Because of its place outside of your home, it is one of the most neglected appliances you own – until it stops working. Humidity can make Winnipeg summers brutal, which is why it is so important to keep your air conditioner in pristine condition. Leaves, dust, and dirt can prevent your unit from running optimally – costing you money. These obstructions prevent air conditioners from releasing hot air, making it work harder to release cool air in your house. Just as you would overheat in the summer if you were wrapped up, your unit would do the same if covered in debris. This leaves it susceptible to breaking down on the hottest day of the year. Fortunately, cleaning an air conditioner is simple and only needs to be done on a yearly basis.

Here is a step by step guide to cleaning your outdoor air conditioner unit:

What you’ll need:
● Air conditioner coil cleaner – follow the manufacturers recommendations when selecting a cleaning agent
● Water hose and sprayer
● Gloves
● Goggles

1. Find the electrical disconnect (the metal box) near your outside unit.
2. Open the electrical disconnect and find the switch to turn off the air conditioner. This could either be a pull out switch or a circuit breaker type switch. Turn the switch to the “off” position.
3. Use the water hose with the sprayer attached to clean off loose debris (grass, leaves, etc.) on the unit.
4. Spray the unit completely with the coil cleaner.
5. Wait 10-15 minutes for the solution to foam and bond with the dirt on the coils.
6. Rinse the coil cleaner off with the hose.
7. Turn the air conditioner back on and enjoy your cool, comfortable home.

Do this at least once a year, ideally in the spring after the snow has melted and before you start to use your unit for the season.

Bonus: Energy and Cost Efficiency

Cleaning the outside unit is just one of the many tasks that need to be done to have it running efficiently and keep costs low. A full air conditioner tune-up and safety inspection will ensure your home is being cooled adequately and effectively, saving energy and money. It is recommended to have a check-up done on a yearly basis along with your spring cleaning. Leaving coils unmaintained causes unnecessary stress on your system, making it harder for it to achieve the desired indoor comfort. Your air conditioner also helps remove uncomfortable humidity from your home, but dusty coils can reduce its ability to do that. It could also lead to the breakdown of the compressor, which is one of the highest costing replacement parts within your unit. Protecting the compressor can help you avoid expensive repair bills.

If you simply don’t have time to clean your unit yourself, call a professional who would be more than happy to help and offer personalized maintenance tips depending on your model type. It is important not to neglect this appliance because even though you don’t see it on a regular basis, you will certainly notice when it stops working on a 30C day.