A faulty A/C unit can be very frustrating. Whether you have a window unit or a central A/C system, you will be glad to know that a new A/C or repair bill will most likely not be necessary. Most of the time, a thorough cleaning is really all you need to get your A/C back on. You should clean your A/C unit at least once a month.
Turn off and unplug the A/C unit. Take the A/C unit out of the window.
Remove the front cover to find the filter. The cover will be held in place either with push tabs, clips or screws. Look for the filter. It will be located either in front of the evaporator coils or behind the front cover. If it's not there, check in front of the blower or under the evaporator coils.
Wash the filter and cover with detergent or soapy water mixed with bleach. The bleach will remove mold. Let the filter soak for at least 15 minutes. Shake out the excess water and leave the filter and cover somewhere until they are completely dry.
Vacuum the evaporator coils to remove dust or dirt. Use a brush to remove excess dust or dirt if it doesn't all come off while vacuuming. Make sure the fins on the condenser coils are not bent. If they are, use a fin comb to straighten them. You can get a fin comb at a local appliance store.
Clean the inside of your A/C unit, including the fan blades, with a soft brush. Reassemble the filter and front cover.
Slide the A/C unit back in your window and plug it in.
Central Air Conditioners - Turn off your unit. This is normally done using a disconnect panel found next to the outdoor compressor. Cut or trim any bushes, plants or weeds that may be restricting airflow. Remove leaves and other debris from the outdoor condenser.
Take off the top cover and protective grills from the compressor. Be mindful of wires that may be pulled loose if your fan is attached to the grill. Vacuum the fins gently using a brush attachment, making sure not to damage anything.
Rinse the fins with a hose and nozzle. Make sure you protect the motor and wiring using large plastic bags. If the user's manual instructs you to lubricate the motor, this is the time to do it.
Reassemble the unit and check to see if it's working by turning the thermostat off and resetting the power by the compressor and main panel. Set the thermostat to turn on the unit. Wait five minutes in between turning it off and on so you don't strain the compressor. Let the unit run for a couple of minutes, then check the two pipes that join the condenser unit to the air handler. One should feel cool and the other pipe should feel warm.