How to Clean Your Window Air Conditioning Unit Yourself in 14 Easy Steps

Your heating and cooling unit is probably one of the most essential appliances in your home. It helps to keep the air in your house cool during the summer and other hot months. Besides keeping the air in the home cool, this appliance helps to keep the air inside of your residence fresh. Therefore, you should focus on keeping it clean and professionally maintained for maximum output.

What Are the Benefits of a Clean Air Conditioner?

Generally, you should clean your AC unit at least once every three months. Cleaning the AC unit helps to:

  • Prolong its lifespan
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Eliminate musty odors
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Enhance cooling efficiency

How Do You Clean Your Window Air Conditioning Unit?

Cleaning your air conditioner can be complex, but by following the proper steps, you can accomplish this task yourself. First, you need to have a detailed understanding of what you’re doing to avoid damaging the unit. Here are 14 critical steps to follow when cleaning your window air conditioner.

1. Get the Right Protective Gear

First, you’ll need to put on some protective gear. The chemicals that are used in the process of cleaning air conditioning units can have adverse effects on your skin and eyes. Therefore, you must protect yourself before starting the process. Also, you must ensure that all the dirt is not blown toward you as you clean. It will help if you put on a mask, gloves, and some old clothes that you won’t mind ruining. You should also cover your hair to keep it from getting in the way.

2. Consult the Manual

Every air conditioning unit is different. Therefore, cleaning an AC unit will vary from one model to the next. Most heating and cooling manufacturers provide a manual that outlines how you should go about the whole process. We recommend that you take some time to read the manual before starting to clean your air conditioner. This will help you avoid cleaning your unit the wrong way.

3. Unplug Your AC Unit

Before cleaning your window air conditioning unit, you need to ensure that it’s unplugged. This will keep you safe and prevent the machine from short-circuiting or overloading itself. Turn off the switch on the wall or power strip, and then unplug it from the socket. Also, ensure that the cord is hanging over any edges where it can be tripped on.

4. Remove the AC from the Window

Most window AC units are easy to remove. They usually come with a bracket that holds them in place. You should unplug the heating and cooling unit from the power source and remove it from the window by lifting and pulling it out of the slot. Ensure all screws are tightly secured before proceeding, as you might drop or tilt your unit when trying to clean it.

5. Remove the Front Panel

The front panel of your window air conditioning unit is where all the filters are located. Therefore, it’s necessary to detach and remove it. This will ensure that you can access other parts of the machine, such as the condenser coils, fan blades, and evaporator coils that need a thorough cleaning. To do this, start by removing the screws that hold the panel in place. Then, depending on your AC unit model, you can either snap or pry the panel off.

6. Remove and Clean the Filters

When cleaning your window air conditioning unit, the first thing you should do is remove the filters and clean them. You can use a brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove all the dirt and debris that might have accumulated on them. If they’re too dirty, you can replace them with new ones. After cleaning or replacing the filters, reattach the front panel.

7. Clean the Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils are strategically located behind the front panel of your window air conditioning unit. Evaporator coils are usually responsible for absorbing heat from the air inside the room and transferring it to the outside air. To clean evaporator coils, you’ll need a cleaning solution specifically designed for this process. Don’t use bleach or other cleaners, as they can damage some components of your air conditioning unit. After applying the solution, allow it to soak for a few minutes, and then wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth.

8. Clean the Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are also located on the backside of your window air conditioning unit. They help to remove heat from the air that passes through them. You should use a cleaning solution and a brush to get rid of dirt, grime, and other types of debris that might’ve collected on the condenser coils.

9. Clean the Fan Blades

The fan blades are also located behind the front panel of your window air conditioning unit. They help to move air around your room. Therefore, you need to clean them thoroughly before putting the unit back in place. Use a soft cloth to get rid of dirt and debris without damaging the fan blades.

10. Remove Moisture From the Unit

One of the common issues with window air conditioning units is that they can develop mold and mildew. This is usually caused by moisture that gets into the unit. You can use a hairdryer or soft cloth to remove this moisture to wipe it away. A wet vacuum cleaner can also help to quickly remove the moisture and prevent mold or mildew from forming.

11. Use a Mold Cleaner

If you find that mold or mildew has already formed on your window air conditioning unit, you should use a mold cleaner. Be sure to adhere to all the instructions on the cleaner and don’t use more than is necessary. Mold has always been a problem for window air conditioners since they’re constantly exposed to moisture.

12. Dry Your AC Unit Thoroughly

Once you’ve scrubbed and cleaned your window air conditioning unit, it’s essential to dry it thoroughly. Any moisture left on the unit can lead to mold or mildew growth. You can use a towel or cloth to dry the exterior and interior of the unit. You can also use a hairdryer to eliminate any moisture trapped inside the unit.

13. Spray a Mold Inhibitor

Once your window air conditioning unit is completely dry, you can spray a mold inhibitor on it. This will help to remove mildew from growing in the future. There are many different types of mold inhibitors available on the market. Make sure to choose one that’s specifically designed for air conditioners.

14. Reassemble and Reinstall Your Unit

Once you’ve cleaned your window air conditioning unit, you need to reassemble and reinstall it. Ensure that all the pieces go back into place properly so that the AC unit will function as efficiently as possible. Once you’ve reinstalled the unit, turn it on and allow it to run for a few minutes to make sure that everything is working correctly.


DIY air conditioner cleaning is something most homeowners can do. By following the steps discussed above, you’ll be able to easily clean your AC unit and enhance its efficiency. However, some people still prefer to work with a professional company to conduct air conditioning unit cleaning. You can contact the team at Christian Brothers for effective AC cleaning. We’re professional AC experts in Arizona. We also offer air conditioner repair, electrical repair, and plumbing services.

Air conditioning, Plumbing, Electrical repair since 1976 in Phoenix, AZ.

How To Prepare Air Conditioner for the Summer

Keeping your home cool during summer is one of the biggest energy expenses you’ll make during the year. However, you don’t have to make the hard choice between a high energy bill or an uncomfortably warm house. Instead, you can prepare your AC for summer. This will maximize its energy efficiency while keeping your bill reasonably low. It’s a win-win! Here at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical, we have been advising homeowners throughout Glendale, AZ, on how to keep their air conditioners maintained for over 30 years.

While it’s a great idea to schedule professional AC maintenance in spring, there are also some steps you can take on your own to improve your system’s performance. Take a look at our list of 9 ways you can prepare your AC for summer:

1. Change the Air Filter

This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to take care of your air conditioner. Inside every AC unit is a disposal mesh filter. The filter is designed to catch dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris before it enters the AC’s internal components and damages them. However, the filter will become clogged over time which reduces how effective it is. That’s why we recommend changing your air filter every three to six months. If you have pets or live in a high pollen area, we suggest changing it every three months. Almost every hardware store carries air filters, so they’re easy to get and a very affordable way to care for your AC unit.

2. Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, investing in one can seriously reduce your monthly cooling bill. This kind of thermostat can be set on a schedule, so your AC does not work as hard during the day when you’re not at home. Relaxing your AC usage for even a couple of hours each day will have a noticeable impact on your bill and help extend the lifespan of your unit. Thermostats can be tricky to install on your own, but a trusted technician like the ones from Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical can do it in a jiffy.

3. Freshen the Thermostat Batteries

If you already have a programmable thermostat installed, be sure to freshen up the batteries twice a year. Low or dead batteries will break the line of communication between your thermostat and AC. This means your AC won’t know what temperature you want in your home, and can even trick you into thinking the unit is broken when it’s in perfect working order.

4. Clean Up Debris Near Outside Unit

Unlike your furnace, your air conditioner has an external unit. Typically this unit is located in your backyard, which makes it susceptible to collecting debris from nearby dead grass and leaves. You may also have plants or tall glass blocking the unit. This is problematic for several reasons since it can block the air intake and even make its way into the components. This can cause your AC to work harder than usual, which leads to higher utility bills and greater wear and tear on components. We recommend cleaning up the debris from around the unit at least once a month and keeping the grass cut short.

5. Clean Coils on Outside Unit

It’s common for the external AC unit to become caked in mud and other debris during the harsh winter months. This gunk can enter the unit and cake the coils, which causes the unit to operate sluggishly. You can clean down the unit by disconnecting the power and hosing it down with a garden hose. If the unit is extremely dirty, you may have to rent a commercial AC cleaner from your local hardware store to get the job done.

6. Clean the AC Fins

These fins aren’t like the flippers on a fish; instead, they’re the layers of ridges that surround the external wall of your cooling system. They often get caked in grime during the year, which can reduce the unit’s cooling capacity. If the fins are still dirty after hosing down the unit, you can break out a toothbrush to clean off the debris. Just be careful since the fins are fairly delicate and become warped or damaged by heavy scrubbing. If you do find that the fins are bent, you can straighten them out with a tool from the hardware store.

7. Inspect the Concrete Slab

Your AC is mounted to a solid concrete slab to keep it steady and raised above the ground. If the slab was built many years or constructed improperly in the first place, it may begin to sink or lilt to one side. This is a problem because the slab needs to create an uneven surface. Otherwise, it impacts how well your AC functions. If you’re comfortable with a DIY remodeling project, you can pry up the slab and add gravel beneath it until it sits evenly. Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable doing this task yourself; that’s what our technicians are here for!

8. Clean the Condensation Lines

Producing cold air for your home generates a lot of condensation, and that moisture needs to be carried away from the unit. This is done via a pipe that can get clogged, which could cause all of that moist air to redirect back into the unit itself or into your home. This can be extremely messy, leading to leaks and puddles. It can also cause serious damage to your air conditioner in a relatively short time frame. For these reasons, it’s essential to locate your AC’s condensation pipe and clean it thoroughly before you run it for the first time during summer.

9. Inspect Ductwork for Air Leaks

Cool air is transported into your home from the external unit via a system of ducts. Most of these ducts are hidden behind the walls, so they’re out of sight and out of mind, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working hard. Over time, it’s common for ducts to develop leaks. This leads to uneven air temperatures throughout your home. In other words, if you notice some areas of your house are cold while others are unusually warm, you might have a duct leak on your hands. Unfortunately, duct leaks also make your cooling system work much harder to reach your desired temperature. You can inspect your ductwork for air leaks by looking for holes in the ductwork and disconnected joints. We can also inspect your ductwork during a routine AC maintenance appointment if you wish!

Top-Notch AC Services in Glendale

The last step of preparing your AC for summer is scheduling a cooling tune-up with the pros at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical. We’ll inspect your system using state-of-the-art equipment and quickly address any potential problems before they turn into full-blown disasters. We’re also pleased to offer top-notch installation and replacement services for your air conditioner and heater. Not only that, but our talented team includes plumbers and electricians for all of your home services needs! When the time comes for AC service in Glendale, call Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing & Electrical today!

Air conditioning, Plumbing, Electrical repair since 1976 in Phoenix, AZ.