tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

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

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

We suggest 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.

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and take care of minor issues before they turn 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 levels 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 just need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few 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 ideal. That way, you can run the unit once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few 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

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

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

You need to be cautious with these delicate coils. Misshapen 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 system with a wet sponge.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, showering water from the inside out. Reinstall the fan 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, contact 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 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 pliable plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can freshen it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can get 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 unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your routine maintenance!

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