tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System in Clackamas

With summer ending in Clackamas, now is a good time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be clogged with mud and debris from your yard. This buildup can decrease your unit’s efficiency and cause it to break down. Or make it wear out more quickly.

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

Regular AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate and address minor issues before they become high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we perform includes:

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

There’s still time to have service 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 on your own between professional tune-ups. You only need about an hour to wash your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a couple of 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

Choose a warm day to wash your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is best. That way, you can test your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a couple 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 debris from the system. This includes branches, bushes, weeds and grass.

Then turn on the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These pieces are also referred to as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your unit.

You need to be cautious with these fine coils. Warped or crinkled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange warped fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Central Air Inc should fix large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you should use is water. Use slight pressure from a hose nozzle to clean the fins, showering water from the inside out. Put the fan back in once you’re completed.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

You can now restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating like it should, contact us a call at 503-389-5307.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Stop the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters must be replaced every several months, depending on the kind you use.

Can’t remember when you last replaced yours? Take it out 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 examine your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can clean it by draining thinned bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can buy a new tube.

Clean the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Hook up 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 Central Air Inc can make your equipment more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your annual maintenance!

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