tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

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

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be full of mud and yard refuse. This buildup can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down faster.

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

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and address minor issues before they develop into high-priced 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
  • Testing lines, refrigerant amounts and connections

You can still have service done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do alone between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few pieces on your indoor HVAC system.

Related: How Often Should You Expect to Get Air Conditioning Service Done?

How to Clean Your Outside AC Unit

Pick a temperate day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can test the unit once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a couple of 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 debris from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then use the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These parts are also referred to as condenser coils and divert heat away from your system.

You need to be careful with these delicate coils. Bent or crushed fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten warped fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Strine's Heating & Air Conditioning should fix severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, dig out leaves and other yard litter. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet sponge.

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use slight 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

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating correctly, contact us a call at 717-383-4479.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be exchanged every couple of months, depending on the model you use.

Unsure when you last replaced yours? Pull it out and angle it toward the light. If light isn’t 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 moldy, you can freshen it by draining water-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect the drain tube and turn 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 Strine's Heating & Air Conditioning can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also have practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular tune-up!

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