How to disassemble and clean a home air conditioner by yourself

Relying on appliances like air conditioners is often necessary to keep your home comfortable throughout the year. But over time, these units may lose some of their efficiency without regular maintenance, which could result in increased energy costs and even malfunctions. Regular cleaning is a crucial part of air conditioner maintenance. You can ensure optimal performance from your home air conditioner and save money on professional services by learning how to disassemble and clean it yourself.

It’s important to know how your air conditioner operates before beginning the cleaning process. The evaporator, which is the indoor unit, and the condenser, which is the outdoor unit, are the two main parts of an air conditioner. The condenser releases heat outdoors while the evaporator retains heat from the interior air. These parts are susceptible to dust, dirt, and debris buildup over time, which impairs airflow and lowers efficiency.

Cutting the unit’s power is one of the first steps in cleaning your air conditioner. By doing this, you can work on it with safety in mind. Next, you should clear away any dirt, leaves, or branches that may have fallen onto the outside unit. Be cautious not to bend or harm the fins and coils when cleaning them with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner.

You can disassemble the device for a deeper clean after the exterior has been cleaned. To access the internal components, start by removing the access panels. You will need to reassemble the parts correctly, so make a note of how they are arranged. To clean the coils, fins, and other parts of the device of dust and debris, use a brush or compressed air.

Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for the correct filter replacement procedure. After cleaning the interior components, it’s important to check and replace the air filter if necessary. A dirty or clogged air filter can restrict airflow, reducing the efficiency of your air conditioner and possibly causing damage to the system.

After replacing the filter and cleaning every part of the device, carefully reassemble it and turn the power back on. After that, switch on your air conditioner and listen for any strange sounds or problems. You’ve successfully cleaned your home air conditioner, and you can now enjoy increased comfort and efficiency in your living area if everything appears to be functioning properly.

Why more frequent maintenance is beneficial

In contrast to outdated climate equipment, contemporary split systems have the capacity to heat as well as cool the air. This is the reason why, in the winter, before the street temperature falls below -5 °¡, owners of private homes and apartments frequently use them for heating. As a result, the filters, heat exchangers, and fans—the three main components of an air conditioner—get dirty twice as quickly. There are additional valid arguments in support of prompt maintenance:

  1. Your health. It is exposed to the harmful effects of fungi and mold, settling and actively multiplying inside the too dusty unit. The sign – unpleasant musty odor.
  2. Dirt accumulated in the external and internal radiator prevents the normal air flow, which reduces the efficiency of the whole unit. At the same heat or cold output, more electricity is consumed.
  3. It is one thing to wash every year, and quite another to clean and antibacterial treatment of a heavily contaminated internal module. You can do the first one yourself, but for the second one you will have to call a master with specialized equipment (high-pressure washer, steam generator), which will cost you a lot of money.

Note: Any refrigeration machine that loses efficiency puts more strain on the compressor, which is the most expensive component. It appears that the need for repair or even replacement of the heat exchangers is getting closer as a result of their dirt-filled interior.

The subject of dangerous microorganisms residing in unclean air conditioners and endangering people’s health should not be pursued further, as this is a well-known fact. However, it won’t be unnecessary to find out how much professional split-system cleaning and disinfection costs in your area. After all, calling a specialist is unavoidable if the evaporator hasn’t been cleaned in a few years.

As an illustration of comparison. Up to 5 kW of complex cleaning for residential air conditioning systems costs between 2 and 3 thousand rubles (35–53 у. е.). These prices are from Moscow; other regions may have lower prices. You can easily save the five to ten u. е. that you would need to buy a cleaner if you wash the split by hand. Yes, self-prevention is far more cost-effective than maintaining services.

Simple foam washing

The dirt can be removed from the room module using this very easy method that even housewives can use. The process is carried out with aerosol can detergents (Liqui Moly, Plak, Bizol, and similar brands). Here is the technology:

  1. Disconnect the unit from the power supply, open the lid and pull out the filters. Rinse them with running water and leave them to dry.
  2. Apply the foam from the canister to the evaporator fins and keep it for the time specified in the instructions (from 10 to 30 minutes).
  3. Install the filters and turn on the split-system in the heating or ventilation mode (depending on the recommendations on the can) and let it work for half an hour. Ventilate the room.

The following video provides a clear demonstration of how to foam clean an air conditioner at home:

Regretfully, because you can only clean the heat exchanger with this method, it cannot be considered effective. The unit’s hidden cavities, drain pan, and fan turbine are still filthy. Thus, after performing the disassembly, we now suggest thinking about how to clean the split-system units correctly.

How to disassemble and clean the indoor unit

It is advised to use a Korean Daewoo split unit with a capacity of 18 kBTU, or 5 kW, to illustrate the cleaning procedure.3 kW. What you’ll need to complete the task:

  • flat and Phillips screwdriver;
  • Carlyclean or similar alkaline based cleaner in a container with a hand sprayer;
  • special polyethylene cover with a drain for water, made under the dimensions of the room module;
  • rubber gloves;
  • another handheld sprayer for rinsing the cleaner out.

As a point of reference. For roughly three dollars, you can purchase a single dosage of Carlyclean from any specialized online retailer. Additionally, they sell covers (which run about $2 USD) that stop leaks in the walls. You have the option to solder a device made of polyethylene film on your own.

It is necessary to disassemble the internal module in the following order in order to clean and disinfect every component:

  1. Unplug the air conditioner, take out the filters and rinse them out. Remove the plastic blinds, carefully bending and removing the ends from the sockets.
  2. Unscrew any self-tapping screws located on the front panel. They hold the electrical compartment cover, the panel itself, and the condensate pan. Some of them are under decorative plugs.
  3. Pull the faceplate toward you and hinge it upward to disengage the top 4 latches. Do not remove it until you have disconnected the LCD connector, located on the right side.
  4. Mark the position of the servos that rotate the louvers with a marker, then unscrew and remove them. Release the lock of the condensate tray (holds its left end) and disconnect the drainage pipe. After that, the element can be easily dismantled.
  5. Take out the temperature sensor inserted between the evaporator fins and bend it towards the electronic unit. Protect the latter from water with a plastic bag as shown in the photo above.

Note: Split-systems from different manufacturers are dismantled in a manner that is roughly equivalent. There are variations in the number of louvers, the arrangement of the display, and the method the panels are mounted.

Disassembly will take about 1.5 to 2 hours if this is your first time performing maintenance on a home air conditioner. This allows you to see the fan turbine and the cavity behind it, both of which require cleaning. It’s easy to clean the "split" after that. Just pull the cover over the module and slide its edges between the wall and the body.

  1. Put on rubber gloves and thoroughly apply the cleaning liquid to the heat exchanger, fan drum and internal cavities. Rotate the turbine with your free hand.
  2. After 5-10 minutes, use a water sprayer and wash off the product along with the dirt. Spray until clean water runs from the unit.
  3. Wait until all the water has drained out of the internal module, and then remove the cover and let the unit dry out.
  4. Wash the removed panel, tub and filters and dry them out. When doing so, be careful not to wet the foam seals. After drying the air conditioner can be assembled.

Reassembly should ideally begin the following day to allow all parts adequate time to dry. Our expert Vitaly Dashko will explain in his video how to correctly disassemble and clean the split-system’sinternalunit.

Cleaning instructions for the outdoor module

The outdoor unit’s location presents the biggest challenge when it comes to maintenance. Unless you live on the first floor, it is preferable to decline independent cleaning if it is mounted on the wall of a high-rise residence next to the window opening. When the condenser is positioned in these areas, it is safer to operate:

  • on an unglazed balcony or loggia;
  • on the wall of a private house where a ladder can be attached;
  • under the apartment window.

The actual disassembly and cleaning process is rather straightforward and is carried out in the following order:

  1. Unscrew the self-tapping screws holding the top cover on and remove it. Remove the fan guard grille.
  2. Unscrew the impeller fixing nut (left thread) and remove it from the shaft. Wrap the engine with polyethylene to prevent the liquid from getting into it.
  3. Spray the cleaner thoroughly on both sides of the heat exchanger (condenser) and wait 5-10 minutes.
  4. Using a hand sprayer, perform washing until dirty water stops flowing from the radiator. Wash the impeller, remove the bag from the motor and reassemble the unit in reverse order.

As a point of reference. You can safely apply the product and rinse it off with water because a partition separates the external unit’s compressor and electronics from the condenser.

In order to give the seals time to dry out, it is also preferable to wait a full day before turning on the cooler. The following video demonstrates how to clean an air conditioner’s outdoor module:

Step Description
Gather Supplies Get a screwdriver, vacuum, brush, and cleaning solution.
Turn Off Power Switch off the power to the air conditioner at the breaker box.
Remove Grilles Unscrew the grilles from the front of the unit and set them aside.
Clean Filters Take out the filters and vacuum or wash them thoroughly.
Access Coils Remove any additional covers to access the coils.
Clean Coils Use a brush to gently clean the coils, removing any dust or debris.
Clean Drain Pan Empty and clean the drain pan to prevent mold or algae buildup.
Reassemble Put everything back together in the reverse order.
Test Turn the power back on and test the air conditioner to ensure it"s working properly.

For your home air conditioner to operate at its best and last a long time, cleanliness is crucial. In addition to saving money on professional maintenance, knowing how to disassemble and clean your own AC unit will guarantee that your system operates efficiently and keeps your home comfortable all year round.

Never forget to turn off your air conditioner’s electricity before beginning any cleaning or maintenance. Your primary focus should be safety in order to avoid mishaps or injuries. Once the power is off, carefully disassemble the component as directed by the manufacturer, making note of any special tools or safety measures needed.

For optimal airflow and cooling, dust, dirt, and debris must be removed from the filters, coils, and fins of your air conditioner. Blockages that can strain the system and increase energy consumption are avoided by routine cleaning. In addition to providing more efficient cooling for your house, a clean air conditioner lowers the likelihood of malfunctions and expensive repairs.

Look for any indications of wear or damage to your air conditioner while it is being cleaned. Keep an eye out for any unusual noises, bent fins, or leaks as these could point to underlying problems that need to be professionally attended to. Early problem solving can stop issues from developing into more significant fixes or replacements later on.

After giving your air conditioner a thorough cleaning and inspection, carefully reassemble it, making sure that every part is correctly positioned and fastened. Take your time to avoid making mistakes that could jeopardize the security or functionality of the system. Lastly, turn the unit back on and keep an eye on it to make sure everything is working as it should.

You can prolong the life of your home air conditioner and improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency at the same time by being proactive about cleaning and maintenance. Your air conditioning system can be kept in good working order year-round with routine maintenance, giving you and your family dependable comfort.

In our guide on "How to disassemble and clean a home air conditioner by yourself," we"ll walk you through the steps to keep your AC running smoothly. First off, safety comes first – make sure to turn off the power to your unit before starting any work. Then, we"ll guide you through removing the outer casing and accessing the filters. Once you"ve got those out, it"s time for a good clean – use a vacuum or gentle soap and water to remove any dust and debris. Pay close attention to the coils and fins, as these can easily get clogged. After cleaning, let everything dry thoroughly before reassembling your unit. Regular maintenance like this can help keep your home cool and your AC running efficiently, saving you money on energy bills in the long run.

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Sergey Ivanov

I like to help people create comfort and comfort in their homes. I share my experience and knowledge in articles so that you can make the right choice of a heating and insulation system for your home.

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