Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

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

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be clogged with dirt and yard refuse. This collection can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out sooner.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally tuned-up once a year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on energy costs.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and handle small issues before they turn into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do consists of:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Checking pressure and temperature
  • Testing lines, refrigerant levels and connections

There’s still time to have a tune-up 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 alone between professional tune-ups. It only takes 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 best. That way, you can test your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a couple 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 power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also referred to as condenser coils and divert heat away from your system.

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 misshapen fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning should take care of extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, fish out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet cloth.

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

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not working like it should, contact us a call at 805-242-9638.

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 couple of months, depending on the model you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Pull it out 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 moldy, you can freshen it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up the drain tube and restore power.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Well Through Fall

Never Forget a Tune-Up Again

Annual air conditioner maintenance from Allstar Heating & Air Conditioning can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your annual tune-up!