tools for an air conditioner service

Tips for Cleaning Your AC System

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

If you haven’t taken care of it lately, it could be full of dust and debris from your yard. This collection can limit your unit’s efficiency and cause it to stop working. Or require replacement faster.

We advise having your air conditioning system professionally maintained annually. Why? A clean system can be more energy efficient, which could save you money on electric expenses.

Consistent AC maintenance also helps our technicians spot and handle minor issues before they turn into high-priced problems.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

Some of the work we complete consists of:

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

It’s not too late to have a tune-up 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 by yourself between professional tune-ups. It only takes about an hour to clean your outdoor condenser unit, as well as a few parts on your indoor HVAC system.

Related: How Often Should You Expect to Get Air Conditioning Service Done?

How to Clean Your Outside AC Unit

Pick a warm day to scrub your air conditioner. At least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) is ideal. That way, you can test your system 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

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

2. Clean the Outside

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

Then use the vacuum to slowly 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. Bent or crumpled fins can impact efficiency.

3. Fix Bent Fins

Use a butter knife to straighten warped fins. You can also buy a fin comb from an appliance parts store. A pro from Street Heating and Cooling should handle severe damage.

4. Clean the Inside

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

The only coil cleaner you should use 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 completed.

5. Test Your Air Conditioner

It’s safe to restore power and turn your air conditioner back on. If it’s not working properly, reach out to us a call at 605-206-3915.

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

3 Steps to Clean the Indoor Unit

1. Turn Off the Power

Turn off the electricity 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.

Can’t remember when you last checked yours? Pull it out and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, buy a new one.

3. Clean the Inside

Remove the blower door and vacuum up dust.

Then inspect your air conditioner’s drain line—it’s a flexible plastic tube. If it’s dirty, you can sanitize it by draining water-down bleach through the tube to clean the line. Or you can replace the 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 Street Heating and Cooling can make your unit more efficient and help it last longer. We also offer practical service agreements, so you won’t forget to book your regular tune-up!

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