Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer ending in Drexel Hill, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be clogged with dust and debris from your yard. This buildup can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or require replacement sooner.

We advise having your air conditioning system professionally serviced every year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on energy costs.

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and take care of minor issues before they develop into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform consists of:

  • Taking a look at the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Testing lines, refrigerant totals and connections

There’s still time to have maintenance done this fall—and we can get your furnace ready for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to wash 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

Choose a temperate day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can check 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also referred to as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your system.

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

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange misshapen fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning should take care of large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, directing water from the inside out. Reinstall 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 properly, reach out to us a call at 610-257-7035.

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 need to be changed every several months, depending on the type you use.

Can’t remember when you last checked yours? Take 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 dirty, you can freshen it by draining water-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect 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 O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular tune-up!