Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Paso Robles, now is an ideal time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be blocked with mud and yard refuse. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out faster.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally tuned-up every year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on utility costs.

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and handle small issues before they become expensive 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
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant totals and connections

You can still have service done this fall—and we can get your furnace ready 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 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

Choose a temperate 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 couple of items:

  • 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 juice to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then run the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These parts are also known as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your system.

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Warped or crinkled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust warped fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Paso Robles Heating and Air should fix large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After extracting the fan, fish out leaves and other yard litter. Then mop the inside of the system with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Replace the fan 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 running like it should, give us a call at 805-203-8667.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

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

Not sure when you last checked 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 take a look at 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 sanitize the line. Or you can replace the 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 Paso Robles Heating and Air can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your routine maintenance!