THOROUGHLY Cleaning a Window A/C Unit?

Discussion in 'XDTalk Chatter Box' started by dave_in_delaware, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. dave_in_delaware

    dave_in_delaware XDTalk 5K Member

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    My wife and I noticed a "wierd" smell in our living room last night. We traced it to the window A/C unit, where we noticed a bunch of black dots INSIDE the unit (mold, spores, whatever). Not good!

    I can open the front panel, clean out the filter, and wipe the surfaces clean...

    But how do you clean all the sh!t out of the INSIDE of the unit? The black stuff is inside the "vents" and the inside of the unit. Like everywhere.

    Must I dismantle the window "frame" (it's built-into the window), then take the A/C unit apart and clean it? Can I just dip the whole friggin thing in the bathtub full of bleach? (LOL kidding).... Has anyone thoroughly cleaned an A/C unit before?

    I need to clean it so it doesn't keep putting a moldy smell (and probably other nasty stuff) back INTO our house!

    Help!

    (and I'd rather keep the units and clean them out, instead of just buying new ones, because the window was custom made to fit these particular window units! Our windows are NOT double-hung, they are modified old casement things, so we can't simply buy new A/C units and put them in. Ugh)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  2. CMfromIL

    CMfromIL XDTalk 5K Member

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    Honestly, I'd check the manufacturer's website. See if they have cleaning tips or guides online.

    When is the last time you have inspected the unit? Doubtful it just cropped up in the last day or so.

    What is the unit? Are you sure it's mounted properly? Have you inspected the rear of the unit. Are the cooling vents plugged?

    More info would be helpful.
     
  3. ichy_trigger

    ichy_trigger XDTalk 10K Member

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    I would take it completely apart and clean it completely. Be sure to spray the coil out with a hose but dont spray the electronics. Be sure the unit is draining when its running. It should have a couple of small hols int he bottom of the condensate pan and they could be clogged up and not allowing it to drain properly.

    You can sanitize it with Bleach when your done although Chlorine Dioxide would work better. Im not sure if yoou can buy that anywhere, we order it by the case.
     
  4. Stango

    Stango XDTalk Member

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    leave it in the window, open it up as much as you can and spray the keck out of it with Lysol (all the moldy areas).... its what the car dealers do when your car AC gets moldy. They turn on the car AC and spray Lysol through the intake cowl.
     
  5. GreenBayShooter

    GreenBayShooter XDTalk 3K Member Founding Member

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    Yuck. New unit. I don't take chances with mold - it is evil stuff!
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  6. Mr. Lead

    Mr. Lead XDTalk Member

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    I'd say spray the unit down as best you can with Simple Green and let it soak for a few, then use a garden hose on a mist setting (no high pressure jet) to rinse the SG out. You can do it in place and since it's biodegradable it won't kill the bushes or critters around your home. Smells good too.

    The mold may be caused by you turning the unit off directly after using it in the cool setting. Maybe try switching it to FAN mode for 15 minutes or so before shutting the unit off to dry up a bit of the condensation prior to stopping all air flow through the unit.
     
  7. CMfromIL

    CMfromIL XDTalk 5K Member

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    That just maskes the odors. You need to kill the mold. NOT make it smell 'pretty'.
     
  8. GSXFBadBiker

    GSXFBadBiker XDTalk 500 Member

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    I used to clean them all the time for a company I used to work at. Just pull the insides out, take it out side. Spray down the coils with a good cleaner. 409, Spic & Span, what ever and let it sit. Then hose it all out good. Dont spray directly on the controls or fan motor.
     
  9. einheit 13

    einheit 13 XDTalk 5K Member Founding Member

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    Pull it out of the window, but some bleach in a spray botlle and shoot it good in the coils. Give it about 10 minutes (just make sure it doesn't dry) and hose it off. Just keep water from spraying directly on the house controls. All outside parts are weather proofed...thats how I clean mine, been doing it for 7 years on this one.
     
  10. Big Papa

    Big Papa XDTalk 100 Member

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    Make sure the condensation drain is completely clear, and open. When running the a/c there should be a nice constant drip coming from the unit (more, or less, depending on temperature and humidity). If this isn't happening, make sure that the unit is tilted, or angled to the right pitch so that it does. Most a/c units should get rid of enough of the moisture to keep this from being a problem.
    After you thoroughly clean the unit by taking it apart only enough to get at the large parts, (most of the internals will just slide out of the shell) use a 25% mix of bleach+water on the mold. Hose out the rest of the coils, taking care not to bend the fins.
    One thing you can do later is to buy a can of Evaporator Cleaner. It is a foaming aerosol product made to clean the coils and fins of any a/c evaporator or condenser. You just spray the product into the coils, let it sit for a couple of minutes, the run the a/c. The condensation of the evaporator will wash it away, and out the drain. Most have a nice scent to deoderize the unit, and make it smell lemony fresh.
    You can get the Evap. Cleaner at your local appliance parts werehouse for about $10-$15 for a nice sized can. I hope this helps, good luck.
     
  11. thelongone13

    thelongone13 XDTalk 5K Member

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    How old is this unit? Might be better off replacing it.
     
  12. bobert1

    bobert1 XDTalk 500 Member

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    Most modern window A/C's don't drip out the back anymore. They have a slinger ring on the condenser fan blade to throw the condensate water against the condenser coils to cool them faster. Now as far as cleaning. If the chasis slides out of the cabinet (larger A/C's) you have it made. Remove the ground wire, pull out the chasis and clean it. oil the fan motor bearings while your there. If you have a smaller BTU A/C then you'll probably have to remove the entire unit and remove all the screws holding the cabinet to the chasis. Do keep the cleaning solution and water away from electrical parts. That includes the wiring that leads to the switches and fan motor. GOOD LUCK.
     

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