tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

With summer ending in McMurray, now is an ideal time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it lately, it could be full of mud and yard waste. This accumulation can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down more quickly.

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

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

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do includes:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Examining 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 work you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only 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

Select a temperate day to scrub 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

Remove waste from the equipment. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

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

You need to be considerate of these fine coils. Warped or crinkled fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing should handle extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then clean the inside of the system with a wet sponge.

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

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, contact 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

Stop the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters need to be exchanged every few months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Remove it and angle it toward the light. If there’s no light visible, buy a new one.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can freshen it by pouring water-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 Kowalski Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your annual service!

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