Quick & Easy Guide | How To Clean A Split Air Conditioner

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Quick & Easy Guide | How To Clean A Split Air Conditioner

If you’re sweating through a heat wave even when your air conditioner is on full blast, it might be time to give your unit a thorough clean. Cleaning your air con is not as intimidating as it sounds. With our quick and easy guide to cleaning a split air conditioner, you’ll be back to enjoying lovely, cool air in no time. 

Do I Have A Split Air Conditioner In My House?

Split air conditioners are the most common type of air conditioner in Brisbane homes. If your air con cools just one room or region of the house, you likely have a split air conditioner. 

This type of air conditioner consists of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit looks like a long, compact rectangle built into the wall. The outdoor unit, known as a condenser or compressor, looks like a large metal box. Unlike ducted air conditioning, which has ductwork built throughout the ceiling, split air conditioners use pipes to connect the outdoor unit to the indoor air unit. Luckily, this simple design makes split air conditioners easy to clean! 

Why Cleaning Your Split Air Conditioner Is Important

It might be a bit of a chore, but cleaning your air con is definitely worth the effort you put in. Why is cleaning important? Cleaning your air conditioning has three major benefits. 

The first benefit is improved air quality in your home. The filters inside your air conditioners are designed to catch dust and microbes. If these filters are not cleaned regularly, they can fill up with moisture and even attract mould. Cleaning your air con ensures the air flowing through your home is clean and healthy. 

Cleaning your air con restores your it to its full capacity, improving your air con’s ability to keep your home refreshingly cool. A clean air conditioner is more energy-efficient, lasts longer without the need for repairs, and can even reduce your electricity bills because your air con will not need to work as hard to do the job. 

How Often Should I Clean My Air Conditioner?

As a general rule, our air conditioning experts recommend cleaning your air conditioner at least two times a year. 

Manufacturers typically recommend cleaning your air conditioner’s filters every few weeks, but this ultimately depends on how frequently you use your air con. Simply put, the more you use your air con, the more often you should clean its filters. To make sure your air conditioning unit is ready for summer, it’s a smart idea to clean the filters in spring. 

Even if you find the time to clean your air conditioner only once or twice a year, you’ll still reap the benefits of a cleaner, more efficient system. 

How To Clean A Split Air Conditioner

If you’re unfamiliar with how to clean a split air con, no worries. The process couldn’t be simpler. Once you’ve done it once, you’ll feel confident in the knowledge you can do it again with ease. Here’s our easy step-by-step guide to cleaning your split air con.


You’ll need: 

  • A screwdriver
  • A stiff brush or duster
  • A cleaning agent
  • A vacuum
  • Antibacterial solution

Note: This guide is specifically designed for cleaning a split air conditioning unit. If you have ducted air conditioning, your cleaning needs will be different. 

Step 1: Turn Off The Electricity

Make sure there’s no power running through your air conditioner when you clean it. Turn off all electricity running to your air conditioner, including powerpoints your air con plugged into, the circuit board or wall charger if possible. 

Step 2: Check Your Manufacturer’s Instructions

When you purchased your air con, it likely came with an instruction manual that describes how to access and clean its air filters and other parts you can maintain at home. If you don’t have your instruction manual available, try downloading a copy from the manufacturer’s website. 

Note: While you might be tempted to clean your air conditioner’s condenser coils yourself, this really is a job best left to a professional. Why? If you DIY clean your condenser coils, you may void your warranty or accidentally damage components. Even worse, you may put your safety at risk by releasing the dangerous refrigerant. 

Step 3: Clean Your Filter Panels

A typical split air conditioning unit has one or two inbuilt air filter panels. These are your air conditioning unit’s primary line of defence against dust and bacteria. You may also find your air con has an additional filter (such as a HEPA or carbon filter) to purify the air. 

The more dirty and clogged your air con’s filters become, the harder your air conditioner will need to work to push air through. The bad news: This can drive up electricity costs and cause your air con to short-cycle, reducing its lifespan. 

Cleaning your filter panels is easy. Simply, pop open the plastic cover and remove your filter panels. Take the filters outside for a good brush or shake. Dislodge any dust and grime by shaking or hitting the panel against a post or railing. For a thorough clean, use your vacuum cleaner to suck up any lingering or grime. Your vacuum’s dusting brush head may be helpful here. 

If the dirt on your air filters just won’t budge, we recommend washing them in warm water with mild detergent and rinsing them clean. Just make sure they are completely dry before putting them back inside the unit. 

Spray an antibacterial spray on the filters to prevent bacteria and mould. 

Step 4: Clean Your Air Conditioner’s Louvres

Your air conditioner’s louvres are the angled oscillating slats on the exterior of your indoor air conditioning unit that direct air flow. If you haven’t used your split air con for a season or two, you may notice dust collecting on their surface. If this is the case, we recommend giving your louvres and the space behind them inside the unit a quick clean with a dry cloth or vacuum cleaner. If you like, you can spray the louvres with an antibacterial solution. 

Step 5: Clean The Exterior

If any dust has built up, give the exterior casing of your indoor air conditioning unit a quick wipe-down. 

This goes for your outdoor air conditioning unit too. Remember to brush away any dust, leaves and cobwebs regularly and keep it clear of objects that can obstruct its air flow.

The Benefits Of Professional Cleaning

Once or twice a year, it’s worth hiring a professional service technician to give your split air conditioner a thorough clean and service. Here at H&H Air Conditioning, we can: 

  • Provide a full professional clean, including your condenser coils and other internal parts of your air con
  • Repair your air conditioner and replace any faulty parts
  • Provide advice on how to operate your air con more efficiently to save on your power bill

Need help with cleaning your air conditioner? We’re here to help. Get in touch with H&H Air Conditioning on (07) 3276 1800 (Brisbane) or (07) 5477 1777 (Sunshine Coast).