Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer ending in Lincoln, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be full of dust and yard refuse. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out sooner.

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

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and take care of slight issues before they turn into costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete involves:

  • Inspecting the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant amounts and connections

It’s not too late to have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepared for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a couple of 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

Choose a temperate day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can run 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then run the vacuum to slowly 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 delicate coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can impact 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 AW Heating & Air Conditioning should take care of extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After extracting the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then wipe the inside of the unit 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, showering water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re done.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating like it should, reach out to us a call at 402-318-5351.

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 power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

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

Not sure when you last checked yours? Take it out and angle it toward the light. If light isn’t 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 scummy, you can freshen it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and restore power.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Well Through Fall

Never Forget a Tune-Up Again

Annual air conditioner maintenance from AW Heating & Air Conditioning 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 regular maintenance!