Cleaning the air conditioner (window or wall unit) annually will ensure a long life and help keep repair bills to a minimum. It will also ensure that it runs at maximum capacity. When the evaporator and condenser coils or cooling fins are dirty or clogged, they sometimes have difficulty producing cold air. Thoroughly cleaning them – and straightening out bent fins will go a long way in keeping the unit in top shape.

A complete DIY clean-up is relatively easy and only costs a few dollars for supplies. If you are having problems with cooling and cleaning doesn’t solve it, then you might consider calling a professional – or simply replacing the unit.

Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning the air conditioner:


  • Disconnect the unit from all power sources. Unplug the power cords or if the AC is wired directly to your home, turn off the corresponding circuit breaker.
  • Discharge the capacitor. This important device holds an extra charge that helps kick-start the motor. It is crucial to discharge this component before you begin to clean.
  • Clean the outside of the unit off with a Swiffer sheet or damp cloth.
  • Remove the plastic filter holder/trim panel. Most of the time these will snap off, but some use plastic hooks or screws to keep them in place. Refer to the manual if you are having trouble. After the panel is off, gently remove it from the widow or wall.
  • If you are cleaning a window unit, remove the mounting frame and case. The case screws are typically located on the bottom edge.
  • Start with the cooling fins. Straighten the bent fins with a fin comb. A fin comb kit can be found at most hardware stores.

Find a Fin Kit Here

  • Gently vacuum the coils and remove all the visible dirt and residue.


  • Clean the fan blades with household cleaner and a cloth.
  • Wash or replace the air filter. If the filter is disposable, make sure that you replace it at least once every month during the summer.
  • Make sure that the unit is completely dry before reassembling. After you have reassembled the unit, plug it in and turn it on. Clean up whatever dirt or debris that comes out of the registers upon use.

Keeping your AC unit clean with ensure several more years of service. Make sure that you are mindful of discharging the capacitor. If you are uncomfortable with performing this part on your own, call a professional out to clean the unit. Interstate is always here to help with all of your HVAC needs. Contact us today at 405-794-8900 to schedule a service call.

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