tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

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

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

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and address small issues before they develop into costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we do involves:

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

There’s still time to 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. You only need 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 temperate day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can run your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few 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 slowly clean the metallic fins. These parts are also referred to as condenser coils and move heat away from your equipment.

You need to be considerate of these fragile coils. Bent or crushed fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust bent fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Alan Heating Air Conditioning, Inc. should fix severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After removing the fan, fish out leaves and other yard litter. Then wipe 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 rinse the fins, showering water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re done.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not working like it should, contact us a call at 630-833-1100.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

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

Not sure when you last checked yours? Remove it and hold it up to 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 examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can clean it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to sanitize the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Scrub the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 Alan Heating Air Conditioning, Inc. can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your annual maintenance!

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