How to clean your AC unit

Air conditioning maintenance and cleaning is required to keep everything running efficiently and safely; and should occur at a minimum, once a year before the summer season.

Although some AC maintenance can be done by the handy homeowner, it is still important to have a professional technician check the system periodically. Leave duct cleaning, servicing of evaporator coils, and refrigerant leaks to the pros.

If you’re comfortable and ready to improve your air conditionings efficiency follow these simple instructions for cleaning your unit:

  1. Cut back any shrubs or plants from around the unit. Rake leaves and debris from outside the condenser, sweeping away any loose debris from the base. There should be a 2-foot clearance around the unit to allow it circulate freely and ensure proper airflow.
  2. TURN OFF THE POWER – VERY IMPORTANT. AC condensers are highly charged 240V systems. Turn off the air conditioning unit at the circuit breaker inside the house and unplug the unit itself from the exterior shut off near the unit. Double check the power is off before proceeding.
  3. Using a screwdriver or wrench remove the fan cage from the top of the unit. By hand or with a wet/dry vacuum, gently remove leaves and debris that have collected at the bottom of the unit.
  4. Use a brush attachment on shop vacuum to remove outside dirt. Use gentle stream of water from garden hose and spray fins from inside out to remove dirt build up – never use a pressure washer, this can damage the fins and coils.
  5. Carefully re-install the access door.
  6. Turn the power back on
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