Although it is not yet an official summer, summer temperatures have already hit the United States. As the hottest months of the year approach, staying cool at home is becoming a priority. This means having a window air conditioner is life-saving.

All this heavy use can really affect you AC unit, still. To keep your air conditioner in good condition, it is important to clean it regularly. By keeping your air conditioner clean, you will prevent the appearance of mold and mildew inside and will extract longer-term value from your appliance. Plus, well-maintained window air conditioning uses less energy than dirty.

Cleaning window air conditioner it may seem daunting if you have never done it before. Fortunately, the process is not as complicated as it seems. With the following tips you can keep your AC device clean, functional and energy efficient.

Read more: Reduce your electricity bill this summer with these air conditioning tips

Collect your materials

You will need several items from around the house to completely clean your air conditioner. Before you start, get the following materials:

  • Hot water
  • Mild soap or detergent
  • Reusable fabric
  • Drain tray to place under your device
  • Spray bottle filled with 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Fine comb or a brush with soft bristles
  • Compressed air
  • Screwdriver

1. Clean the filter

Cleaning the filter in your window AC module is the most critical thing you can do to keep it running smoothly. It is a good idea to wash the filter monthly, even if you do not clean the whole appliance. Here’s how to do it.

First make sure your air conditioner is turned off, then remove the front panel and remove the filter. If it is covered with dust or hair, use a vacuum cleaner to clean as much debris as you can. Then wash your filter with warm soapy water and let it dry. Wait until it is completely dry before placing it back in the window unit.

It is also a good idea to change the air conditioner filter regularly. The exact frequency will depend on how much you use your AC and environmental factors, but you should strive to change your filter every six weeks to six months.

2. Wipe the grille and the outside

While the filter is drying, wash the grill with warm water and a mild detergent. Or if you don’t want to wash it, you can use a damp reusable towel to wipe it instead – just be sure to clean well between the gaps where air comes out. Allow it to dry completely before putting it back on.

After cleaning the grille, wipe the top and sides of the air conditioner. Be careful to enter small spaces where dirt and dust are easy to collect. Wait until the grille and outside are completely dry before starting the appliance.

3. Clean dust from fins and coils

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get into your AC module. You don’t need to dust your fins and bobbins every time you clean your air conditioner, but most manufacturers recommend that you do this quarterly or semi-annually.

First, take a fin comb or a brush with soft bristles and carefully comb the aluminum fins in your AC. Do not rush during this process, because the fins bend easily and can be sharp. If you notice curved fins, gently move them back into place.

Then spray the box with condensed air inside the appliance to clean the dust from the coils. You need to be as careful as possible to remove any debris that could prevent your appliance from working properly.

4. Clean the pan and drain

Complete the internal cleaning of your window AC module by emptying the drain pan and cleaning the drain. To remove debris or dirty water from your tray, take a vacuum cleaner for a wet-dry (if you have one) or damp cloth and pull out anything that has accumulated inside. Allow it to dry before reassembling it.

Finally, check the drain to see if anything is blocking it. Use your towel to wipe around the hole and make sure there is a clear path for water to come out of the appliance.

5. Reassemble and spray detergent on your appliance

Once you have cleaned and dried everything, it is time to reassemble your window AC module and spray it permanently to prevent mold growth.

Take your spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and apply the solution to the areas where the air flows in and out. Wait for the peroxide to dry before using your appliance – and you’re done! Not only will you breathe cleaner and colder air, but you will also extend the life of your air conditioner.

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In addition to cleaning it regularly, there are other steps you can take to keep your air conditioner in good condition. For example, take it out of your window and store it inside during the winter months or when you will not be using it for long periods of time.

If this seems like more work than you’re willing to put in, you can always hire a professional to clean your air conditioner for you. To find someone, ask friends and family for recommendations or consult reputable service providers in your area.

But whether you decide to hire an expert or clean it yourself, just be sure to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. At a minimum, clean your filter monthly and spray your appliance with hydrogen peroxide to prevent mold.

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