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Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Los Angeles, now is a good 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 accumulation 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 maintained every year. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on energy bills.

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and address small issues before they become costly 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
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant levels and connections

There’s still time to have service 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. It only takes about an hour to clean 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 temperate day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can test your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful 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 power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Remove rubbish from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then turn on the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also called as condenser coils and move heat away from your unit.

You need to be careful with these fragile coils. Warped or crushed fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from AZ Air Conditioning and Heating should take care of severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, fish out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then wipe the inside of the unit with a wet sponge.

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, spraying 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 running correctly, contact us a call at 800-296-5088.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters need to be replaced every few months, depending on the kind you use.

Not sure when you last checked yours? Remove it and hold it up to 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 examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can clean it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can get a new 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 AZ Air Conditioning and Heating 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!