tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

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

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be full of dirt and yard refuse. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or require replacement sooner.

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

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and take care of small issues before they develop into expensive 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
  • Watching pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant levels and connections

There’s still time to have a tune-up 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 on your own between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to wash 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

Select a mild day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can run your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful 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

Cut the electricity to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also known as condenser coils and divert heat away from your equipment.

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Warped or crushed fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust bent fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from American HVAC Inc should handle extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re finished.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

Now it’s time to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not running correctly, reach out to us a call at 408-215-1018.

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 replaced every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Unsure when you last checked yours? Take it out and angle 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 examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can freshen it by draining water-down bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 American HVAC Inc can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your annual service!

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