Keeping Cool: The Guide to Cleaning Your AC Unit

High temperatures can get you hot under the collar when your AC stops working. Get your AC unit ready for the season by making sure it is running efficiently and effectively. This guide will walk you through how to clean your AC unit.

The first thing to do when conducting any work on your HVAC system is to shut off the power to the unit at the unit and at the breaker box.

How to Clean the Outdoor AC Unit

Follow these steps to clean the outdoor unit:

Clear Debris

Remove any debris, such as leaves, twigs, or dirt, from the exterior of your home’s outdoor unit. This helps to ensure adequate airflow to the unit. You can use a screwdriver to remove the fasteners on the fan cage to your outdoor unit and clean the unit with a wet/dry vacuum or by hand.

Clean the Fins

With the outer cover removed, use a garden hose (never a power washer) to spray the outdoor unit fins from the inside out to remove dirt buildup.

Straighten the Fins

Using a dull knife or a fin-straightening tool, gently fix any bends to the outdoor unit fins to ensure better air flow efficiency.

Check the Drainage

Inspect the condensate drain line for any clogs or obstructions. A clogged drain line will force water to back up into your home and cause water damage. You can use a wet/dry vacuum to clear away any blockages.

Level the Unit

Over time, your outdoor unit can shift and become out of balance, which can cause the compressor to fail. Adjust the platform to bring the unit level.

How to Clean the Indoor Unit

Follow this checklist to clean the indoor unit:

Clean the Air Filters

The easiest and quickest way you can get your AC unit ready for work is to ensure the air filters are replaced regularly. Clogged and dirty filters reduce the amount of airflow through the system, forcing your system to work less efficiently. Replacing a dirty clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Check your air filters at least every three months.

Change the Blower Filter

The blower filter is often found where the large fresh air return duct enters the unit. Opening the latch to the enclosure might require a screwdriver. Be sure to install the new filter with the air flow direction arrows matching the arrows on the unit.

Clean the Evaporator Coil, Evaporator Drain & Pan

Behind the evaporator coil door, expose the evaporator coils, use a soft brush to dust off the coil, and use a commercial solution to clean it. Make sure the drain and the pan aren’t clogged and are able to move the water into the floor drain or to the exterior of the home.

If you aren’t comfortable accessing and cleaning these components, you should enroll in a professional HVAC maintenance plan.

Choose Larry & Sons for HVAC Services in MD, PA & WV

To ensure your home’s HVAC system gets the TLC it deserves, Larry & Sons offers an Ultimate Service Agreement Maintenance Program. Through this program, members enjoy an annual AC tune-up and exclusive benefits like priority service and scheduling and discounted services for their MD, PA, and WV homes. Call Larry & Sons Plumbing Heating Cooling Drain Election—we’ve got you covered!