tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

With summer ending in Mechanicsville, now is an ideal time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it this year, it could be clogged with dirt and yard refuse. This buildup can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or wear it down more quickly.

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and take care of slight issues before they turn into expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete includes:

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

You can still have service done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do on your own between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to clean 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

Select a warm day to wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can test your system 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

Remove rubbish from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

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

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Bent or crushed fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten warped fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from M & S Heating & Air LLC should fix large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

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

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, contact us a call at 301-363-4699.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be exchanged every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Unsure when you last put in a new one? Pull it out and tilt it toward the light. If light isn’t visible, replace it.

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 freshen it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to clean 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 M & S Heating & Air LLC can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular tune-up!

Back To Blog