Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in South Beloit and Belvidere, now is an ideal time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be clogged with dust and yard refuse. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down more quickly.

We advise 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 energy costs.

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and handle slight issues before they turn into costly 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
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant totals and connections

It’s not too late 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 by yourself between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a couple of pieces 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 ideal. That way, you can check your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful of items:

  • 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

Switch off the power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

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

You need to be considerate of these delicate coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange bent fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc 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 unit with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse 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 working properly, contact us a call at 877-389-2465.

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 should be changed every couple of months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Pull it out and hold it up to 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 supple plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can freshen it by draining water-down bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect 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 Fleming Heating & Air Conditioning Inc can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your routine service!