Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Excelsior Springs, now is an ideal time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be full of mud and yard waste. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or require replacement faster.

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally serviced annually. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric expenses.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and take care of small issues before they turn into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do includes:

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

There’s still time to have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace ready 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 clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a couple of 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 warm day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can check 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These components are also known as condenser coils and move heat away from your unit.

You need to be considerate of these fragile coils. Warped or crumpled fins can affect 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 Colvin's Heating and Cooling should handle large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, fish out leaves and other yard waste. Then mop the inside of the unit with a wet cloth.

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, directing water from the inside out. Reinstall the fan once you’re done.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, give us a call at 816-379-3918.

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 must be replaced every several months, depending on the model you use.

Can’t remember when you last put in a new one? 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 supple plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can sanitize it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect 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 Colvin's Heating and Cooling can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your regular maintenance!