tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

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

If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be blocked with dirt and debris from your yard. This buildup can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or wear it down more quickly.

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 energy 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:

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

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

Schedule maintenance now


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

Pick 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 few 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

Remove 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 careful with these delicate coils. Misshapen or crinkled fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust warped fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. should fix large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out 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 need is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, spraying 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 operating correctly, reach out to 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 must be exchanged every several months, depending on the model you use.

Not sure when you last put in a new one? Remove it and tilt it toward the light. If light isn’t visible, get a new one.

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 scummy, you can clean it by flowing diluted bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect 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 provide practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your annual tune-up!

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