With summer coming to an end in Lake Forest, now is a good time to get a head start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it this year, it could be full of mud and yard waste. This accumulation 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 tuned-up once a year. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and handle small issues before they develop into costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform consists of:

  • Taking a look at the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Watching pressure and temperature
  • Examining lines, refrigerant levels and connections

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

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

Cleaning Out the Outdoor AC Unit

Choose a warm day to scrub 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 couple of 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

Follow these Steps for Cleaning the Outside Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the juice to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

Take out waste from the unit. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then use the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These parts are also known as condenser coils and divert heat away from your unit.

You need to be considerate of these fine coils. Misshapen or crushed fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to adjust bent fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance part store. A pro from 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning should take care of large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

After extracting the fan, dig out leaves and other yard litter. Then clean the inside of the equipment with a wet rag.

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to rinse the fins, directing water from the inside out. Put the fan back in 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 working like it should, reach out to us a call at 949-204-0859.

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

Next, How You Can Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the power to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

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

Unsure when you last put in a new one? Take it out and angle it toward the light. If there’s no light visible, replace it.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a pliable plastic tube. If it’s moldy, you can freshen it by flowing watered-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Wash 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 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to schedule your annual tune-up!