How to Clean Portable Air Conditioners - Maintenance Guide

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Portable air conditioners are popular for their convenience: they can be placed in virtually any room, and have a strong-enough cooling capacity to keep small to moderate rooms at a comfortable temperature.

Most homeowners with a portable air conditioner know to drain the drip pan, and clean the air vents of their air conditioning units. Besides the air intake vents and the drip tray, the air filters, drain plug, and condenser coils of a portable air conditioning unit can be cleaned without the assistance of a professional technician! Here's how:

How to Clean Portable AC: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

To clean a portable air conditioning unit, you'll need a few tools like a screwdriver to open up the unit, compressed air to clean the coils, and a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust particles from the condenser coil of your portable AC unit. Having these tools on hand will make your cleaning session easier.

  • Screwdriver
  • Compressed air
  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachments
  • Soft cloth
  • 3% Hydrogen peroxide

Step 2: Remove and Clean Air Filter

Some portable air conditioners have accessible air filters that you can clean without having to open up the unit. If this is the case, take out the filters, and wash them with warm water and soap, or vacuum away the dust on the mesh of your air filters. Some units may have secondary filters as well, so be sure to clean them.

Step 3: Open Up Your Portable Air Conditioner

You can clean a portable air conditioner by dismantling the exterior housing to expose the condenser coils. To do this, you'll need a screwdriver set that fits the screws and rivets on your unit. Unplug the portable air conditioner first, and disconnect the exhaust hose. Take note of where the screws should be properly placed for re-assembly later on.

Step 4: Vacuum Up the Dust Particles from the Condenser Coils

Once you've opened up your AC unit, you may notice a layer of dust around your condenser. Use a vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment to get deep into the fins, and remove the dust and debris stuck in your unit.

Step 5: Vacuum Up the Evaporator Coil

Use a smaller brush attachment, and locate the evaporator coils, which should look like thick coils bent in a snake formation. Vacuum up the dust from the evaporator, and use a soft cloth dampened with 3% hydrogen peroxide to disinfect both the evaporator, and the condenser unit. Let the excess moisture dry.

Step 6: Drain the Water Tank

If your portable air cooler has a water tank used in the cooling process or in fan mode, drain away any old water from the tank. Rinse the tank by running fresh water through it, and use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the internal tank, preventing mold and bacteria from festering in your air cooler. Let the water tan dry inside and out.

Step 7: Clean the Drip Tray and Exhaust Hose

Remove the drain plug, and let the water drip out. Clean the drain pan with some soap and warm water, and wipe a disinfecting solution on the shallow pan as well. Disconnect the exhaust hose from your window, and run water through the hose to clear any blockages, and flush away the dust. Let the hose dry completely.

Step 8: Piece the Unit Back Together

Once your unit is dry, you can work on piecing the unit back together. Place the housing back together, and secure it with screws. Place the filters back into position, and place the rubber plug back on the drain line. Finally, connect the vent hose to your unit, and power on your air conditioner to test the cold air coming through your portable AC.

Tips to Maintain Your Portable Air Conditioner

  • Clean your unit monthly. If your unit is blowing warm air, the problem is most likely with dust covering the condenser. Cleaning the dust out of your unit will help keep the unit functioning properly.
  • Use a damp cloth to clean the exterior of your unit regularly. This will prevent dust and mold spores from getting into the unit through the vents.
  • Clear away excess condensation from the drain lines. Condensed water can accumulate in the drain pan and drain hose, allowing mold and bacteria to grow. Cleaning these with chlorine bleach will disinfect the components. Let the drain dry before piecing it back together to prevent mold growth.

Properly Clean Your Units

Professional cleaning is the way to go to deep clean air conditioning units that have not been cleaned in a long time. At Luce Aircon, we clean portable aircon models of any type and brand, so you can be sure we have the expertise to clean, sanitize, and repair your unit!

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