Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Elk River, now is a great time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it this year, it could be blocked with mud and yard refuse. This buildup can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or make it wear out faster.

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally maintained annually. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.

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

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform involves:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Checking pressure and temperature
  • Reviewing lines, refrigerant amounts and connections

There’s still time to have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some maintenance you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only 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 clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can run your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful of things:

  • 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

Stop the electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Take out rubbish from the system. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then turn on the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also known as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your equipment.

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Bent or crushed fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange misshapen fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Home Comfort Heating & Air should fix severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, dig out leaves and other yard litter. Then wipe the inside of the unit with a wet cloth.

The only coil cleaner you need 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 completed.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running correctly, reach out to us a call at 763-276-0617.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters need to be changed every several months, depending on the kind you use.

Can’t remember when you last checked yours? Remove it and angle it toward the light. If there’s no light visible, replace it.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then take a look at your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can sanitize it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 Home Comfort Heating & Air can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your routine tune-up!