Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Wausau, now is a good time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be clogged with dust and debris from your yard. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down more quickly.

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

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and handle slight issues before they develop into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform involves:

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

It’s not too late 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 on your own between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a couple of 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

Choose a mild day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. 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

Switch off the electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also called as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your unit.

You need to be cautious with these fine coils. Bent or crumpled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Gilray Heating and Cooling 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 equipment with a wet sponge.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, showering water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re completed.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running correctly, contact us a call at 715-301-0727.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be replaced every couple of months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Remove it and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, buy 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 moldy, you can clean it by draining thinned bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect 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 Gilray Heating and Cooling can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also have handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your routine service!