Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer ending in Marshalltown, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it recently, it could be clogged with dust and yard refuse. This collection can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or wear it down sooner.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally tuned-up every year. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric expenses.

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and take care of small issues before they become costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete involves:

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

You can still have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepared for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some maintenance you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to wash 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 warm day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can test your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a couple of 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also referred to as condenser coils and move heat away from your system.

You need to be careful with these fine coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from B & G HVAC should fix extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, fish out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then wipe the inside of the system with a wet cloth.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re finished.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

Now it’s time to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, contact us a call at 641-323-1210.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Turn off the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters need to be replaced every couple of months, depending on the model you use.

Unsure when you last put in a new one? Pull it out and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, buy a new one.

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 supple plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can clean it by pouring diluted bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and turn the power back on.

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

Never Forget a Tune-Up Again

Annual air conditioner maintenance from B & G HVAC can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also have handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your regular maintenance!