Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer ending in Sacramento, now is an ideal time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be full of mud and yard refuse. This buildup can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or make it wear out more quickly.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally tuned-up once a year. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on utility expenses.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and take care of small issues before they become costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do consists of:

  • Inspecting the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Watching 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 maintenance you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to get the grime off 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 wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can test your equipment 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 power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then run the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These parts are also called as condenser coils and move heat away from your unit.

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

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange misshapen fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from American HVAC Inc should take care of extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After extracting the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet cloth.

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Put the fan back in 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 operating correctly, contact us a call at 916-243-6714.

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 should be replaced every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Can’t remember when you last replaced yours? Pull it out and hold it up to the light. If light isn’t visible, get 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 clean it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new 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 American HVAC Inc can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular tune-up!