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General Aircon Cleaning Service vs Chemical Wash Service

Many users of air conditioners could not tell the difference between a general aircon service versus a chemical cleaning. As a result, some air conditioners requires a chemical wash service but the users wanted to pay a lower pricing and opt for general cleaning which may not be an effective maintenance for their air con. On the other hand, some users wanted to perform a chemical wash although their air conditioners is still clean and a general cleaning is sufficient and good enough. This article illustrate some basic differences between a general aircon service and chemical wash service.  The purpose of this article is to help air con users better differentiate and  determine when to apply each of these preventive maintenance on their air con.

The differences between general aircon cleaning service and chemical wash service include but are not limited to the following:

General Aircon Service

Chemical Wash Service (also known as Chemical Overhaul)

  • Required either every one to three months depending on the extent of usage and the environment.
  • Most residential users perform this every 3 to 4 months.
  • Most commercial user will perform this monthly or once every 2 months. This is because commercial aircon are subject to higher usage compared to residential air con.
  • Required either half yearly or yearly depending on the extent of usage and the environment
  • Most residential users perform this every once to twice a year.
  • Commercial users from different industries has different requirements in performing chemical wash. For example, hospitals, clinics and restaurants will perform chemical wash more regularly compared to office units.
  • Requires lesser technical knowledge than chemical wash.
  • No need to pump down and pump up refrigerant (air coolant)
  • No need to know how to dismantled and reassemble the entire fan coil
  • Requires more technical knowledge than aircon servicing
  • Need to pump down and pump up refrigerant (air coolant)
  • Need to know how to remove the fan coil from the wall or ceiling and dismantled and reassemble the whole unit.  Therefore require knowledge and experience on aircon installation.
  • Easy to perform and takes 20 to 30 minutes
  • More difficult than aircon servicing. Takes 45 minutes to an hour
  • Uses brush and vacuum to remove dust and debris and water to rinse the easily detachable parts such as the fan coil cover and air filter.
  • Use chemical solution and water to remove and rinse away dust and grime on all the washable parts in the fan coil.
  • Normally only water is used for cleaning.
  • Water is more neutral compared to acid or akaline solution
  • Use either acidic or akaline based cleaners.
  • Chemical reaction between the cleaner and the metal surface of the evaporator coil can cause metal loss unless the chemicals are thoroughly rinse off in a timely manner to prevent coil damage.
  • Fan coil is not remove from the wall and fully dismantled. Only certain parts such as fan coil cover, filter and sometimes air blower are removed from fan coil for cleaning offsite.
  • Entire fan coil should be removed for dismantling and cleaning offsite. This is the best practice procedure to perform a proper and thorough chemical cleaning.
  • Cleans only certain reachable parts and areas of the fan coil
  • Cleans all the parts in the fan coil
  • Much cheaper compared to chemical wash service
  • Easily around 5 to 6 times more expensive than general cleaning
  • Not effective in resolving many aircon problems caused by extremely dirty fan coil (i.e. fan coil that is clogged with dirt, dust and grime).
  • Can resolve many aircon problems
  • such as aircon not cold, foul smell from aircon, aircon noisy, water leaking, ice forming on evaporator coil or condenser etc. unless there are faulty parts in your air conditioning unit.


Do note that a good preventive maintenance for air conditioners require both general aircon cleaning service and chemical wash service. Note that although chemical cleaning can make the air conditioners very clean, however, it is more costly and time consuming. Too much chemical cleaning can also be damaging for the air conditioners because most effective chemical solution can result in some metal loss. Therefore, it is recommended to combine both types of preventive maintenance in an effective preventive maintenance for your air conditioning system.
(Note that chemical solution which do not cause loss of metal are available, however such solution are normally less effective, require more quantity to work and very much more costly. Therefore, most vendor seldom recommend the use of such solution.)