Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer ending in Scottsboro, now is a good time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be blocked with dust and yard waste. This accumulation can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or require replacement faster.

We advise having your air conditioning system professionally serviced once a year. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on utility costs.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and address minor issues before they develop into costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete includes:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant amounts and connections

There’s still time to have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace ready for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some maintenance you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to wash 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 scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can check the unit 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

Stop the power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also known as condenser coils and divert heat away from your unit.

You need to be cautious with these fine coils. Warped or crinkled fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. should take care of extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, dig out leaves and other yard waste. Then wipe the inside of the equipment with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, showering water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re finished.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

Now it’s time to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not working correctly, reach out to us a call at 256-574-1300.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Turn off the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

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

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Remove it 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 examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a pliable plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can freshen it by draining thinned bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 Southern Heating & Cooling Inc. can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your routine service!