How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

How to Clean a Window Air Conditioner Without Removing It

Compared to other HVAC systems, a window type air conditioner is easier to install. Because of its self-contained nature, window AC is the best option for cooling a room quickly, especially during summer. However, if you don’t take it down during the offseason, it will get dirty faster than usual. Removing a window air conditioner is not an ideal thing to do because it is tedious; getting to know how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it is essential to maintain your unit. 

While the outside is made to deal with a windy climate, your unit’s interior and front should be kept clean. This blog aims to tell you the best way to clean your AC unit without removing it during your monthly window air conditioner maintenance. This information will spare you a ton of time when you have to maintain your AC unit and spare you a lot of cash.

Familiarizing With Window AC Parts

Before learning how to clean window ac unit without removing, you should familiarize yourself with its parts. It is exciting and useful as it saves you from encountering more problems while cleaning. By knowing its features, you will also learn the dos and don’ts during the maintenance process.

  1. Front Panel

The front panel is the part that is seen by a person from inside the room where it is installed and has a user-interface control, which can be used electronically or mechanically. As a rule, an older unit is of mechanical control type with rotating handles to control the air conditioner’s temperature and fan speed.

  1. Interior Parts

These components are found inside of your window AC unit:

  • Cooling Coil

This component comes with an air-channel mounted on it. In this part, the heat exchange occurs between the unit’s refrigerant and the room’s air. 

  • Fan Blower 

This part is a diffusive evaporator blower to release the cold air to the room. 

  • Capillary Tube 

Such a tube is utilized as an extension gadget. It tends to be boisterous during activity whenever placed too close to the evaporator. 

  • Operation Panel 

It is the component that controls the temperature and speed of the fan blower. The thermostat detects the return air temperature and another to screen the temperature of the cooling coil. Sort of control can either be mechanical or electronic. 

  • Filter Drier

A filter drier is used to eliminate the dampness from the refrigerant. 

  • Drain Pan 

The drain pan of an air conditioner contains the water that condensates from the cooling coil and is released into the open air by gravity.

  1. Other External Parts

Aside from the front panel, these are the components found outside your AC unit:

  • Compressor 

The compressor is utilized to squeeze the refrigerant. 

  • Coils

While an evaporator coil absorbs heat from indoor air, a condenser coil is a component that releases heat from the refrigeration to the external atmosphere. 

  • Propeller Fan 

This component is used in the air-cooled condenser to help move the air particles over the condenser coil’s side.

  • Fan Motor 

It is the component that has a twofold shaft where the indoor blower and open-air propeller fan are linked together.

Knowing What to Clean

An essential thing to consider on how to clean a window air conditioner without removing it is that you don’t have to go over all the parts. There are specific components you need to focus on because many features are hidden. While it’s enticing to break out a splash cleaner, cloth, or pail of foamy water to cleanse your window AC unit, that could be a significant misstep.

Each air conditioner unit that sits in a windowsill will have a filter, and it’s anything but difficult to track down. It is not generally easy to clean but instead needs legitimate consideration if you need to keep your unit running at top proficiency. The filter lies behind the grill, which should be cleaned once in a while, albeit a quick visual assessment tells you when is the right time. 

The front panel, including the control board, is another zone to focus on. However, it will differ from one model to another. Its cabinet will take some misuse from the components outside and could require occasional TLC relying upon the conditions where you live. Other main apparent parts that are easy to clean or access in most models are drain pans and plugs. 

Maintaining your air conditioning unit clean can keep you from dealing with the interior parts. However, some internal components, such as the evaporator coil, fan motor, and blower, can sometimes be filthy. It is the usual AC problem during the offseason or put idle for a long time. Hence, it is good to store your AC unit properly if used only during summer because motors are one of the most expensive components to fix or replace.

Prepare the Things to Use

Before touching any part of your AC unit, prepare first the cleaning materials you will use to do the process efficiently. In window air conditioner maintenance, you will need the following:

  • Spray Bottle
  • A bucket filled with water
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Detergent
  • A dry towel
  • Tap water

Start with The Filter

The first step is to know how to clean window ac filters. Unplug the unit and remove the front panel or grill to get the filter. While some models have filters that you can simply pull from the side, others need the effort to take it out. Either way, you should carefully get it without breaking the grill to avoid more replacement problems. After removing the filter, you need to check the manual to see if it will require a replacement. 

Moreover, a vacuum cleaner with a decent accessory might be the effortless method to clean the filter in your window AC unit if it’s just dusty. However, if you have a messy launderable filter, such as LG, Haier, GE, and others, you should use warm water with a gentle cleanser. When you feel fulfilled, you’ll need to shake off the water from the filter and permit it to air dry.

Dusting the Grills

In some air conditioning units, dust and dirt are not visible because of the color. You can swipe a dry towel to see if you should proceed. If you want an easy way to clean it, you may take it outside and hose the dirt off. You can also use mild spray cleaners or soak it with a detergent to remove tough dirt. Most importantly, let the grills dry before installing it back in the unit.

Rinsing the Cabinet

The cabinet of a window AC unit is the housing of its interior parts that protects it from weather conditions. To clean the inner side of this component, you can use a damp rag or sponge. In any case, you may require a somewhat more real effort if your unit hangs in a window for quite a long time or more than one season.

For this outdoor job, you need to unplug the unit first and assess if your hose’s length can reach it. Practically showering down the outer part of your AC unit weekly will keep it much cleaner than you might expect and keep gunk from working up consistently. To eliminate dust or stains, you should use a scour brush with a mild cleaner.

You may also like: How to Clean an Air Conditioner Filter

Cleaning the Coils

Product manuals may suggest you call a professional HVAC technician to clean this component. Professional help may be quite expensive. However, if you want a cost-saving technique, you should know how to clean the window air conditioner evaporator coils and condenser coils.

Condenser coils are situated outwardly and secured by a lot of fins. The fins in the front are difficult to clean without making a wreck inside, yet there are other strategies you can use to clean the back’s coils. The most uncomplicated method is to blend some water in with dishwashing fluid into a spray bottle and drench the fins.

Likewise, you can do the same technique with evaporator coils. However, it may require solid synthetic substances or stringent cleaning procedures and equipment to clean if this coil is heavily soiled.

Washing the Drains and Pans

Window AC units with a drain on the rear of a pan should be assessed and cleaned if needed. Both can be zones where much dirt can gather. Yet, mold can likewise be an issue in drains. On the off chance that your AC unit has a hose associated with the drain port on the back, eliminate it. You can typically run a cloth around the channel opening to remove any soil, yet it’s a smart thought to check for blockages in the opening or the hose if you have one.


What can you benefit from cleaning your window AC unit regularly?

Regularly maintaining your AC unit can be cost-saving for you. You don’t have to replace it now and then as it will serve you for more years. 

What are the best items to use in cleaning the coils and fins?

A foaming cleanser is highly suggested. While there are a lot of different brands to choose from, you can also mix your formula. 

Is alcohol dangerous for cleaning?

Yes, because it contains flaming particles that can burn your window AC unit.

When is the best time to clean an air conditioning unit?

It is best to clean it at night as the process requires more time for drying.

Where should you store the AC unit when not in use?

Cover your AC unit with a plastic sheet and store it in a cool area of your house. If you cannot remove the window AC unit, you can utilize the tarp placed on its outer part.

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