Informational Guide

How To Clean AC Blower Wheel

Discover how to clean an AC blower wheel without removing it. Follow our easy do-it-yourself guide.

by Josh M

Air conditioners are a great asset in any home as they let you control the environment around you. As with any home appliance, it’s important to clean and maintain your device properly, or it will start to break or malfunction.

There are a lot of different parts to maintain within your AC, but one of the most important is the blower wheel. In this guide, we’ll help explain how to clean your AC blower wheel without removing it from the device so you can keep your air conditioner running properly.

Let’s start at the beginning; what is an AC blower wheel? The blower wheel is one part of the blower motor, and it exists to help move large volumes of air through your air conditioner. Obviously, your air conditioner is useless if it’s unable to force air in and blow it out again, so it’s a key component within the machine.

The blower wheel is usually part of the internal mechanism. It draws the air in from the outside and forces it through the ducts so it can pass over the cooling coils and flow into your home. In a mini split AC, it will be located in the interior unit just behind the air filters. In a central AC unit, it will usually be close to where the connection from the exterior unit enters your home.

Without a clean, functioning AC blower wheel, your device is useless, and it pays to give it a bit of extra attention.

Importance Of a Clean Air Conditioner Blower Wheel?

We’ve already spoken about the importance of your air conditioner blower wheel, but here are some key reasons to keep it clean:

Improves Efficiency

If your blower wheel is blocked with dirt, it means your whole machine will need to work harder to compensate because less air is being drawn in. A clean, clear blower wheel will work with maximum efficiency and mean you don’t need to run the AC for as long to get the desired impact.

Inhibits Formation of Scale & Sludge

Dirt and debris building up in your blower wheel can lead to bacteria which in turn can lead to scale and sludge in your machine. This can be pretty unhygienic and impact the air you’re breathing in, so if you start to notice a drop in air quality, you’ll need to check your blower wheel.

Minimizes Corrosion of the System

Dirt and dust can impact the internal mechanism of your AC. Over time this will damage important components and can mean costly repairs or even that you need to replace the whole device.

Reduces Noise

A malfunctioning AC can make a lot of noise, and when your blower wheel is filled with dust, the air isn’t flowing as freely as it should. Cleaning it regularly will stop this from happening by keeping it running properly.

Prevents Sticking Pumps

Over time, the dirt in the blower wheel can spread and cause the AC pumps to stick. This can lead to the whole unit shutting down, and you’ll probably need an HVAC professional to help you sort it.

Minimizes Cold Spots On The System

A dirty, blocked blower wheel can lead to an uneven flow of air into your home. Ultimately, this means your AC will be less effective, and you’ll not feel as much of an impact from the machine.

Decreases Monthly Bills

If your blower wheel is clean, then more cool air can be drawn into your home, and less effort is wasted by the machine. This means you can run the AC for less time and helps lower your monthly energy bills.

Mini Split in Living Room with Grey and White Theme

How To Clean The AC Blower Wheel (Without Removing It)

Your AC blower wheel is part of the key electric mechanism with your machine. There is a lot of wiring connected to and coming from the blower wheel, which can make it a bit complicated to remove and reattach. It’s also not the easiest component to access. You can clean an AC blower wheel effectively without removing it, and many homeowners choose to do that because it makes the whole job a lot simpler.

To clean your AC blower wheel without removing it, you’ll need a screwdriver, some compressed air, and scrubbing materials like a cloth or steel wool.

Once you’ve got your equipment, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Turn Off The Power
    The blower wheel is attached to the motor and rotates very quickly within your AC. You’ll need to turn off the power and leave it for a few minutes so it’s safe to access it.
  2. Access The Wheel
    Your blower wheel is usually located in the inside part of your conditioner, but a very small number of mini splits have it in the outer section. You’ll usually need to use a screwdriver to remove an access panel to get into the blower wheel.
  3. Examine The Blower Wheel
    Once you’ve removed the access panel, you should check the blower wheel for dirt and dust. Start by using your compressed air to get all the dust and light dirt clean from the wheel. This should loosen some of the tougher dirt too.
  4. Scrub The Blower Wheel
    You should be able to reach in and scrub the dirt from the sides of the blower wheel. You can use a sponge, cloth, or steel wool to do this, as all will pick up the dirt effectively. Keep going until the blower wheel is clean. You can use special cleaners to help with this if there is very stubborn dirt. Make sure you don’t use standard bleach as this can make the air from the machine hazardous.
  5. Lubricate The Wheel
    Take this opportunity to ensure your blower wheel is fully lubricated. You can buy lubricant cheaply from any hardware store, and your user manual should give you instructions on how to do this.
  6. Rotate The Wheel
    Rotate the wheel to get any loose dirt and debris that might be trapped in the device. Use some water to help flush out any last bits of dirt but don’t let too much get into the mechanism.
  7. Restart The Air Conditioner
    Reattach the access panel and secure it in place. Then, turn the power back on, and you should be able to run the unit as usual.

What Happens If You Leave It Dirty?

Ultimately, if you leave your blower wheel dirty, then you’ll impact the system’s performance. The air won’t flow through the machine as it should, and you won’t get the cooling effect that you want. In fact, even a slightly dirty blower wheel can reduce the overall efficiency of the AC by over 20%, which means your home can become hot, stuffy, and unbearable in the summer months.

A dirty blower wheel will also impact the longevity of the unit. A good AC can last you 10-15 years, but if your blower is left dirty, it can take years off the life of the device. It will eventually lead to damage which can be expensive to fix or mean you need to replace the whole device.

How To Clean Fujitsu Air Conditioners Blower Wheel?

Fujitsu is a popular brand for both home and commercial air conditioners. Unfortunately, Fujitsu air conditioners are not always the easiest to maintain as many of the components are attached with plastic tabs that break if you lift them off. However, you can clean the Fujitsu AC blower wheel without removing it from the system.

The easiest way to clean a Fujitsu AC blower wheel is to open the device and use a screwdriver to remove the access panel. Take a small paintbrush and dip it in water and use it to clean each side of the blower. Rotate it as you go round and keep going until it’s all clean. Once you’ve finished, turn the unit back on and step back. Some additional dirt may come out, and you can brush it off.

Fujitsu blowers rotate extremely quickly to maximize airflow, which actually prevents dust from building up within them. The fins of the blower are usually quite fine, which is why a paintbrush makes it easier to reach all the different places dirt will be.

Mini Split System in Living Room

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How often should a blower wheel be cleaned?

You should clean your blower wheel every 2 years at a minimum. You should have an HVAC professional check your AC every year, and they may provide cleaning as part of the service.

How much does it cost for an HVAC pro to clean a blower wheel?

It will typically cost $200-$400 to have an HVAC professional clean your blower wheel, depending on the type of air conditioner you have.

How long do AC blower wheels generally last?

Your blower wheel should last 10-20 years if it’s properly maintained.

Can you replace the AC blower wheel? How much does it cost?

You can replace your AC blower wheel, but it’s very difficult to do it yourself. The best option is to consult with a professional, but it can be expensive. The component itself will cost $300-$600, and the labor cost on top can take this to over $1500. It really pays to look after the blower wheel.

Conclusion

Many homeowners with AC won’t know what a blower wheel is, but it’s a vital part of the machine. Keeping it clean is relatively simple and will help to keep your conditioner running correctly for much longer. Hopefully, this guide has helped provide some useful information about blower wheels, and you now feel that you know how to clean your blower wheel effectively.

Last Updated on May 24, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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