tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System in West Columbia

With summer coming to an end in West Columbia, now is a great time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be blocked with dirt and debris from your yard. This accumulation can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or wear it down faster.

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally serviced once a year. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and address minor issues before they turn into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do includes:

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

It’s not too late to have service 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 on your own between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few 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

Select a warm day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can test the unit 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

Cut the power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also called as condenser coils and move heat away from your unit.

You need to be cautious with these fine coils. Warped or crumpled fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange warped fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. should take care of large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After extracting the fan, fish out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then wipe the inside of the system with a wet cloth.

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, directing water from the inside out. Reinstall the fan 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 running like it should, contact us a call at 803-265-4208.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be exchanged every several months, depending on the model you use.

Not sure when you last put in a new one? Remove it and angle it toward the light. If light isn’t visible, buy 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 flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can clean it by flowing water-down bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Wash 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 Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also have practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your regular tune-up!

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