24/7 Emergency Support

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Anchorage, now is a great time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it recently, it could be blocked with mud and yard refuse. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or make it wear out more quickly.

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

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and address small issues before they turn into costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform includes:

  • Taking a look at the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Watching pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant totals and connections

It’s not too late to have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepared for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some work you can do on your own between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as several 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 wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can run your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful of 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

Switch off the electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Empty waste from the equipment. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These parts are also known as condenser coils and move heat away from your equipment.

You need to be careful with these fine coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange warped fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Discount Mechanical Heating & Plumbing Services should handle extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, pull out leaves and other yard litter. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet sponge.

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re done.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating like it should, reach out to us a call at 907-202-9798.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be changed every few months, depending on the kind you use.

Unsure when you last checked yours? Remove it and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, 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 scummy, you can freshen it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect 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 Discount Mechanical Heating & Plumbing Services can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also have handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular maintenance!