Clean your air conditioner at home

Last week I had to get an air conditioner serviced. The air conditioner was cooling fairly well, but struggling to keep up on hot days when it had kept up just fine last year. So I bit the bullet and paid $79 for a cleaning and health check. In the process I learned it’s possible to clean your air conditioner at home. And save a bundle.

I also learned is that a cleaning can make the difference between running all day and being able to maintain a comfortable temperature while cycling. So cleaning the air conditioner makes it more comfortable and more efficient, saving you money. I also learned that the most important part of the cleaning is something you can do yourself, very easily. If your air conditioner isn’t under warranty anymore, you can save the $79, which adds up.

The service guy didn’t open the air conditioner up and remove the leaves and other debris. He said if it’s full, you need to do it, but since there was only about six inches of debris in there, it’s fine. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t take 15 minutes longer to do that part of the job, but I figured it was worth $79 to me to watch how he cleaned the air conditioner, so I could do it myself.

The crucial part from a safety standpoint was that he shut the AC off at the breaker. Then he took a hose, put a nozzle on it, and sprayed across, up, and down, repeating a couple of times per side, removing all of the dirt from the inside and the coil. Once he got the coil shiny, he moved over to the other side. You can get an air conditioner cleaning spray at home improvement stores. But plain water can do the trick, and it’s cheaper.

I don’t think it took 10 minutes, and it made a big difference in how the AC operated. Do it at the beginning or the end of the cooling season, and you’ll save a few dollars a month.

That’s how to clean your air conditioner at home. You’ll save money both on your electric bill and from not paying someone else to do it. Since reduced cooling costs tend to build on one another, cleaning your own air conditioner is a great place to start.

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