Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer coming to an end in York, now is a great time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be blocked with mud and yard waste. This collection can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or require replacement more quickly.

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

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and address small issues before they turn into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform consists of:

  • Taking a look at the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Testing lines, refrigerant totals and connections

It’s not too late to have maintenance done this fall—and we can get your furnace ready for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some work you can do on your own between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to wash 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

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

You’ll only need a few 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

Take out debris from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also called as condenser coils and divert heat away from your equipment.

You need to be careful with these fine coils. Warped or crumpled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Strine's Heating & Air Conditioning should fix extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, showering 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 running correctly, reach out to 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

Cut the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be changed every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Unsure when you last put in a new one? Take it out and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, 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 sanitize it by draining water-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Scrub 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 offer handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your annual tune-up!