Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Laguna Niguel, now is an ideal time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it lately, it could be blocked with dust and debris from your yard. This buildup can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down faster.

We suggest having your air conditioning system professionally serviced every 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 handle small issues before they develop into expensive problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform includes:

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

It’s not too late to 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 work you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to get the grime off 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

Pick a warm day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can check your equipment 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

Take out waste from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then run the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also referred to as condenser coils and move heat away from your equipment.

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

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten warped fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts website. A pro from Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating should take care of extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, pull out leaves and other yard litter. Then clean the inside of the unit with a wet sponge.

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. Put the fan back in 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 working correctly, contact us a call at 949-525-9119.

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 power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be exchanged every few months, depending on the model you use.

Can’t remember 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, buy a new one.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a supple plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can sanitize it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Clean 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 Ocean Air Conditioning and Heating can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your annual maintenance!