Bob Vila Radio: TLC for Your Window AC

As summer wanes and lower temperatures mercifully return, you may soon say goodbye to your window air conditioner. But prior to putting the appliance away, devote some time to a basic tuneup. That way, you can be sure that when summer rolls around next year, you're primed and ready to go.

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Window air conditioners: We turn to them in the dog days of summer, turn them off when the weather cools down, and forget about them the rest of the time.

Window Air Conditioner Maintenance

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Listen to BOB VILA ON WINDOW AIR CONDITIONER MAINTENANCE or read the text below:

To make sure the unit operates correctly the next time you need it, give your AC some much-needed TLC. First, unplug the unit and, with a putty knife, remove the front grill and internal filter. Clean both parts with a mixture of warm water, dish soap, and white vinegar. If your filter happens not to be washable, swap in a replacement.

Next, clean any of the cooling coils you can access, vacuuming them with the brush attachment. Afterward, scrub the coils with a plastic brush. If you encounter any bent fins along the way, consider using a simple fin comb (available at your local home center) to straighten them out, ensuring proper future performance.

Once you’ve let all the different components dry out completely, re-assemble the window air conditioner and let it run for a few minutes. Listen carefully and, if you hear excessive fan noise, tighten the blade’s set screw and fastening bolts. If you suspect that any sealed parts of the appliance need service, contact a repair professional.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!