With summer ending in Richmond, now is an ideal time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t taken care of it this year, it could be full of mud and yard waste. This accumulation can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or wear it down faster.

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and take care of minor issues before they develop into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete involves:

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

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

There’s also some maintenance you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to clean 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?

Cleaning Out the Outside AC Unit

Choose a mild day to wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is great. That way, you can check the unit once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few things:

  • 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

Five Steps to Follow as You Clean the Outside Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then run the vacuum to cautiously clean the metallic fins. These parts are also referred to as condenser coils and move heat away from your system.

You need to be considerate of these delicate coils. Bent or crumpled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten bent fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance part retailer. A pro from Refrigeration Systems Ltd. should take care of large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After taking out the fan, fish out leaves and other yard waste. Then wipe the inside of the equipment with a wet cloth.

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

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, reach out to us a call at 778-693-2532.

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

Then, You Can Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the electricity to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be exchanged every several months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last replaced yours? Remove it and angle it toward the light. If light isn’t visible, replace it.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then take a look at your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a supple plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can sanitize it by flowing thinned 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

Don’t Forget About Maintenance Again

Annual air conditioner maintenance from Refrigeration Systems Ltd. can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your annual tune-up!