An air conditioning system in the vehicle is a real boon, especially on hot summer days. It is also an important tool for removing moisture from the vehicle interior to the outside. But even an air-conditioning system needs regular care, maintenance and cleaning. This article will tell you how best to carry out this cleaning.
How does an air conditioning system in a car actually work??
Before you start cleaning or disinfecting. When it comes to disinfecting the air-conditioning system, it is important to understand how it actually works. We would like to explain this in the following section.
Simple physical principle
air conditioners use a very simple physical principle. If you compress a gas, it will heat up. Conversely, it cools down as soon as it can expand again. The basic component of an air-conditioning system is coolant. A compressor sucks in this gaseous coolant and compresses it.
The gas heats up due to the high pressure and is then cooled down in a heat exchanger. Here, it changes from a gaseous to a liquid state. Afterwards, a dryer filters any water from the coolant. Now the coolant flows to an expansion valve. This releases the coolant into the evaporator in doses.
Change of the aggregate state
The coolant is no longer under pressure here, so it returns to its gaseous state as it passes through the evaporator. To achieve a change of the aggregate state, heat is necessary. This heat comes from the air as it passes through the evaporator.
As soon as the air has passed the evaporator, it cools down considerably and enters the vehicle interior through the air vents. The coolant, which is now in a gaseous state, is sucked back in by the compressor and the cycle can start all over again.
Manual and automatic control
All air conditioning systems in cars ultimately work according to this principle. However, there are differences in terms of operation. Two different operating versions are common. On the one hand there is a manually operated air conditioning system and on the other hand there is an automatic air conditioning system with an automatic control system.
In the manual version, cooling only takes place within the set temperature range. Automatic air conditioning, on the other hand, can maintain the desired temperature even when outside conditions change. This is done with the help of sensors. A multi-zone air conditioning system is particularly convenient. This allows separate settings for driver and passenger.
Why it is important to clean the air conditioning in the car regularly?
While the air conditioner is running, moisture is extracted from the air and captured. The lion’s share of this air finds its way through a small opening in the heater housing. Particularly in the warm summer months, this can lead to real puddles under the car.
Nevertheless, there is still a certain residual moisture that remains on the so-called evaporator. This is particularly the case if the driver only switches off the air conditioning when the engine is switched off. As a result, the temperature can no longer equalize.
Fungal spores and bacteria that have entered the evaporator through the air now enjoy a warm, humid climate that provides an ideal breeding ground for them. Now they can spread unhindered.
Tip: therefore, switch off the air conditioning in the vehicle a few minutes before the end of the journey. This gives the evaporator the opportunity to dry out all the remaining moisture.
Molds, in particular, pose a serious health risk. For this reason, it is important to clean and disinfect the air conditioning system regularly, so that bacteria and fungi are destroyed.
How can you tell that the air conditioning system should be disinfected??
A damp, musty smell emanating from the air conditioning system is the clearest indication of a mold infestation. If the air conditioner is never disinfected, the process of putrefaction will even cause an extremely unpleasant and penetrating odor over time.
An infestation by mold can also be recognized by physical symptoms. This includes watery or burning eyes, a runny nose, coughing or sneezing. All these are the first signs of an allergic reaction. If these occur regularly or more and more frequently while driving in the car, you should have the air conditioning system disinfected as soon as possible.
How to clean the air conditioner in the vehicle?
For the cleaning resp. There are various options for disinfecting the air conditioning system in the vehicle. These are more or less effective. We will now present you the most known ones.
Disinfecting the air conditioner: this is how it works
The spray from the can is quite capable of eliminating the unpleasant odor coming from the air conditioner within a few minutes. The prices for such sprays start at about ten euros.
Before you start spraying, however, there are a few preparations you need to make. First, fold down the front seats and slide the passenger seat all the way forward. Then spread a towel on the floor behind the passenger seat.
Turn off the spray here, as this will give you sufficient distance from the interior fittings. Next, start the engine and switch the air conditioning to "recirculation" mode. Make sure that you set the fan to full power and that the air flow goes upwards. Make sure that the air vents are open as well.
Now the moment has come when you spray the disinfectant. Press the spray button and close all doors of the vehicle. Do not remain seated in the car while the product is being sprayed. About a quarter of an hour later, the can should be completely empty.
When the spraying process is finished, switch the engine off again. Take the cloth out of the footwell and remove any residues of the disinfectant. Then you should ventilate the interior thoroughly. Now your air conditioner is disinfected and unpleasant odors should be a thing of the past for the time being.
Cleaning the air conditioning system with disinfectant foam
Disinfectant foam is slightly more effective than disinfectant spray. However, the application is somewhat more complicated. From a price point of view, however, there is only a slight difference between foam and spray. Depending on the supplier, you will receive a bottle of cleaning foam for a price of ten or 15 euros.
The foam is sprayed directly into the evaporator in the engine compartment of the vehicle. For this purpose, a longer hose is usually added to the foam. The cleaning agent is now left to work for about 30 minutes. Then start the engine and turn the air conditioner to the highest setting. Again, do not forget to open all air vents. Now let the engine and the air conditioner run for some time, so that the foam can distribute itself optimally.
Spray or foam?
In terms of effectiveness, a cleaning foam is usually superior to a spray. The cleaning foam is used directly on the evaporator and can develop its effect directly at the source of the fungi and bacteria. The spray, on the other hand, must first find its way through the intake tract. The spray, on the other hand, is easier to apply.
Change the air conditioner filter once a year
It is not only important to disinfect the air conditioning system at regular intervals; you should also make sure to change the cabin air filter once a year. Spring is the best time to do this. Depending on the car model, however, such a change is quite difficult for a layman. If you feel unsure, you can also have the cabin air filter replaced in a workshop. The cost for this starts at about 50 euros and depends on the car model.
Tips for optimal use of the air conditioning system in the vehicle:
- Allow existing heat in the vehicle to dissipate through open windows and doors before turning on the air conditioner.
- Close the windows and sunroof before turning on the air conditioner. Open the doors as seldom as possible and only briefly when the air conditioning system is switched on.
- In recirculation mode, you can reduce contamination of the pollen filter, thereby reducing the cleaning and replacement cycle. Interior air that has already been pre-cooled can be cooled to the desired temperature with less energy than warm outside air.
- Ideally, the desired temperature should be no more than five degrees below the outside temperature. The airflow is only slightly cooled here.
- Switch off the air conditioning about five to ten minutes before the end of the journey. Thus you avoid residual moisture on the evaporator and can counteract the formation of germs.
What happens during air conditioning service in the workshop?
During an air conditioning service, the professionals check the functionality of the most important components of the air conditioning system. These include the evaporator, the expansion valve, the condenser and the refrigerant compressor, which is also called a compressor or simply a compressor. Seals and hoses are also examined more closely, as they are subject to aging processes and can dry out and become leaky as a result.
You can expect the following services from a professional air conditioning service:
- Maintenance with visual and functional inspection
- A replacement of the refrigerant
- Filling up the oil for the compressor
- Extensive disinfection to remove fungi and bacteria
- If necessary, repair of the air conditioning system
Professional treatment with ozone removes all fungi and bacteria from the air ducts, ducts and evaporator. In addition, a regular change of the interior filter ensures that the air conditioning always works optimally and the air stays in the.
Booking an air conditioning service during an inspection
It is important to know that the functionality of the air conditioning system is not automatically checked during every normal inspection. For this reason, you should inquire in advance and, if necessary, book an air conditioning service as well. At the latest, if you notice that the cooling capacity of the system is declining, it should be checked for a possible loss of coolant.
Even without leaks, however, air conditioning systems gradually lose certain amounts of coolant. This results in reduced cooling capacity and increases the risk of costly consequential damage. Because the coolant not only provides the cooling, but oil is added to it, so that it protects the seals from drying out and also lubricates the compressor. If this should give up the spirit and must be replaced, are with costs of more than 1.000 euro can be expected.
Cleaning the air conditioning system – better to go straight to the professionals?
Certainly, the air conditioning system is one of the components in the vehicle that is difficult to reach. If you use commercial disinfectant sprays or foam to clean your air conditioning system, many fungi and bacteria will remain in hidden places and can continue to multiply undisturbed. odors and possibly allergic symptoms will reappear after only a short time.
So disinfecting the air conditioning system on your own is no substitute for a professional air conditioning service. Ideally, for thorough disinfection, you should regularly – experts recommend at least once a year – contact a specialist company that not only has a lot of experience in cleaning an air conditioning system, but is also in possession of special instruments and tools to carry out thorough cleaning of the air conditioning system.
Conclusion: in this article you have learned why and how to clean and disinfect the air conditioning system in your vehicle. If these measures are too time-consuming for you or if you do not trust yourself to disinfect your air conditioning system, then this is not a problem. In this case, simply contact the specialists at JuRS gmbh. We are happy to offer you the service of disinfecting your air conditioner.