Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Hudsonville, now is an ideal time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be blocked with dirt and debris from your yard. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or wear it down sooner.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally serviced every 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 locate and address slight issues before they become expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do includes:

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

It’s not too late to have service 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 by yourself between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as several 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 warm day to wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can run your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then turn on the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also called as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your system.

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Misshapen or crumpled fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services should fix large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then wipe the inside of the unit with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re completed.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running like it should, contact us a call at (616) 669-3961.

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 replaced every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Unsure when you last checked yours? Take it out and angle it toward the light. If there’s no light 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 supple plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can clean it by pouring water-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect 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 West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your routine tune-up!