Do I Need to Clean My Outdoor Central Air Conditioning Unit? - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jul 14, 2020

Do I Need to Clean My Outdoor Central Air Conditioning Unit?


Summer days in New York State are beautiful, sunny and clear, but they can also be hot and muggy. After using your trusty central air conditioning for months or years of relief from the summer heat, you may be left wondering if, how and when you need to clean it. Read on to learn more about how to best clean your outdoor air conditioning unit.

Do outdoor AC units need to be cleaned out?

Yes, if you are experiencing issues with your outdoor air conditioning unit, these issues can often be solved by cleaning its coils. Since outdoor air conditioning units take in air from outdoors, they sometimes also pick up dirt, grass clippings and other particles from your yard. Because of this, routine cleaning of your outdoor AC unit is recommended. The cleaning process is usually straightforward and easy to do. It will also likely save you money on your utility bill and prevent issues from arising in the future.

How often should I clean out my air conditioner?

Even if you are not experiencing issues with your outdoor air conditioning unit, you should plan on cleaning its coils at least once a year. Having a dirty condenser and evaporator coils can increase the energy usage of your air conditioning system by over 30 percent. This means that the more clean you keep your AC unit, the more money you will save throughout the summer.

What is the best way to clean out an outdoor central air conditioning unit?

To clean your outdoor air conditioning unit, start by powering it off. Do this by locating the service disconnect, which is a box with a door that flips upward. This is usually found on the side of your house. Then, flip open the door on the box and pull out the fuse to cut off power to the AC unit.

Some outdoor central air conditioning units have a protective casing around their tops and sides. These function as shields that protect the AC unit from the elements. To clean your unit, you may have to unscrew these pieces and remove them to expose the coils.

Now that the power to the unit is cut off and your AC unit's coils are exposed, the next step is to wash all the dirt and grime out from the inside of the unit. Take a garden hose and start spraying water into the inside of the unit. Focus on using the water's force to push the dirt to the outside faces of the unit. Once you start to see the dirt surfacing on the unit's outside faces, start spraying the dirt off of the outside of the unit onto the ground.

Now that your outdoor air conditioning unit's coils are sparkling clean and clear of any dirt or grime, it is time to reassemble your unit and reconnect it to its power source.

Cleaning out your outdoor air conditioning unit is a simple task that may be daunting if you have never done it before. After a full summer of using your newly-cleaned central air conditioning unit, you will see a noticeable difference in your energy usage.


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