tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

With summer coming to an end in Cedar Rapids, now is a good time to get ahead on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t washed it recently, it could be full of dirt and yard waste. This collection can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to malfunction. Or wear it down sooner.

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally tuned-up every year. Why? Clean equipment can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on energy costs.

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and take care of small issues before they develop into costly problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete includes:

  • Inspecting the blower, motor, drain line and coils
  • Confirming pressure and temperature
  • Reviewing lines, refrigerant totals and connections

You can still have a tune-up done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepared for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep you can do alone between professional tune-ups. You just need about an hour to get the grime off 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

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

You’ll only need a couple of tools:

  • 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

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

You need to be cautious with these fragile coils. Warped or crumpled fins can influence efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten misshapen fins. You can also use a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Ilten's Incorporated should take care of large amounts of damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you have to have is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to clean 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 running properly, reach out to us a call at 319-208-3295.

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 need to be replaced every several months, depending on the model you use.

Can’t remember when you last checked yours? Pull it out and tilt 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 flexible plastic tube. If it’s scummy, you can sanitize it by draining thinned bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can replace the tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Connect 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 Ilten's Incorporated can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also have convenient service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your regular tune-up!

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