How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

There is a reason why window ACs do not run out of style especially for homes and buildings without a good central HVAC flow. Aside from that, it is also easy to clean even without removing it. All you must do is to vacuum the dirt out, spray with detergent, soft brushing the fin coils, and the insides, let it dry and that is basically it. 

But then again, we know that things are easier said than done. Fortunately, this post aims to give you a comprehensive guide on how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it, so read on. 

Why do you need to clean a window air conditioner?

There are significant reasons behind the need to clean a window AC. If you are wondering what they could be, here is a list for you to be motivated to clean your window AC: 

  • Cleaning your AC improves its efficiency. When the filter and coils are dirty, you are giving it extra workload and the dust will be added in the circulated air. 
  • A clean AC is a cost-efficient AC. When it works harder because of dirt, it also consumes more energy. 
  • Cleaning your AC saves you money for future repairs and replacements. 
  • Cleaning your AC ensures good quality of air for the room.  

Materials and tools

Before you can clean a window AC without removing it, you first need to prepare the following materials: 

  • Buckets of warm water
  • Vacuum (specifically one with a soft brush attachment)
  • Extra soft brush (or soft comb)
  • Spray bottle
  • Detergent (could be powder or liquid detergent)
  • Wiping cloth
  • Old newspaper (to be put underneath the AC to gather brushed dirt)
  • Screwdriver
  • Container for the screws (so you would not misplace them)
  • Gloves
  • Fin comb

It may seem like a long list, but they are all accessible in the home. So have these all prepared before cleaning your window AC by yourself. 

How to clean a window air conditioner without removing it

And now, we are on to the best part. In this section, we will give you a step-by-step guide of how to clean a window AC without removing it. 

1. Unplug the window AC

Make sure that the AC is unplugged because you will remove its case and you will touch internal parts and clean them with soap spray. This is the first step, but it spells optimum safety. 

2. Check the manual

Check the user’s manual and familiarize yourself with where the screws are, how to take them off properly, and what cleaning methods are recommended for the brand. 

3. Remove the grill and air filter

Ideally, window AC filters should be cleaned every month because they gather a lot of dirt, especially in a small room. Take your bucket of warm water, add detergent. Stir well until it becomes soapy. Put the grill in one bucket and the air filter in another one. 

*Note: Your user manual will tell you if it is time to replace the air filter. You must also know that some AC brands feature a filter rest button that will signal you when it is time to replace the air filter. 

4. Remove the AC’s case

Using a screwdriver, take off the case of the AC. Upon removing it, you will see the drain pan, condensation drain, and other removable parts of the AC. Take the drain pan and submerge it in another bucket of soapy water. It is important that the drain pan is cleaned every now and then because as it collects water, mold might develop when it dries. 

5. Vacuum the AC’s insides

The next step is to vacuum and spray the inside of the AC. Attach the soft brush and vacuum out all dirt and dust balls inside the window AC. 

6. Spraying the AC’s insides

Now, mix water and detergent and put it in a spray bottle. Next, spray the mixture in the exposed areas of the AC and then wipe it down immediately with soft cloth. For the fins, use a soft fin comb and straighten the fins if needed. 

7. Clean the coils

To clean the condenser coils, take off the back case of the AC. While it does not need cleaning, and the parts it protects do not necessarily need cleaning but underneath these would be the condenser coils which need cleaning. 

To clean them, just spray it with the same detergent mixture. The grime will fall off naturally, but you can also hose it down to make sure that all the dirt is removed. Make sure that this part is completely dry before assembling it in. 

8. Assemble everything in place

It is time to check the cleaned parts and make sure that they are all dried up. Assemble everything in place. If you are not sure about how the parts are arranged, get your user’s manual for checking. It is very important that all the parts are dried or else they will develop molds inside. 

Benefits of cleaning window AC

So, what benefits can you get from cleaning your window AC? If you need legitimate reasons to start that cleanup, here are some benefits that you can get from a clean window AC. 

  • Clean air: Aside from cooling the room, ACs ensure that clean air is circulating in your room. If you have a clogged air filter or dirty coils, you might suffer from breathing issues due to the dirt. 
  • Noiseless performance: ACs make our rooms a total refuge from a hard day’s work. We cannot relax and rest if the aircon is noisy. Dirt balls and other dust particles make it noisy. Cleaning it will give your AC a noiseless performance. 
  • Avoiding further mold buildup: Once you open the AC, you would not just find possible mold build ups but all other sources of damage that were left unchecked. It is very important for you to know these so that you would know when to call for professional help. 

Best practices

To get the most out of your window ACs, here are some best practices that you should employ: 

  • Make way for the window AC: You must assess your window if it is suitable for a window AC. Make way for an AC slot if you have grilled windows. Know that window ACs simply would not work for sliding windows. 
  • Do not abuse the thermostat: The rule of thumb is 78F or 26C. Do not set it to a lower temperature just to make the cooling faster or a notch up if you are alone in the house. It follows a cooling rate and regardless of how low or high the thermostat is, it will cool following this rate. 
  • Close the windows and curtains: While the AC is on, make sure that your windows and curtains are closed to reduce the cooling load of your AC. This should also be the default practice for rooms that face east or west. You can open them in the evening for the trapped heat inside to seep out. 
  • Install reinforcements: The AC should also have a downtime or a period when it is closed. To keep it from doing all the work especially during very hot seasons, you should add reinforcements in your home like ceiling fans, stand fans, and air coolers that only need ice to release cool air. 
  • Keep the hot air out: If you are living in a studio type room, make sure that you have an exhaust fan or a floor plan by the kitchen. This keeps all the hot air out and keeps the air cool while the AC is on. 
  • Dehumidifier helps: When it is too hot, turn on your dehumidifier. When the air humidity is low, so would the heat level. Run the dehumidifier for at least 30 mins before opening your AC. 
  • Keep the AC out of the sun: If you are installing one, make sure that it faces north. This way, it would not be exposed to the sun too much when it rises in the east and sets in the west. Keeping it out of the sun also keeps the compressor and coils inside and would not lead to rusting. 

When to repair or replace?

There are a handful of indicators that will signal you when something in the AC needs to be repaired. If the air coming from the AC gets too warm, the compressor might have a problem. If it is taking very long to cool, the refrigerant might need to be replaced. If it gets too noisy, the bearings might need to be replaced or they might need more oil lubrication. 

In terms of replacement, at best, window ACs can last for 8-10 years and must be maintained or cleaned every month. If it reaches the sixth year, you must start considering saving up for a new window AC. It could cost from $200-1000 depending on the brand and specifications of the AC you are eyeing to buy. As for the air filter, you can have it replaced every 3-6 months. 

When to call a professional?

Calling a professional is always one of the most convenient measures to do when you feel that something is wrong with your window AC. Depending on the brand, size of the AC, and damage, calling for professional help can cost you $50-400. 

Given the myriad of demos that can be found in the net on how to do basic AC repairs and replacements, you may opt not to call for professional help. But if you want to make sure about how everything is done and for you to see how it is done step by step, you should look for the best AC professionals around you. 

Conclusion

It might just be a window AC but if you do not know where to start when it comes to basic maintenance such as cleaning it, you will not get the best of what you paid for.

The comforting thing is, you can clean your window AC on your own without removing it from the window slot. And in this post, you now know the hows, whys, dos and don’ts of cleaning and maintaining window ACs.

How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

And now, we are on to the best part. In this section, we will give you a step-by-step guide of how to clean a window AC without removing it.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Buckets of warm water
  • Vacuum (specifically one with a soft brush attachment)
  • Extra soft brush (or soft comb)
  • Spray bottle
  • Detergent (could be powder or liquid detergent)
  • Wiping cloth
  • Old newspaper (to be put underneath the AC to gather brushed dirt)
  • Screwdriver
  • Container for the screws (so you would not misplace them)
  • Gloves
  • Fin comb

Instructions

  1. Unplug the window AC
  2. Check the manual
  3. Remove the grill and air filter
  4. Remove the AC’s case
  5. Vacuum the AC’s insides
  6. Spraying the AC’s insides
  7. Clean the coils
  8. Assemble everything in place

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