tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

With summer coming to an end in Lexington, now is an ideal time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it this year, it could be clogged with dust and yard waste. This buildup can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down more quickly.

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

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and address small issues before they become high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform includes:

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

You can still have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do by yourself between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to get the grime off your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few parts 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 great. That way, you can check the unit once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful of tools:

  • 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 debris from the system. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then run the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These components are also known as condenser coils and move heat away from your system.

You need to be considerate of these fragile coils. Misshapen or crumpled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from James Heating & A/C, Inc should handle severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, pull out leaves and other yard litter. Then clean 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 rinse the fins, directing water from the inside out. Replace 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 running properly, contact us a call at 336-853-6070.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Turn off the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters need to be changed every several months, depending on the model you use.

Unsure when you last put in a new one? Pull it out and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, 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 moldy, you can freshen it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect 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 James Heating & A/C, Inc can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your routine maintenance!

Back To Blog