Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Rapid City, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be clogged with dust and yard refuse. This collection can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or require replacement faster.

We advise having your air conditioning system professionally maintained annually. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on utility expenses.

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and handle slight issues before they become expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete includes:

  • Viewing the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Testing lines, refrigerant amounts and connections

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

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some work you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to get the grime off your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few 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

Pick a warm day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can check the unit once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few 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

Switch off the electricity 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 run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also called as condenser coils and divert heat away from your equipment.

You need to be careful with these delicate coils. Bent or crushed fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Precision Mechanical should take care of large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After extracting the fan, fish out leaves and other yard litter. 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, directing water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re finished.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, contact us a call at 605-206-3766.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be exchanged every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Can’t remember when you last checked yours? Remove it and hold it up to the light. If light isn’t visible, get 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 supple plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can freshen it by draining thinned bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect the drain tube and switch 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 Precision Mechanical can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your annual maintenance!