As the temperatures start to rise, your window unit AC becomes your savior. However, with increased usage comes increased chances of accumulating dirt and debris in the AC coils. This buildup can restrict the airflow, resulting in less efficient cooling and even system failure. So, if you’re wondering how to combat the situation, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the essential information you need to know to keep your AC coils clean and your window unit functioning flawlessly.

1. Understanding the Importance of Cleaning Your AC Coils on a Window Unit

Why Cleaning Your AC Coils on a Window Unit is Vital

As the summer heat rolls around, you start relying heavily on your window unit AC to provide relief from the sweltering heat. However, what if your AC fails to regulate the temperature, and the cold air is not blowing out as it once did? The answer could be as simple as cleaning your AC coils.

Over time, AC coils accumulate dirt, dust, and debris, which affects the efficiency and performance of the unit. The coils are responsible for transferring the refrigerant’s heat to the outdoor unit, and when they become clogged, they can prevent the air conditioner from cooling your home, leading to higher energy bills.

Moreover, dirty AC coils can compromise indoor air quality and contribute to respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma, and other breathing issues. Hence, it is crucial to inspect and clean your window unit AC coils to keep your family comfortable, safe, and healthy. In the next section, we will discuss the necessary tools and supplies to clean your AC coils.

2. Tools and Supplies You Need to Clean Your Window Unit AC Coils

Before starting with the cleaning process, make sure to have all the necessary tools and supplies ready. Here is a list of items you need to clean AC coils on a window unit:


  • Screwdriver
  • Fin comb
  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle


  • Protective gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Cleaning solution
  • Cleaning cloth or towel
  • Bucket


Using the right tools and supplies for cleaning AC coils is crucial to ensure efficient and effective cleaning. Screwdrivers are needed to remove the access panel of the unit to have access to the coils. Fin combs are used to straighten out bent fins on the coils, while a vacuum cleaner with brush attachment is used to remove loose debris and dust that has accumulated in the unit.

A soft-bristled brush or garden hose with a spray nozzle is used to clean the coils. Choose a cleaning solution that is specifically made for AC coils and is safe to use on your unit. Protective gloves and dust masks are necessary to protect yourself from harmful chemicals and debris during the cleaning process. Keep a bucket nearby to catch any excess water or cleaning solution that may drip from the unit.

Make sure to gather all of the tools and supplies before starting the cleaning process to avoid any interruptions or delays. With proper tools and supplies, you are on your way to a successfully cleaned AC unit.

3. Cleaning Your AC Coils on a Window Unit: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean AC Coils on a Window Unit?

Cleaning the AC coils on your window unit is essential to ensure its efficiency and longevity. The coils collect dirt, dust, and debris over time, which can block the airflow and reduce the cooling capacity of the unit. In this section, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your AC coils on a window unit to get the most out of your air conditioner.

Step 1: Turn off the AC Unit and Unplug

Safety is a critical consideration when dealing with electrical appliances. Before cleaning your AC coils, turn off the unit and unplug it from the power source. This will help prevent any electrical hazards while cleaning.

Step 2: Remove the Outer Cover of Window AC Unit

Most window AC units have a removable outer cover. First, remove the cover by untightening any screws or clips holding it in place. Once removed, place it aside for cleaning later.

Step 3: Locate the AC Coils

Located behind the outer cover are the AC coils, which are usually made of thin aluminum fins. The coils can be visible from the front of the unit or enclosed in a metal box. Carefully locate the coils without damaging them.

Step 4: Clean the AC Coils

Use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove the debris that has accumulated on the coils. Make sure to brush or vacuum along the fins and not against them, as this could bend the fins and damage the coils. Then, use a commercial coil cleaner to spray onto the coils, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Rinse the AC Coils

After applying a cleaning agent, rinse the coils with water. Use a spray bottle or a hose to rinse off the cleaner and the remaining dirt and debris from the coils.

Step 6: Replace the Outer Cover

Once you finish cleaning the AC coils, allow them to dry for some time, then replace the outer cover by tightening any screws or clips that hold it in place.

By following these simple steps, you can increase the lifespan and efficiency of your window unit AC. However, if you are not comfortable cleaning the coils on your own, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician to avoid any accidents.

4. DIY or Hiring a Professional: Which Option is Best for Cleaning Your AC Coils?

Cleaning your AC coils on a window unit is an essential maintenance task that gets rid of dirt and debris build-up. This cleaning process is essential for the proper functioning of your AC unit and avoiding potential damage and repairs. The big question is whether you should clean the AC coils yourself or hire a professional to do it for you?

DIY Cleaning

Cleaning the AC coils yourself is a great option if you’re handy with DIY projects. You can easily purchase the necessary tools and supplies required for cleaning the coils and follow the step-by-step guide discussed in the previous section. DIY cleaning is a cost-effective option that could save you hundreds of dollars in repair or maintenance fees.

Hiring a Professional

Hiring a professional to clean your AC coils is another option to consider; this is an excellent choice if you lack the necessary DIY skills, time, or energy to do it yourself. Professionals have the expertise and experience to clean your AC coils effectively while ensuring that no further damage occurs. They also have access to specialized tools that may not be available to the general public, which can make a big difference in the cleaning process’s effectiveness.

Which Option is the Best?

The decision on whether to DIY or hire a professional to clean your AC coils will depend on various factors, such as your budget, level of experience, availability of time, and the extent of damage or debris build-up on your AC coils. If you’re a DIY enthusiast with the right tools and experience, cleaning your AC coils yourself could be a great option. However, When it comes to more complex issues or coils that are difficult to access, it may be best to hire a professional to tackle the job.

Cleaning your AC coils is critical for the efficient running of your AC unit. So whichever option you choose, it’s important to ensure that you maintain regular cleaning schedules to prevent future build-up, reduce energy costs, and improve the air quality in your home.

5. Maintaining Clean AC Coils for Improved Air Quality and Efficiency

Maintaining clean AC coils is an essential task for improving the air quality and efficiency of your window unit. The accumulation of dirt, debris, and other pollutants on the coils leads to reduced airflow and poor cooling performance of the unit, plus the potential for mold growth. Without regular cleaning, the AC unit will consume more energy, leading to high energy bills and more wear and tear on the system.

To maintain clean AC coils, you should schedule an annual maintenance appointment with a professional technician. During an AC servicing, the technician will inspect and clean the coils, replace the air filters, and check other components of the system. This will ensure that your unit is running efficiently and effectively.

In addition to scheduling regular maintenance, you can also take some DIY steps to maintain clean coils. Regularly check and clean the air filters to prevent buildup of debris and remove any dirt or debris from the outside of the unit with a soft-bristled brush or hose. Also, keep the unit covered during the off-season to prevent dust and debris accumulation. Lastly, avoid using harsh chemicals or high-pressure water to clean the coils as these can damage the unit.

By following these tips for maintaining clean AC coils, you can significantly improve the air quality and energy efficiency of your window unit. Remember to consider the benefits of regular professional servicing and DIY steps to extend the life of your AC system.

6. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Your Window Unit AC Coils


Cleaning the AC coils of your window unit is essential to ensure that it works efficiently. It not only improves the air quality of your home, but it also saves you money on energy bills. However, improper cleaning can lead to several problems that can affect the lifespan of your unit. In this section, we will discuss some of the common mistakes people make when cleaning their window unit AC coils and how to avoid them.


Using a high-pressure washer when cleaning your AC coils can severely damage them. Many people believe that high pressure will help remove stubborn dirt and dust more efficiently. However, it can bend the fins of the coil, causing airflow and cooling issues. Therefore, make sure to use a low-pressure hose or a soft-bristled brush to clean the coils gently.


One of the most common mistakes people make is not turning off the unit before cleaning it. This can be not only dangerous but also leads to potential damage to the unit. Turning off the power supply before cleaning and unplugging it for extra caution.


Using the wrong cleaning solution can lead to significant problems. Avoid using harsh chemicals or acidic solutions as they can damage the coils and fins. Use a mild cleaning solution like a mixture of water and vinegar or a gentle, commercially available cleaner.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your window unit AC remains in good working condition. Maintenance and regular cleaning are essential to keep your AC running smoothly for years to come.

7. Tips for Regular Maintenance of Your Window Unit AC to Avoid Future Coil Buildup

To ensure that your AC unit’s coils stay clean and free of buildup, it’s crucial to perform regular maintenance. In this section, we’ll go over some essential tips to keep your window unit AC running smoothly and avoid future coil buildup.

1. Change Air Filter Regularly

One of the easiest things you can do to maintain your window unit AC is to change its air filter regularly. The air filter helps trap dirt, dust, allergens, and other pollutants, preventing them from entering your home. Over time, the filter becomes clogged, making it harder for your AC unit to circulate clean air, leading to increased wear and tear on the unit, reduced efficiency, and coil buildup.

Tip: Check your AC manufacturer’s recommendations for how often to change the filter. Typically, replacing it every 1-3 months is sufficient, depending on the unit’s frequency of use and your location’s air quality.

2. Keep Your AC Unit’s Surroundings Clean

Dirt, debris, and other materials around your AC unit can impair its airflow and increase coil buildup over time. Twice a year, remove any leaves, twigs, grass, or other debris from around the unit and clean the inside of the unit, paying attention to the fan blades and other components.

Tip: Leave at least two feet of clearance around the AC unit to allow proper airflow and prevent obstruction.

3. Schedule Professional Maintenance

Even with regular DIY maintenance, it’s still recommended to have a professional HVAC technician inspect and service your window unit AC system once a year. A qualified technician can perform a thorough cleaning of your unit, including the coils, inspect the coolant levels, check for leaks, and calibrate the thermostat, among other things.

Tip: Hire an experienced and licensed technician to ensure quality work and avoid causing additional damage to your AC unit.

Following these maintenance tips will help keep your window unit AC running efficiently, with healthy air quality, and prevent costly repairs. Don’t wait until your AC system breaks down before you take action. A little care and attention now could save you time, money, and a headache in the long run.

People Also Ask

Why is it important to clean window AC coils?

Cleaning the AC coils of your window unit is very important as it helps in maintaining the efficiency of the unit. Dirty and clogged coils can cause poor performance and increase energy consumption leading to high electricity bills and a damaged unit. Therefore, keeping the coils clean will prolong the life of the unit and improve its performance.

What materials are needed to clean AC coils window unit?

The materials required to clean AC coils of a window unit include a screwdriver to remove the unit case, a vacuum cleaner, a soft brush, a water hose, a bucket, and a coil cleaner. It is essential to use a coil cleaner that is safe for window AC units.

Can you clean window AC coils with vinegar?

Yes, vinegar is an effective and natural way to clean window AC coils. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply it to the coils while they are dry. Allow the mixture to penetrate for 5-10 minutes then rinse the coils with water and let them dry.

How often should you clean window AC coils?

It is recommended to clean the AC coils of a window unit every 1-3 months, especially during the summer months when the unit is being used more frequently. However, if you notice a decrease in the unit’s performance, higher energy bills, or hear strange noises, then it may require cleaning right away.

Can I use a power washer to clean AC coils window unit?

Using a power washer to clean the AC coils of a window unit is generally not recommended as it can damage the fins and reduce the effectiveness of the unit. Instead, use a soft brush, a vacuum cleaner, and a water hose to clean the coils thoroughly.


Cleaning the AC coils of a window unit is essential for maintaining its efficiency and prolonging its life. Regular cleaning of the coils will improve the performance of the unit and reduce energy consumption, saving you money on your electricity bills. Therefore, ensure you clean the coils every 1-3 months using the right cleaning materials and techniques, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.