Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Columbia, now is a good time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be blocked with dust and debris from your yard. This accumulation can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or require replacement sooner.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally serviced once a year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and handle slight issues before they turn into expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform includes:

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

There’s still time to have service 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 only need about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as several 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 clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can test the unit 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 juice to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then turn on the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These parts are also known as condenser coils and divert heat away from your equipment.

You need to be considerate of these delicate coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can influence 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 Watts Electric & A/C Inc should fix large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, directing water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re finished.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating correctly, give 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

Turn off the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be changed every few months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last checked yours? Take it out and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a supple plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can freshen it by flowing diluted bleach through the tube to sanitize 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 Electric & A/C Inc can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your routine service!