Do you remember when your mum would say, "If you take care of your toys, they'll last a long time?" Most likely, it was more of a rousing than a gentle reminder.
However, it was a warning many of us ignored as we hulk-smashed our toys, chucking them downstairs, against walls, and at our siblings.
It took a while, but the gift (or curse) of adulthood taught us this hard but valuable lesson. Cars, houses, relationships, small appliances, and especially the home air conditioner really do last longer when you take care of them. A little bit of air conditioner maintenance can go a long way toward keeping those heating and cooling systems in top shape for many comfortable years.
Ready to get started? You don't need to be Scott Cam to take good care of your home air conditioner. Don't worry if you don't know how to clean air conditioner filters or do essential air conditioner maintenance.
Here are the only 11 DIY air conditioner cleaning tips you need.
Shut off the power before you start. This one’s a no-brainer, but there’s a reason there are safety instructions on devices. Safety reigns supreme when dealing with electrical appliances, large or small.
Always give the owner's manual a quick once over before you start. That manual is specific to your unit, so follow its instructions carefully.
Now let’s get stuck into the instructions.
Use a damp cloth to wipe down the outside of the unit, including the vents and ducts. Get in there as far as you can comfortably reach. If you do this every six months or so, you won’t have to worry about excess dust build-up.
Replacing or cleaning the dust filters is an essential task in keeping your aircon system going great guns. Do this a couple of times per year, or more frequently if you live in a dusty area or you’re constantly cranking the unit.
Many units have a "dry-out" setting. If yours does, use it. This function gets rid of water build-up on the heat exchanger. That means no more weird smells (not the kind you blame on the dog) or hazardous mould growing inside the unit.
Grab the hoover and run it over the outdoor unit to remove excess dust and spider webs from the air intake. Check there are no vines or toys blocking the unit. Do this every few weeks.
You can remove most louvers by snapping them off. Use a vacuum nozzle to suck out the dust - on top and behind. You can even use a moist, soft cloth or paper towel to wipe down the louvers after vacuuming. Do this monthly.
Not all air conditioners have AP filters (also called an "ionising" filter), but if yours does, give it a good clean every few months or whenever it looks dirty.
Remove the dust filter, shake off excess build-up, vacuum with a brush nozzle, and rinse with water if necessary. Always let the filter dry 100% before popping it back in.
If your unit has channels for drainage, you can remove any blockages from them quite easily. First, disconnect the electrical power supply (see tip #1!).
Search the shed for a rigid piece of wire about 30 centimetres long. Stick it into the drainage channel and have a feel around for any blockages or obstruction. Check it on a semi-regular basis. If the drain channel gets blocked by debris, the drain can't do its job, and the unit can’t keep the air dry.
Don’t hesitate to contact a conditioner cleaning service if you don't want to spend your weekends cleaning out the aircon unit. A qualified air conditioner cleaning tech will, at the very least, clean the drainage components, fins, vents, coils, ducts, and outside of the unit. Grab a coldie and put the feet up.
Of these aircon cleaning tips, avoid any that you’re not uncomfortable doing or couldn’t be bothered doing. We all have our limits; know what you can do (or want to do) and know when it's time to outsource the job and call in an air conditioner cleaning service.
It really doesn’t matter who does the air conditioner cleaning as long as the blo**dy job gets done! Then you'll be able to kick back under that icy airflow for years to come. And you’ll no longer hear your mum’s nagging in your ear. Well, not about looking after things, anyway.