Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

September 20, 2019

With summer winding down in St. Louis, now is a great time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

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

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally serviced every year. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric expenses.

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

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform involves:

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

There’s still time to have maintenance done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some maintenance you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as several 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 warm day to clean your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can test your system once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a handful of items:

  • 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

Remove debris from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

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

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

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange bent fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating should take care of severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, spraying water from the inside out. Reinstall 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 operating correctly, give us a call at 314-262-4541.

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 need to be exchanged every couple of months, depending on the kind you use.

Unsure when you last put in a new one? Remove it and tilt it toward the light. If there’s no light visible, 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 scummy, you can sanitize it by flowing diluted bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect 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 Morgner Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your regular maintenance!