Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in Gresham, now is a great time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it recently, it could be clogged with dirt and yard waste. This buildup can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or make it wear out sooner.

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and take care of small issues before they become costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete involves:

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

It’s not too late to have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepared for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do on your own between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as several 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

Pick a mild day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. 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 juice to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Empty rubbish from the equipment. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then use the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These parts are also referred to as condenser coils and move heat away from your unit.

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Bent or crushed fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange bent fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Honke Heating & AC should handle large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, dig out leaves and other yard litter. Then mop the inside of the unit with a wet cloth.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Reinstall 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 operating correctly, contact us a call at 503-663-8033.

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 should be replaced every few months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Take it out and angle 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 inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s dirty, 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 Honke Heating & AC can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your routine tune-up!