Easy DIY free HVAC cleaning

Since we’re renting this house, naturally none of the appliances suffered any annual maintenance or cleaning. The AC cuts in and out during the day for God knows what reason, Hubby says the coil keeps freezing at which point you have to turn the thing off for half an hour, then turn it back on.

I’m a lab tech, so PM (preventative maintenance) is just part of my life. I did google “how to clean it yourself” but that involves taking the outdoor heat pump apart and I don’t want to do that because A.) the thing is kinda big, and B.) I don’t know what shape it’s in and don’t want to break it.

So I just did some cleaning and think I may have found our inefficiency problem.

NOTE:SAFETY Before I did anything to the unit, I turned it off at the control panel, then went to the basement and turned the fuse off in the fuse box. I also waited 10-30 mins (I have kids, time is relative) for any charge that may have built up in the capacitor to dissipate before I went to work on the unit.

this is the good side of the appliance

this is the good side of the appliance

It’s plastered with dust, grass and whatever else Nature blows by. Here are the tools I used: an old windshield brush to brush the larger chunks, a vacuum cleaner with the soft bristle attachment because you do not want to damage the fins, and a teeny crochet hook to straighten bent fins and hook out crap.

using world's smallest crochet hook to straighten the fins

using world’s smallest crochet hook to straighten the fins

There is a tool you can buy to straighten fins and when we buy our own home I’ll buy one of those. Until then, I’ll use what I have.

On the left side, most of the fins have been smushed in so that means 0 air flow, which would be a crucial element to the heat pump “hot air flows out” function.

I looked inside the unit and didn’t see any debris so that’s good. Now I don’t think I need to call a professional, this might keep us in business until we move out.

using crochet hook to hook out crap from the bottom rim of the unit

using crochet hook to hook out crap from the bottom rim of the unit

I had to throw out the full vacuum bag after this.

Now it could just be me, but I put my foot on top of one of the kitchen air vents and it seems to me that the cold AC air is blowing up stronger than before.

oh so much more efficient looking

oh so much more efficient looking

PS- A day after I cleaned the thing, the AC was so powerful that Hubby turned it off at the end of the day!

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