but you may face issues that you cannot handle by yourself. When you have A-frame evaporator coils, you may find components you cannot access as the coils are trapped on both ends. If you haven’t cleaned your A-frame evaporator coils in a while, there’s an excellent opportunity you’ll have to enlist the assistance of a professional to clean them thoroughly.

How to Clean the Air Conditioner Outdoor Unit?

How to Clean the Air Conditioner For Better Performance

Cleaning the outdoor unit and its condenser coils needs more work than cleaning the indoor part of the unit. This device’s component gets extremely dirty with constant exposure to the elements. You’ll also require more specialized equipment to make it clean. Follow these steps to keep your outdoor unit working at its best.

Disconnect and remove the AC grill

Make sure once again that you have switched off the device. You can turn off your power at the outdoor disconnect box before you start.

Remove the self-tapping screws on the device top. After removing them, lift the grille and fan unit. However, for most units, the cords are slack enough to take the top off and lean it against the wall without disconnecting any wires.

Remove deposits in the air conditioning system

Depending on your device, there is a different amount of dirt in the AC’s bottom. Entry-level models typically don’t have guards to prevent debris from getting through the fan unit’s top, so that you might end up with seeds, leaves, or even tiny twigs in the bottom pan.

You can scoop the dirt out by hand or use your dry/wet vacuum to get it all out.

Align the fins of the air conditioner

Curved fins reduce airflow, so this step is critical to maintaining efficiency. A great way to do that is to purchase a fin tool. These inexpensive kits have teeth that allow you to comb a specific number of fins per inch. Use the correct number of fins per inch for your device. All you have to do is gently comb the fins back into place.

Level the air conditioner

Dirt can settle under your device and cause it to begin tipping. Leaving a condenser unit out of level for too long can also cause premature failure and costly repairs. If you find the compressor isn’t level, use shims to get it where it must be.


Air conditioners are excellent for keeping a room cooler that you place in a warmer part of the house. However, as with all equipment, maintenance is crucial.

The good news is that you may clean the air conditioner without removing it. If you are facing trouble with your air conditioner or need assistance, you may also visit to download user manuals for various AC models.

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