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I am looking into getting my 25,000 BTU window air conditioning unit cleaned.
Most of the quotes I have received are around $300 for pick up, chemical cleaning and re-installation.
Does anyone have experience with cleaning a large window unit, and if so, have any recommendations?
I've been using Air-Wave for years. They're great -- they take out your unit in the fall, do a thorough cleaning and tune-up in their shop, then store it for you all winter, re-installing it in the spring.
Thanks for the response.
What do they charge, if you don't mind me asking?
They've been charging me $350 per unit, but I've been a customer for quite some time now.
So we have four through the wall a/c units. Is the idea that we're supposed to spend $1400 a year cleaning them? Aren't they kind of not worth that sort of investment?
Well, $350 or so per unit isn't cheap, but I can only imagine what sort of build-up and gook is in my A/C unit and I can't imagine it is helping it run at peak efficiency.
I have a large apt with several fridges running in it, so I really need my A/C unit to be running well. I think I am going to get it cleaned.
when you are looking at a 25000BTU AC, $350 is worth it. if you are looking at 6-12000 BTU, then it's cheaper just to buy new ones every year. each year the ACs become more economical in utilizing electricity, so donate your old and buy new. don't pay someone $100+ per hour to do $25 per hour work.
"don't pay someone $100+ per hour to do $25 per hour work."
Driving out to your home, taking the unit out, lugging it down the stairs, taking it back to the shop, disassembling it, tuning it up, cleaning it, storing it, then taking it back to your apartment to re-install takes much longer than just three hours. All told, someone is spending at the very least half a day on your unit in the shop ... that's not counting the back-and-forth.
Figuring a minimum of 10 hours, $350 is actually a bargain.
Also, there is the luxury of not having that gaping monster in the window for the seven or so months that you don't need it. Not to mention the draft that can come blowing through in the winter. It works for me.
it may take you that long matt. realistically, it's 1 hr for pick up and 1 hr for drop off. it should not take more then an hour to clean either.
i don't put in ACs ofter, but can do an install into a window in about an hour. taking it out shouldn't take more then 15 min and allow 45 for travel. unless you live in a walkup, there are no stairs to consider.
I used Air-Wave once, probably wouldn't again because the cost gets close to buying new units if not every time, over two years. My limited experience was that the workers they hired seemed to be in a great rush, so I'd suggest making sure your receipt is correct, e.g., if the workers they hire forget to write down "incl. cover" the workers they hire will be only too happy to sell you a used one they just happen to have in the truck or back at the shop. Hope my experience is unique, as they have a great reputation.
"it may take you that long matt. realistically, it's 1 hr for pick up and 1 hr for drop off. it should not take more then an hour to clean either."
If you know what you're doing.
It should also not take any longer than 20 minutes or so to remove my own appendix, but guess what? It would take me considerably longer to do it myself, so I have no problem with paying a surgeon $8,000 to do it.
It would take a hell of a lot of "peak efficiency" to make back $350 a unit on energy costs. I mean, how oes this math make any sense?
There is a product and service for everything though!
And my guess is that these guys clean the filter and wipe the unit with a damp loth and call it a day.
Besides getting it in and out of the window (which your super can help with) air conditioners are super easy to clean. So unless you really want to have it stored somewhere for the winter, I think the $350 is a waste.
"Besides getting it in and out of the window (which your super can help with) air conditioners are super easy to clean."
Only if you're a mechanic and know how to disassemble and re-assemble.
"Only if you're a mechanic and know how to disassemble and re-assemble."
Have you ever tried to clean one? You don't actually have to take it apart all the way, just remove the cover and the filter. And you can clean it with just hot water or soapy water. It takes some elbow grease, but totally doable for someone who doesn't want to spend $350 per unit every year.
for Matt, a screwdriver is a drink, so he is one of those idiots that keep these overpriced places in business.
"Have you ever tried to clean one?" I'm not talking about a Martha Stewart superficial cleaning. I'm talking about a full-fledged tune-up.
NYCMatt: "I'm talking about a full-fledged tune-up."
Does it include 100 or 120 point inspection?
I vacuum the removable filters on my AC's every weeks when they're in use. If I ever thought the units need to be chemically cleaned, it's time to get new ones.
Thank g-d for modern condos where this isn't an issue. The cost of the maintenance would be more than a month's common charge.
@NYCMatt - how is cleaning the filter a superficial cleaning? What else do the professionals do? Is the unit completely submerged in chemicals or something? You still didn't answer my question if you've ever tried. I'm not arguing that my method is better than the professionals, but it's definitley good enough. And for $350 per unit I think good enough is good enough!
NYCmodern- What you are doing is cleaning the air filter which is important to do regularly.
NYCMatt- Is talking a real cleaning of the compressor fins etc that are inside the unit. They too get gunked up and lose cooling power.
"Is the unit completely submerged in chemicals or something?"
Yes, something like that.
Can anyone else recommend someone besides Air-Wave? They told me that they can't clean a through-wall unit. Are there other companies that would clean a through-wall unit? There are so many in New York there has to be someone, no?
I'm also researching a company to clean my PTAC units. I'll probably go with with one of these:
it is funny to consider that, based on the slave labor effected by outsourcing, one can buy a brand new airconditioner here in NYC for less $$ that the cost of annual maintenaqnce of an existing one.
worst is that ac compressors are freon bombs, and freon from disposed compressors is a big ozone depleter.
>slave labor effected by outsourcing
Another company is Weston Bros. We used them once. They were fine, but we decided to go with the self-cleaning method.
After having been through both methods (them vs. us) we realized the cost effectiveness of doing it yourself really makes a difference. The yearly "deep-cleaning" method (if they actually do it!) is really overkill. General maintenance (wiping away grime, cleaning out the filters) will make AC's last a reasonable amount of time.
As an analogy, it's like taking your car in for a transmission overhaul every 3,000 miles, when all you really need for maintenance are timely oil changes. Then again, I'm sure there are plenty of mechanics out there who will be happy to overhaul your transmission every 3,000 miles, and charge you accordingly.