Window air conditioners are an alternative cooling option for small homes and apartments that provide cooling for a single room. They are more affordable and require less installation when compared to larger central air conditioner units. However, like all home appliances, window air conditioners need to be maintained to ensure that they continue to operate at peak efficiency for as long as possible.
Clean the Air Filter
An air filter that is blocked within your window air conditioner will significantly negatively affect your unit's efficiency. Unplug the unit and remove the faceplate. Check your unit's owner's manual to determine if you have a reusable or disposable filters. Reusable filters can be cleaned by hand using warm water mixed with mild dish soap, and should be cleaned at least once a month as a general rule of thumb (excessive usage will require more cleaning, while sporadic usage less). Disposable filters are simply thrown out and replaced with a similarly sized filter, which can be found at most hardware stores.
Clean the Coils
Even though your air conditioner's filter will do a good job at blocking most debris from getting inside of the unit, dirt will still accumulate on the inside of your air conditioner. You should clean the coils off semi regularly, both inside and at the rear of the unit. The coils can be quickly cleaned using a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, or with a damp cloth for caked on dirt. Take care if cleaning with a cloth to keep water away from any of the electrical components within the unit, as water exposure can damage them.
Straighten the Fins
Due to general usage or physical trauma, the fins within the unit can become bent out of shape. Physically inspecting the fins within the unit while you are cleaning out the air filter and the unit's coils is the only way to tell if they are out of shape. They can be straightened using a fin comb, available at most hardware stores. Check your unit's owner's manual to find the fins per inch of your unit, and match that to a comb to ensure that you are straightening them properly.
Contact a Professional
Though the above maintenance can help keep your window air conditioner unit in shape, problems can still arise. If your unit is no longer operating as it should, you should contact a professional from a company like One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating (West Pasco) to come and look at it.