Summer is upon us once again. As the temperatures start to rise, you’re probably starting to think about hauling your portable air conditioner out of storage to help combat the heat. But here’s a tip: don’t wait until the thermometer reaches 90° F to get the AC ready. Follow these simple tips to prepare your air conditioner for summer use now, and avoid any unpleasant surprises when the heat is on.
Vacuum Out Dust and Debris
Hopefully, you properly prepped your air conditioner before you stored it last autumn. If so, then getting it ready for summer is a simple matter of cleaning off a bit of dust and dirt.
Before you plug your unit in, pop out the filter fram
es and remove the filters. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to clean out all the vents and louvers. Make sure you reach inside with the hose to suck up anything inside the air conditioner’s case. Unless you’ve kept it wrapped up in plastic, it will have some accumulated dust, and maybe the leavings of a few buggy friends who used your air conditioner for a winter home.
Cleaning the Coils
Clean condenser coils work more efficiently when free of dirt, grease and grime. If the coils in your unit look particularly grubby, you can clean them off with a store-bought coil-cleaning product, or a homemade acidic solution of vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water. Just spray it lightly onto the coils and let it sit a while to remove the dirt.
Clean or Replace Filters
If you didn’t clean the filters before storing them, now is the time to do it. Most air conditioner filters are washable, so all you have to do is rinse them under warm water. Let them dry thoroughly before you put them back in the unit. Washing the filters is something you
should do every couple of weeks when you are using it regularly – dirty filters will impact air circulation, which means your AC won’t work as well.
If after you wash the filters, they still look dirty or worn, then it is time to replace them. Contact the manufacturer for fresh filters, to ensure your indoor air is clean and breathable. Usually, filters need to be replaced about once a year.
The activated carbon filters might need to be replaced a little more frequently, depending on your circumstances. Since these filters are designed to remove odors from the air, if you have pets or do a lot of cooking then you mig
ht have to change them once a month or so to experience their full benefit.
Washing the Exterior
Washing the exterior of your portable air conditioner is the easiest part of cleaning it. Just use a soft cloth and warm water. If necessary, you can use a mild cleanser – dish soap, for example – but avoid any cleansers that have abrasives in them, as it could scratch up the plastic casing and leaving it looking worse than when you started.
Take it For a Test Run
Once everything is cleaned and put back together, it’s time to take your air conditioner for a quick test drive. You can do this before you install the exhaust hose and window kit for the summer, just to make sure everything is operating correctly. Basically, turn it on for 5 or 10 minutes and make sure it is blowing cold air.
Important: do this before it gets hot! You don’t want to discover your air conditioner isn’t working correctly when the heat wave is already underway!