Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Ellsworth, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be blocked with dirt and yard waste. This buildup can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or require replacement faster.

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally maintained once a year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and address minor issues before they turn into expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete involves:

  • Taking a look at the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Watching pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant amounts and connections

It’s not too late to have service done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some work you can do on your own between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to get the grime off your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few parts on your indoor HVAC system.

Related: How Often Should You Expect to Get Air Conditioning Service Done?

How to Clean Your Outside AC Unit

Choose a mild day to wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can test your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few tools:

  • Wet-dry vacuum and hose with a soft brush attachment
  • Screwdriver
  • Butter knife
  • Damp rag
  • Small, round paintbrush
  • Replacement furnace filter (if necessary)

Related: How AC Repair and Maintenance Can Actually Save You Money

5 Steps to Clean the Outside Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Switch off the electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Empty waste from the system. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also known as condenser coils and move heat away from your equipment.

You need to be considerate of these fine coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange misshapen fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC should fix severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, pull out leaves and other yard waste. Then wipe the inside of the unit with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, directing water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re done.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not working correctly, reach out to us a call at 715-318-6728.

Related: Air Conditioner Service: Pay a Little Now, Save Later

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be replaced every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Can’t remember when you last put in a new one? Pull it out and hold it up to the light. If light isn’t visible, buy a new one.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a supple plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can freshen it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and restore power.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Well Through Fall

Never Forget a Tune-Up Again

Annual air conditioner maintenance from Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your annual maintenance!