How to Properly Clean a Portable Air Conditioner

Posted by: Mas Broto
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Portable air conditioners are a great way to efficiently cool your home or office. Because they don’t require permanent installation, these portable cooling units can move from room to room, allowing you to cool different rooms with the unit. Bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, garages, offices, and warehouses are all great places to use a portable air conditioner.

Portable ACs are also very simple to maintain. Cleaning the portable air conditioner is an easy task and should be done on a regular basis to keep the unit running as efficiently and as effectively as possible during the warm summer months.

How often should you clean your AC?

For the best possible cooling, you should clean the air filters at least once a month, depending on their use. Dirty air filters hamper airflow and can damage the unit. You’ll also lose money since a unit with a dirty filter must work harder and use more electricity to cool the air. Clean your AC filters once a month!

The entire unit should be cleaned thoroughly both at the beginning of the summer and at the end of the season. This will ensure it is running in the most efficient manner possible. Clean your portable ac twice a year!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cleaning Portable AC

  • Unplug the unit and drain the water tank.

During the cooling process, your portable air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier because it removes water from the air. This condensate is collected in a bucket or tank and must be periodically emptied. Before you begin cleaning, make sure the bucket is empty.

  • Run the portable AC on fan mode.

This will dry out the inside of the unit completely, which will prepare it for a more thorough cleaning. After about two hours, the inside should be completely dry.

  • Remove the filter from the frame and remove loose dirt and dust particles.

The best way to do this is by tapping the filter lightly with your hands or even on the side of a garbage can to easily collect the loose particles.

If your portable air conditioner uses a carbon or HEPA filter, remove that as well. Typically these filters should be replaced rather than cleaned, but follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding their maintenance.

  • Rinse the air filter thoroughly.

Run water over the filter to completely remove any dust and dirt. You can also immerse the filter in warm water and a mild detergent to ensure a thorough cleaning. Let the filtered air dry and place it to the side until you’re finished cleaning the rest of the unit.

  • Using a vacuum, clean out the air intake vents.

A handheld vacuum works great, but you can use a hose attachment on a regular vacuum as well.

  • Spray an acidic solution directly onto the cooling coils.

You can pick up any sort of acidic cleaning solution (such as a citric acid cleaner) found at your local grocery store. Or make your own with lemon or lime juice or vinegar mixed with water. Allow the solution to settle for about 15 minutes, and then replace the air filter.

  • Wipe down the outside housing.

The outside of your portable air conditioner can get dirty over time, so be sure to wipe it down with a soft, damp cloth periodically. Do not use any strong chemicals or abrasive cleaners when cleaning the outside of the portable AC, including detergents or chemically-treated cloths.

  • If the season is over, store the unit.

If it’s the end of the summer (if your portable air conditioner doesn’t have a built-in heater option for year-round use), pack it up in the original packaging and store it for the season. Store the unit in a dry, cool place away from any direct sunlight or major source of heat.

It only takes a minute to properly clean your portable air conditioner. They are convenient, as you can move them between the rooms of the house. Some of them also come with a heating feature, so you can use them year-round.

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Mas Broto
Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.