Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer coming to an end in McMurray, now is an ideal time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be blocked with dirt and debris from your yard. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out sooner.

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and address slight issues before they become high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do consists of:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Checking 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 on your own between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as several components on your indoor HVAC system.

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

How to Clean Your Outside AC Unit

Select a warm day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can run your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also called as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your system.

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

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten warped fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing should fix extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, fish out leaves and other yard waste. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet rag.

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

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running like it should, reach out to us a call at 724-370-0141.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

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

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Pull it out and angle it toward the light. If light isn’t visible, 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 moldy, you can sanitize it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and switch 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 Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also have practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your regular tune-up!