An air conditioner is a mechanical device that measures around 220 square feet to maintain an optimal indoor temperature throughout the hot summer months.

Needless to say, you’ll need to clean your AC regularly to ensure it continues operating efficiently and effectively. But how often do you need to clean your air conditioner? 

Cleaning your system can be challenging, but following the proper cleaning schedule is essential for ensuring peak performance all year long. Read on for everything you need to know about the air conditioner cleaning process.

Why is it important to clean your air conditioner?

You may not realise it, but your AC system is full of dirt and grime. If you don’t clean your system regularly, dirt and dust can build up inside your system, clogging your filters and reducing airflow. This can reduce your system’s efficiency, meaning it will cost you more to run. 

Airconditioning unit being fixed

Clean, regular air filters are crucial for keeping your system’s components in good condition. A clogged or dirty filter is like a piece of sandpaper on your air condenser — it could damage it. Clean filters improve airflow and reduce the amount of work your AC has to do to cool your home. This can help it last longer and reduce your energy bills.

Weekly cleaning checklist

  • Check your filters – Filters are the first line of defense against dirt and dust. A clean filter should be able to stop large crumbs from passing through. If you can see through the filter, it’s time to replace it. 
  • Check your coils – If you have a central air system, you will likely have a condenser outside your home. Cleaning these coils can help prevent dirt and grime from building up and causing increased wear and tear on the system. 
  • Clean the drip pan – If your system has a drip pan, clean it out. A dirty drip pan can cause water to overflow, which may damage your AC system and floor.

 Monthly cleaning checklist

  • Check your filters – If you have a window AC, this should be your top priority every month. 
  • Clean your air conditioner – This includes vacuuming the system, unclogging the filter, and wiping down the exterior of your AC.
  • De-scale the unit – If your AC is pulling extra energy to run, it’s likely due to mineral build-up. This can cause an increase in your energy bills, as well as premature wear and tear on your system. Make sure you de-scale your AC regularly to keep it running smoothly.

Yearly cleaning checklist

  • – Clean the condenser – This is the part that sucks in air and cools it down for the indoor unit. With constant use, dirt and grime can build up. Take a long brush and give the condenser a good wipe down. 
  • – Check the rooftop units – Usually found on the roof, these units cool the air before it’s transferred into the house. Like the condenser, these can get dirty and should be checked yearly.

How to clean your air conditioner – Step-by-step guide

Airconditioning unit with two filters one clean one dirty
  • Vacuum the system – Use a handheld vacuum to vacuum the interior of your air conditioner. This will help you remove dirt and dust, which can clog your filters and reduce airflow. 
  • Clean your filters – Use a vacuum to clean your filters. If you have reusable filters, soak them in a cleaning solution. If you have disposable filters, replace them with new ones. 
  • Unclog the drain – Make sure to clean out the drain at the bottom of your unit. Clogged drains can cause water to back up and overflow through your filter. 
  • Wipe down the exterior – Make sure to wipe down the exterior of your AC. 
  • Close the vent – Cleaning the ductwork can be challenging, especially if you have a central AC. If you have a central AC, make sure you close the vent. This will keep the dirt out of your ductwork.


Cleaning your air conditioner is essential for optimal performance. Regular cleaning will help prevent dirt, grime, and dust from building up and clogging your filters, which can reduce airflow, increase your energy bills, and cause your system to wear out faster. 

If you follow a cleaning schedule and use the right cleaning products, your AC will run more efficiently and last longer. While AC maintenance may be challenging, it’s well worth the effort.