How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner & Through-The-Wall AC Maintenance Tips

Home » How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner & Through-The-Wall AC Maintenance Tips

You’re about to spend a lot of money and use a lot of energy to keep your home and your family comfortable.

Is your window or through-the-wall air conditioner* ready?

Give your air conditioner a simple tune up to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption and prevent costly repairs to your air conditioner parts and a mid-summer meltdown.

How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner and Get It Ready For Summer

1. Check for insect/animal nests in the AC.

If you’ve left your air conditioner uncovered in your window or wall over the winter, you’ll need to check for wasp and bees’ nests inside of the unit. They love to nest there.

2. Clean the air filter.

AC air conditioner air filter materialOn most models, the air filter is easily accessible by removing the front panel. Take the filter out and clean it gently with a combination of warm water and dish soap or white vinegar. Let the filter air dry completely before reinstalling it. These should be cleaned once per month during the cooling season for window air conditioner maintenance. If you have pets, or allergies consider cleaning it more frequently.

If the filter is damaged, it should be replaced. If your unit has a foam filter, you can purchase replacement electrostatic filter material and cut it to fit your model perfectly.

3. Clean the air conditioner condenser coils.

Over time, dust and dirt will build up on the inside of an air conditioner’s condenser coils. This build up will require your AC to work harder to remove heat causing it to consume more energy which will cost you more money to run.

Before the start of every cooling season, clean the coils within the air conditioner. You’ll need to remove the air conditioner cabinet completely in order to access the coils. They can be cleaned by blowing compressed air at them or by using a soft bristle brush and a spray bottle of household cleaner to wipe the dirt off.

Take great care in removing the dirt. If you accidentally bend or dent the aluminum coil fins, use a handy fin comb to straighten out the fins.

It is also important to remove dirt or lint build up at the bottom of the air conditioner so the condensate water will be picked up by the condensing fan blade slinger properly.

4. Clean the AC water pan.

To prevent the growth of mold and a musty odor in the air, use warm water, dish detergent or white vinegar to clean the pan at the base of the unit once or twice per cooling season.

More Window Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

5. Inspect cooling coils for frost or ice build up.

If the temperature outside the room where the air conditioner is placed becomes cool (approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius or lower), check the coils on the front of the air conditioner for icing. If the coils are icing up, turn off the air conditioner until the outdoor temperature rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius.

6. Check the remote control.

You may need to replace the batteries in your unit’s remote control. If you replace the batteries and the remote control fails to function, you can find a replacement AC remote control by entering your unit’s model number at

*(also referred to as through wall air conditioners, through-wall air conditioners or thru-wall air conditioners.)

Something not working right?

DIY Air Conditioning Cleaning & Maintenance with Repair Clinic has replacement parts and accessories for air conditioners including air filters, covers, remote controls, knobs, touch-up paint, side curtains with frames and many other products.

With your model number handy, head to to find parts recommended for your model.

Related info

More AC maintenance tips

How an air conditioner works

How to find your air conditioner’s model number

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