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Domestic DIY air conditioning service – cleaning your air conditioning filters and condenser

There are two important parts in air-cooled refrigeration and air conditioning systems. These generally consist of two separate fans and heat exchangers. One circulating the outside ambient air over a condenser. The other fan circulates the air over another heat exchanger, within the cooled/heated environment.

Cleaning filters on a regular basis is very important. Even more so in dusty environments, or where there is a lot of lint or other particles in the air. This should be checked on often to ensure the filters are not getting blocked or clogged. Restriction of air flow can lead to malfunctioning of the system, as well as endangering your compressor, which is the most important and probably the most expensive part of the system.

The following steps can be used for general domestic air conditioning service.

Check the outdoor unit condenser

  • Identify your condenser. Usually this is outside the conditioned space, and very close to the compressor. This should look like a automobile radiator with a fan sucking or blowing air over it.
  • Check the direction of air flow from the fan. Usually this will be away from the building, and through the front of the unit.
  • Shut down the entire system.
  • Inspect the fins of the condenser (radiator) for a heavy build up of dust or contaminants.
  • If the condenser has a guard over it, then compressed air or a blower is recommended. Otherwise, use a wide paint brush, or soft floor brush to brush away dust, lint, etc from the condenser fins.
  • Washing the condenser with chemicals/detergents can also be done, but is best left to professional service personnel in order to avoid electrical component damage.

Check indoor unit filters

  • For small air conditioning units, identify the filters (refer to your user manual if you have one), these are usually located in the cover of the indoor unit.
  • Slip out the filters.
  • Rinse them in some mild detergent and water, then shake, dry, and replace. If they are very dirty and blocked, you might want to do this outside with a garden hose initially.

Keeping your condenser and air filters clean reduces unnecessary wear and tear on the compressor, and increases overall efficiency.

If your air conditioning system is still under performing or faulty, then you will need to call in professional help. We are available for expert service and advice within the Pietermaritzburg and KZN midlands area.