Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Franklin Lakes, now is an ideal time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it this year, it could be blocked with dust and debris from your yard. This buildup can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. 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 energy costs.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and address small issues before they turn into expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do includes:

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

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

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some maintenance you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. You only 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

Select a mild day to clean 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 couple of items:

  • 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 cautiously clean the metallic fins. These components are also called as condenser coils and divert heat away from your system.

You need to be careful with these delicate coils. Warped or crushed fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange misshapen fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Total Comfort should handle severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, directing water from the inside out. Put the fan back in 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 properly, reach out to us a call at 201-268-5663.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Turn off the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be changed every several months, depending on the model you use.

Unsure when you last checked yours? Remove it and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can sanitize it by flowing water-down bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up the drain tube and turn 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 Total Comfort can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular maintenance!