Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in McHenry, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be clogged with dirt and yard refuse. This accumulation can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or wear it down more quickly.

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

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and take care of slight issues before they turn into high-priced 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
  • Checking pressure and temperature
  • Examining 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 work you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to get the grime off 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

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

Cut the electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also referred to as condenser coils and move heat away from your equipment.

You need to be considerate of these fragile coils. Warped or crinkled fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Jett's Heating & Air Inc. should fix severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, dig out leaves and other yard litter. Then mop the inside of the equipment with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse 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 running properly, give us a call at 815-410-1128.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be changed every several months, depending on the type you use.

Can’t remember when you last replaced yours? Pull it out and hold it up to the light. If there’s no light visible, buy a new one.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a pliable plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can freshen it by flowing diluted bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 Jett's Heating & Air Inc. can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your annual tune-up!