My AC is making me sick.
July 10, 2007 9:55 AM   Subscribe

My air conditioner is making me sick. How do I clean it?

My allergies were bugging me, so I started running my air conditioner 24/7. They got exponentially worse, and, after a few days of downing allergy medicine left and right, it finally dawned on me that the air conditioner was making me far, far worse.

I'm pretty certain that we need to go far beyond cleaning the filter, though. All I can find on Google is how to maintain one of those big outdoor AC units. This one is an in-window unit. I have a hunch that it's got mold growing inside. How can I clean this? (I assume spraying Lysol liberally into it is only going to compound my problems.)
posted by fogster to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How to clean a window air conditioner.

How to maintain an air conditioner.

How to clean an air conditioner like a pro.

I've used the first two articles to do mine; it was a little daunting at first but I got through it, though I left it unplugged for a day and a half until I was sure I wasn't going to blow something up plugging it back in.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:04 AM on July 10, 2007

any ideas for cleaning one that's permanently mounted to the wall of my 2nd floor apartment (other than call the landlord/management company)?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2007

Response by poster: The other problem is that most of these are more "How to get dirt out to improve efficiency," as opposed to, "How to kill whatever is making you really sick." They might work, but they're not entirely the type of thing I'm looking for.
posted by fogster at 11:09 AM on July 10, 2007

Their are two ways AC usually makes people sick. Either water is building up in the unit because of a clogged drip tube and/or improperly tilted unit, or you are allergic to something inside your apartment and having the windows closed is increasing your exposure. In any case I'd suggest allergy and asthma proofing your home. Focus on mold in the AC and refrigerator drip tray, steam clean and dust to reduce mites and pet dander, and buy a high quality HEPA air filter that can handle the appropriate air volume for your living space (not one of those stupid negative air ionizers).
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:24 AM on July 12, 2007

Same question here as ArgentCorvid -- I have a wall unit on the second floor and it seems to be making me sick, as well, but I don't know how one would go about confirming that or cleaning it.
posted by PandemicSoul at 2:06 PM on July 14, 2007

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