tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

With summer ending in Columbia, now is a great time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it lately, it could be blocked with dust and yard refuse. This accumulation can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or wear it down more quickly.

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

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

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do involves:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Watching pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant totals and connections

There’s still time to have service done this fall—and we can get your furnace ready for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some work you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few 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 clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can test your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a couple 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 electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Take out rubbish from the equipment. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

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

You need to be cautious 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 get a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Watts Electrical & Air Conditioning should handle severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Replace 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 running correctly, contact us a call at 601-736-7362.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be exchanged every several months, depending on the kind you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Pull it out and angle it toward 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 pliable plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can freshen it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Scrub 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 Watts Electrical & Air Conditioning can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your regular tune-up!

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