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How to Clean a Window Type Air Conditioner

Window air conditioners may not require the attention of a technician, but that doesn’t mean they’re maintenance-free. A little TLC will help ensure your device is running efficiently, which can result in savings on your monthly electricity bill and a longer device lifespan.

How to keep a window air conditioner clean

Although the filters require regular AC maintenance, the remaining tasks only need to be performed once a year.

Step 1: Wash the filter

A clean filter ensures that sufficient ambient air circulates over the evaporator coil and prevents freezing. Have you ever cleaned your filter? get it out; soak it in warm soapy water; Then rinse the crud. If your air conditioner is active, clean it monthly.

Step 2: Clean the fins

A window air conditioner has two sets of coils, the evaporator coil in the front – on the side of the room – and the condenser coil in the back, facing out. Their job is to transport heat from inside the room to the outside, which is why the coils are covered with filigree aluminum fins. These capture and dissipate heat more efficiently than coils alone.

Over time, the front and rear cooling fins become crusted with dirt, which can become a breeding ground for mold. To clean the fins (and the rest of the interior of the unit), remove the unit from the windowsill or wall and take it outside. Remove the case screws and keep them in a safe place. Mix water and a few drops of dish soap (Dawn is a good choice) in a spray bottle. Spray this solution onto the fins, front and back, and leave for a few minutes before gently loosening the dirt with a soft bristle brush. Move the brush in line with the fins.

The front coil fins are usually the dirtiest, and you’ll likely see a drastic change in their color as the dirt comes off. Rinse the fins with a hose to gently spray water from the inside out.

Step 3: Straighten bent fins

Thin, delicate fins efficiently manage heat while staying in place. However, when the fins are bent and touching, unit efficiency suffers and operating costs increase. Bent fins are a common problem on the back spool where they can easily be accidentally brushed.

You can smooth them out with a tool called a fin comb. It is equipped with prongs sized to match your air conditioner’s fin spacing, allowing multiple fins to be separated with each pass. In a pinch (and with a little more patience) you can use an expired credit card to split one fin at a time.

Whether you’re using a comb or a map, the idea is to insert the object into a space where the ribs aren’t curved, and then drag it down the space until you go through the curved section. It may take several passes to get the bent ribs back into their original position, but it’s important to get them working properly.

Step 4: Wash the fans and the pan

Window air conditioners have two fans: a “squirrel cage” fan near the evaporator and a bladed fan near the condenser. Both accumulate dirt that can be cleaned with the same cleaning solution used on the fins. Scrub dirt from the fan and all surrounding surfaces, then hose off. (The electrical parts of the device are sealed and cannot be damaged by water.)

The drain pan collects the condensate dripping from the coils. If its hole is clogged, the condensation can flow back into the house. Drain dirty water from the drain pan at the bottom of the unit, making sure the drain hole is not clogged with debris. Reattach the case, being careful not to touch the ribs, and then screw it back on with the screws.

Step 5: Store it in the off-season

While it may be tempting to leave the heavy unit on your windowsill year-round, your air conditioner will last longer and perform better if you take it out and store it during the cold months. Place the device in a dry indoor area with a cover to keep dust out.


Q: How often should I clean my window type air conditioner?

A: It is recommended to clean your air conditioner at least once every three months, or more frequently if you use it frequently or if you live in a dusty or polluted environment.

Q: Can I clean my window type air conditioner myself?

A: Yes, you can clean your air conditioner yourself, but make sure to follow safety guidelines and instructions carefully. If you are unsure about how to clean your air conditioner, it is best to hire a professional.

Q: What materials do I need to clean my window type air conditioner?

A: You will need a soft-bristled brush, a vacuum cleaner, a spray bottle, water, and a cleaning solution (such as vinegar or mild detergent).

Q: What is the best way to clean a window type air conditioner? A: Follow these steps to clean your window type air conditioner:

  1. Turn off the power supply to the air conditioner.
  2. Remove the filter and clean it with a soft-bristled brush and a vacuum cleaner.
  3. Spray a cleaning solution onto the coil fins and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse the coil fins with water using a spray bottle.
  5. Clean the fan blades and the outer casing of the air conditioner with a damp cloth.
  6. Reinstall the filter and turn on the power supply to the air conditioner.

Q: What are the benefits of cleaning my window type air conditioner?

A: Regularly cleaning your air conditioner can improve its efficiency, reduce energy consumption, extend its lifespan, and improve the air quality in your home by removing dust and allergens.

Q: What are the risks of not cleaning my window type air conditioner?

A: Neglecting to clean your air conditioner can lead to reduced efficiency, increased energy consumption, and potential breakdowns. It can also cause health problems by spreading allergens and other pollutants in the air.

Q: Can I use a pressure washer to clean my window type air conditioner?

A: No, do not use a pressure washer to clean your air conditioner as it can damage the delicate parts and lead to electrical hazards. Use a soft-bristled brush and a vacuum cleaner instead.


In conclusion, cleaning your window type air conditioner is essential for maintaining its efficiency, extending its lifespan, and improving the air quality in your home. With the right tools and instructions, you can clean your air conditioner yourself and avoid potential breakdowns and health hazards. However, if you are unsure about how to clean your air conditioner, it is best to hire a HVAC professional. Remember not to use a pressure washer to clean your air conditioner, and follow safety guidelines and instructions carefully to ensure a safe and effective cleaning process.

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