how to clean contactors on ac


Benefits of Cleaning Contactors on AC

Contactors are an essential component of any air conditioning system. They are responsible for controlling the flow of electrical current to various parts of the unit. Over time, contactors can accumulate dirt, debris, and even rust, which can affect their performance and efficiency. Regularly cleaning the contactors on your AC unit not only ensures its smooth functioning but also offers several other benefits. In this article, we will explore the importance of cleaning contactors and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to effectively clean them.

Increased Energy Efficiency

As contactors accumulate dirt and debris, their electrical connections can become compromised. This can result in resistance and heat buildup, leading to increased energy consumption. By keeping the contactors clean, you can ensure optimum electrical flow, reducing strain on the system and improving overall energy efficiency. A clean contactor will allow your AC unit to operate more effectively, resulting in lower energy bills and decreased environmental impact.

Cleaning the contactors is a relatively simple process that can be done by anyone with basic knowledge of electrical components. However, it is important to follow the proper guidelines to ensure safety and avoid damaging the unit.

Step 1: Power Off the AC Unit

Before you begin cleaning the contactors, it is crucial to turn off the power supply to the AC unit. Locate the main electrical panel in your home and find the corresponding circuit breaker for the air conditioning system. Flip the switch to the "off" position to prevent any risk of electrical shock during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Remove the Access Panel

Once the power is turned off, locate the access panel on your AC unit. This panel is usually located on the side or front of the unit and can be easily removed by unscrewing the fasteners or releasing the tabs. Carefully remove the panel to expose the internal components, including the contactor.

Step 3: Inspect the Contactor

After removing the access panel, visually inspect the contactor for any signs of dirt, debris, or corrosion. Pay close attention to the contact points, as these are crucial for proper electrical flow. If you notice any buildup or damage, it is a clear indication that cleaning is required.

Step 4: Cleaning the Contactor

To clean the contactor, start by using a soft brush or cloth to remove loose dirt and debris. Be gentle to avoid damaging the contact points or other delicate components. Once the loose particles are cleared, you can use a contact cleaner or electrical cleaner spray to thoroughly clean the contactor.

Apply the cleaner directly to the contact points, allowing it to penetrate and dissolve any stubborn dirt or corrosion. Use a small brush or toothbrush to scrub the contact points gently. Avoid using excessive force, as this can damage the delicate components. After scrubbing, wipe away any remaining residue with a clean cloth.

Step 5: Reassembling the Unit

Once the contactor is clean, allow it to air dry completely. Ensure there is no residual moisture before reassembling the unit. Carefully put the access panel back in place and secure it with the fasteners or tabs. Double-check that everything is properly tightened and aligned.


Regularly cleaning the contactors on your AC unit is an essential maintenance task that should not be overlooked. By keeping the contactors clean, you can improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system, leading to reduced energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint. Remember to follow all safety precautions and guidelines when cleaning the contactors, and always turn off the power supply before starting the process. With regular cleaning, your AC unit will operate more effectively and provide you with the cooling comfort you desire.


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