tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

With summer ending in Mankato area, now is an ideal time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be full of dirt and yard refuse. This buildup can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or make it wear out sooner.

We advise having your air conditioning system professionally maintained once a year. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on utility bills.

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians discover and address minor issues before they turn into high-priced 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 ready for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some work you can do on your own between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to get the grime off your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few 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 temperate day to wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can run your equipment 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then turn on the vacuum to slowly clean the metallic fins. These components are also known as condenser coils and divert heat away from your unit.

You need to be considerate of these fragile coils. Misshapen or crumpled fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange misshapen fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Northern Comfort Inc should fix extensive damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, dig out leaves and other yard rubbish. Then clean the inside of the unit with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use light pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, showering water from the inside out. Reinstall the fan once you’re finished.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating like it should, reach out to us a call at 507-307-4818.

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 changed every few months, depending on the model you use.

Unsure when you last checked yours? Remove it and hold it up to the light. If light isn’t 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 freshen it by draining diluted bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Scrub 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 Northern Comfort Inc can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your annual tune-up!

Back To Blog