Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Keokuk, now is a good time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be blocked with dust and yard refuse. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or wear it down sooner.

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and handle small issues before they become expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete involves:

  • Taking a look at the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Checking pressure and temperature
  • Reviewing lines, refrigerant amounts 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 on your own between professional tune-ups. You only 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 temperate day to scrub 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 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 electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also called as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your unit.

You need to be cautious with these delicate coils. Warped or crushed fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from WM J Kraus & Son should handle extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then mop the inside of the system with a wet cloth.

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

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not working properly, reach out to us a call at 319-229-2318.

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 should be replaced every several months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last checked yours? Take it out and hold it up to the light. If light isn’t visible, get 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 flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can sanitize it by flowing diluted bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Wash 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 WM J Kraus & Son can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your annual maintenance!