In order to keep your central-air conditioning unit running at its best, it is very important to clean it. central-air units should be cleaned at the beginning of each season, before you turn it on for the first time. This spring cleaning ritual will save you money on your summer cooling costs and save you a lot of money in costly repairs that can be avoided with general cleaning. Many repairs to central-air conditioners can be avoided by a simple cleaning. Dirt, dust and debris interferes with the units ability to cool air efficiently.

Shut off the electrical power to your central-air conditioning unit. Never clean or work on a central-air unit with the power on because it can cause a fire or even worse a fatal electric shock. The power should be shut off from the electric box usually located in a basement or garage, not just the power on the AC unit itself.

Remove the housing. Not all central-air conditioning units have a metal box like cover which is called a housing. Some central-air units that have a housing are simply covering the unit and others are bolted down to a concrete pad. If the housing is bolted to a concrete pad, remove the bolts and then remove the housing.

Clean all dust, dirt, leaves and debris out of the housing. Use a hose to wash down the inside. Set the housing aside to allow it to dry.

Use a shop vac to vacuum off the condenser fins. Be very careful not to bend the thin, metal condenser fins because they are easy to bend. If any fins are bent use a fin comb to straighten them out.

Brush away any remaining dust and dirt with a soft paint brush. Gently brush as much dirt away as possible.

Remove the top guard. This is the part that covers the fan. The top is held in with screws. Carefully move it to the side to avoid pulling off any wires.

Use a hose. Place the nozzle into the center of the air conditioner unit and spray water from the inside out through the fins. Start at the top of the AC unit and work your way around and then down. Wash any filters.

Replace the fan guard and tighten screws.

Allow the central-air unit to dry for at least an hour or two. Put the housing back in place and replace the bolts.

Turn the power back on to the AC unit.

Go inside of your house and turn your central-air on, lower the temperature on the thermostat.

Go back outside and listen for any strange noises to make sure your central-air conditioner unit is working properly.

This is an easy do it yourself air condition maintenance that will save you money and will save your central-air conditioner from working too hard. The buildup of dirt, dust and debris puts unnecessary stress and strain on the central-air unit thus shortening its life and increasing summer cooling costs.