tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System in Des Moines

With summer winding down in Des Moines, now is a good time to get a kick start on air conditioner maintenance.

If you haven’t cleaned it recently, it could be clogged with dust and debris from your yard. This buildup can reduce your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or make it wear out faster.

We recommend having your air conditioning system professionally serviced once a year. Why? A clean unit can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric bills.

Routine AC maintenance also helps our technicians locate 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 includes:

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

There’s still time to have maintenance done this fall—and we can get your furnace prepped for heating season too.

Schedule maintenance now


There’s also some upkeep 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 several pieces 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 check your equipment once you’ve cleaned it.

You’ll only need a few 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

Cut the power to your air conditioner at the breaker box.

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to gently clean the metallic fins. These components are also known as condenser coils and transfer heat away from your equipment.

You need to be careful with these fine coils. Warped or crushed fins can affect efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to rearrange bent fins. You can also get a fin comb from an appliance parts retailer. A pro from Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling should handle severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you need is water. Use gentle pressure from a hose nozzle to wash the fins, showering water from the inside out. Replace the fan once you’re done.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

Now it’s time to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not operating properly, reach out to us a call at 515-207-6569.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Cut the juice to your furnace at the breaker box.

2. Check Your Filter

Furnace filters should be exchanged every couple of months, depending on the type you use.

Not sure when you last replaced 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 supple plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can clean it by flowing thinned bleach through the tube to flush the line. Or you can get a new tube.

Wash the drain port using a small, round paintbrush. Reconnect the drain tube and turn 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 Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling can make your system more efficient and help it last longer. We also provide handy service agreements, so you won’t forget to plan your routine maintenance!

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