Skip to content

How to clean the air conditioner yourself at home?

How to clean the air conditioner yourself at home?

How to clean an air conditioner at home? Sooner or later such question arises before every happy owner of climatic equipment. Should we do it ourselves, or it is better to entrust the matter to a specialist? How often should such service be carried out? What parts of the system require a mandatory cleaning, and which are better left untouched? Let's try to work through all these questions together on


First, you need to understand that absolutely any technique, whether it is a car or household appliances, requires care and attention. For example, it is necessary to shake out the dust from a vacuum cleaner, to change the bag and filters, and to wash a kitchen stove, a microwave and a fridge periodically. In this aspect a conditioner does not differ from any other device at all - preventive cleaning is a must!


Secondly, it is clear that technically difficult or dangerous works are better to entrust to a qualified specialist. Independent interference can cause a breakdown of the expensive mechanism - you will have to spend money for the repair. In addition, in this case, there is a high risk of self-injury: not everyone understands electricity or can work at height.


But! If you take the same vacuum cleaner, then no one is likely to go to the service center just to replace the dust collector with a new one. The same refers to domestic split-systems: you can and should do some actions by yourself. This will save time and money for a refer to a master, will provide the normal functioning of the device and will prolong the term of its operation.


But there is one moment here. Both the outdoor unit and the indoor unit need care. However, the former are often located in places inaccessible without special devices and techniques, for example, on the facades of multi-storey buildings. In such cases it is not recommended to take care of them by yourself - you will have to appeal to a specialist.

And for all other cases you can read tips about how to clean air conditioner by yourself below.

How to clean your air conditioner correctly.

The frequency of maintenance of air conditioning equipment and signs of the need for this procedure.


Before you clean an air conditioner in home conditions, it is necessary to clarify a few more points. Many are interested in the question, with what periodicity it is necessary to do. In fact, this question is not simple and has no unambiguous answer.


To begin with, of course, you should carefully read the instructions: such information in them, as a rule, indicates any manufacturer. There you can also find a list and algorithm of the necessary work.


And in general, different parts of the system require different frequency of care. Among other things, this point also depends on the operating conditions of the equipment. For example, the frequency should be increased:


  • during the warm season - in spring and summer, as a lot of dust from the street gets into the room;

  • if there are animals in the house - their hair often completely clogs the elements of the system;

  • if the device is located in a place of high passability (store, office or other public space, especially industrial) - it is clear that due to the large number of people or other equipment more dirt is deposited on the components;

  • if equipment is used intensively, i.e. most of the time every day;

  • when there is a high level of general pollutants in the ambient air;

  • if the humidity is high;

  • if air conditioner is installed on the lower floors of the building - the closer to the ground, the higher concentration of dirt.


For domestic conditioners, regardless of the manufacturer, as a rule, the following is recommended:


  • split-system filters - at least once a month.

  • other elements - once or twice a year.

But sometimes there are some "symptoms", saying that the climatic equipment urgently needs cleaning. Among them:


  • Unpleasant musty odor, which can be felt immediately after starting the equipment;

  • Sounds of unknown origin during operation (knocking, crackling, gurgling);

  • Condensate leakage from indoor or outdoor units, drainage system;

  • higher than usual power consumption;

  • decrease of operation efficiency - feeling that the unit has become worse at heating or cooling the room.

  • All these are indications of irregularities in the normal operation of the air conditioning equipment. If you do not take any measures, the equipment can simply fail.



Before we directly pass to the description of actions for air conditioner care, there are several more useful pieces of advice:


  • Some modern split-systems have such useful functions as self-diagnosis and self-cleaning. You should not neglect them in any case! The first one with the help of error code will tell you which part needs an urgent care, and in general will remind you that it is necessary to do. The second one (self-cleaning) is able to serve the most exposed elements of the system without user's participation.

  • Before you start, remember to disconnect the mechanism from the power supply in order to avoid electrical injuries.

  • People who are sensitive to allergens better protect their hands and breathing passages with gloves and a respirator: some amount of dirt from the device will be in the air and on the skin.

  • And of course, before cleaning your conditioner, you must have everything you will need in the process - vacuum cleaner, rags, brushes, water, detergents and etc.

How to clean the inside of the air conditioner?

So, now more details about how to clean an air conditioner. It is better to begin with the internal block - the manufacturers usually make access to its internal elements as easy as possible.


First of all we lift the front panel and fix it in this position. By the way, many brands even make this element removable: it is more convenient to operate the device, and the "door" itself can be simply taken in a bathtub and washed under running water - on the inside surface of the panel a lot of dirt is accumulated too. Other exterior parts of the cabinet, vertical and horizontal louvers, and side surfaces should also be wiped with a damp cloth.



Among other elements that require cleaning, the indoor unit has the following main parts:


The filter or filter system.

The simpler air conditioners usually have only coarse strainers which retain the coarse dirt such as dust, hair, wool, etc. They are simply removed, firstly cleaned with a brush or vacuum cleaner, and then washed under a stream of water. Do not forget that they should be thoroughly dried before putting them back!


And in the more expensive models there are different filters and even their systems: carbon, photocatalytic, electrostatic, plasma and many others. Here you should be guided by the manufacturer's recommendations. The charcoal one, for example, simply has to be replaced every few months, and the photocatalytic one after a few years. And the plasma one is cleaned the same way as the regular one - as it gets dirty.



There are two kinds of fans: with a removable impeller and a fixed one. In the first case it is washed right on the spot with a brush and water with a detergent, and then it is dried by turning on the split-system - the dirt will come out, so you should take care not to stain the floor beforehand. In the second - it is disconnected according to the instructions and washed with soap and then under running water. This method requires certain skills, and if there are none, it is better to entrust the work to a master.


The radiator and heat exchanger.

The outer parts of the radiator grill and the thin plates of the heat exchanger are carefully cleaned with a brush or brush, without disassembling. The use of a vacuum cleaner on medium power is also possible. The dirt is brushed from top to bottom so as not to damage the parts. In case of heavy dirt the surfaces are treated with water from a sprayer (or simply with a damp cloth) and dried by turning on the device in recirculation mode.

The drainage system.

It consists of a tank that collects condensate and a pipe that carries it (condensate) outside the room. Accumulated dirt can clog the tube and the air conditioner will leak. We disconnect a sump from a board and a drainage hose and wash it under flowing water. It is more difficult to clean a channel, and it is better not to do it yourselves. The thing is that blowing and washing the tube requires a compressor or a vacuum cleaner working on the blow-out. And it is better to do it alternately from both sides: from the room to the street and vice versa. That is why before to clean conditioner by yourself you should think what operations are easier to do by yourself and what to address to a master.




How to clean the outside (external) unit of air conditioner.

And now about how to clean conditioner, placed outside the building. As it was already said before for high works it is better to invite a specialist. If the outdoor unit is not installed high above the ground (or, for example, on the loggia), you can try to do it yourself.



  • Let's take off the protective casing of the unit.

  • Manually remove the large debris inside.

  • We clean off the main piles of dirt with a brush.

  • Smaller dirt and dust from hard-to-reach places is pulled out with a vacuum cleaner.

  • Clean the fan, radiator and heat exchanger with a damp cloth, steam cleaner or water hose. Attention! In order not to get moisture on electric wiring you should cover it with polyethylene film beforehand.

  • Wipe the inside surfaces of the housing with a damp cloth.

  • We put the protective cover back in place. And remember: as well as any other electric device, a conditioner must be started only after it has dried up completely.

You should not forget that service of split-system is necessary from time to time, and it is better to do it not less often than once a year. Only a qualified master can make the cleaning of the device professionally, effectively and safely, to check its workability and to perform other necessary manipulations. It should be done for:


  • to compensate for the natural loss of refrigerant;

  • In case of depressurization of the refrigerating circuit;

  • During abnormal operation, for example, when some functions stop working, the unit does not heat or cool the room, does not turn on at all, no condensate is emitted, etc;

  • Before the beginning of the active operating season to check the overall performance of the equipment.

Any company-manufacturer guarantees trouble-free operation of climate systems only if they are used correctly and are maintained in time. In the absence of proper maintenance the warranty repair will not be made. But now - after reading this article - you know how to clean the air conditioner yourself, and you can always keep it in working order.