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How does air conditioning work and how to clean it

How does an aircon work? Find out in our guide - with bonus tips on how to clean your unit!


a woman opening an air conditioning unit

Key steps:

If you need to clean an aircon, follow these steps:

  1. Straighten fins with a fin comb.

  2. Use a cleaner designed for coils to clean them.

  3. Clean or replace the filter.

From keeping you cool in hot temperatures to making sure your rooms are always comfortable when the weather gets a little chillier, air con can be a great addition to homes. But it’s important you know how to use yours properly to make the most of it! To help you out, we’ve put together a guide covering how does air conditioning work and aircon cleaning, with everything you need to know to keep yours running as it should.

When learning how to clean an aircon, be sure to buy a great coil cleaner and fin comb to keep yours working as it should.

How does aircon work?

Wondering ‘how does an aircon work’? It’s not as complicated as you might think. First of all, an air con has two main purposes: to cool or warm a room, regulating temperature to keep you comfortable. It can also change the humidity and quality of your air, depending on the machine you have.

The system works by using an outdoor and indoor unit. The outdoor unit has a compressor that circulates the refrigerant, switching it to a liquid from a gas. The indoor unit then takes the air inside your room and passes it across evaporator fins, which are designed to transfer heat. It’s at this point that the refrigerant turns back from liquid into a gas, taking heat from the surrounding air to do so. The air is cooled by this and circulated back into your room. It’s a pretty smart system!

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How to clean aircon

Knowing how to clean an air conditioner is essential to maintain yours and keep it working its best, just like anything in your home! Follow these tips to clean an aircon easily:

  1. Remove the plastic panel to the filter.

  2. Straighten any wonky cooling fins using a fin comb.

  3. Remove any visible build-up from the coil before applying a coil cleaner.

  4. Clean the coils by following the instructions on the bottle.

  5. Use a regular household cleaner and soft cloth to clean the fan blades.

  6. Learn how to clean the aircon filter or replace it if necessary and reinstall your air con.

Should you install an air conditioning unit?

Whilst air con can be great in a home, there are also plenty of downsides you should consider. The first is its impact on the environment - there’s no denying that air con isn’t eco-friendly! It uses a ton of electricity, so be careful to not use yours too often and always turn it off when you’re not at home. It can also be very drying, and the noise of your unit can be quite loud. If you don’t want an air conditioner in your home, take a look at our alternative ways to keep a room cool.

Know you’re more clued up on how does central air conditioning work and how to clean your own, you can make sure the temperature in your home is always perfect! Remember though, if you can pick an eco-friendlier cooling option you definitely should.

Originally published