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How To Clean Your HVAC System

Written by Vaughan Comfort Services on . Posted in .

Keeping your HVAC system in proper condition is a vital step in keeping your home comfortable and your energy bill low. As a complex, expansive system, your HVAC has a lot of places for dust, grime, and debris to collect, and cleaning it is a delicate, deliberate process.

But with these easy steps, you can responsibly clean and maintain your HVAC unit. Here’s your guide to doing your part as a homeowner to ensure the health of your HVAC system.

Shut Off The Power

First and foremost, shut off the power to your unit before conducting any maintenance tasks. This is vital to ensuring both your personal safety and the health of your unit. Turn off the HVAC system before starting even the smallest task and give it a good amount of time to fully shut down.

Check Your Air Filter

You should change your air filter about once a month, and it should be your first step in cleaning your system. You usually can find the filter on the return vent near your HVAC unit. Regardless of your unit type, it will usually be located within the ductwork nearest to your HVAC unit. Conduct your first replacement at the beginning of the cold months and do so at the first of every month for the remainder of the winter.

Exterior Condenser or Compressor

Let’s start with your exterior condenser or compressor. First, check for any visible grime or debris. After that, it’s time to clean your fan. Use a screwdriver or wrench to carefully remove the fan cade or grill at the top of the unit. Inspect the unit for leaves, debris, or dirt buildup. Next, clean the fins of your fan. You can do this with either a shop vacuum or a hose. Just run it over each fin to eliminate grime and dirt. Under no circumstances should you use a pressure washer—this can severely damage the unit.

Next, inspect the fins of the fan for damage or bending. Over time, misshaping can add up to a much higher energy bill. You can easily smooth these by hand or with a butter knife. Be sure to re-fasten the cage securely after you’re done.

How To Clean Condenser Coils

One task homeowners can do to keep the AC running effectively is a spot cleaning of the unit’s condenser coils.

What Are Condenser Coils?

Condenser coils are essential to your central AC’s operation. They are located in the outdoor unit of the system, and they facilitate the transfer of heat from your indoor environment to the outdoors. But when they are coated with dirt or dust, they cannot do this as efficiently. Regular cleaning, at least once a year but preferably more often, will maximize the effectiveness of your condenser coils. By extension, this will prolong the lifespan of your AC system. In turn, your energy bill and overall energy usage will be lower, as will the need for repairs and replacements.

The Right Time to Clean Condenser Coils

Summer presents the right opportunity to clean your condenser coils. The environmental burden on your outdoor unit is higher than ever in the summer, as debris and dirt will be in the air due to frequent lawn mowing and more construction projects. If your outdoor unit is in close proximity to traffic in your neighborhood, it is exposed to even more dust and debris.

Cleaning The Coils

While a thorough cleaning of your condenser coils should always be performed by a professional, it is a good idea to perform basic maintenance to ensure smooth operation between deep cleanings.

  • Turn your unit off. Never attempt to do any maintenance on an HVAC system without taking this crucial first step, to prevent harm to both yourself and the unit.
  • Visually inspect the condenser coils.
  • Remove any large debris, such as leaves or garbage that may have blown onto the unit.
  • Use a broom to sweep away grass cuttings or other debris near the bottom of the unit.
  • Cut back any bushes that may be growing too close to the unit.

These simple steps will ensure that your condenser coils can work as efficiently as possible between professional cleanings. To schedule a cleaning and ensure that your system stays in tip-top shape this summer, reach us through our contact us page.

Keeping your HVAC system in proper condition is a vital step in keeping your home comfortable and your energy bill low. As a complex, expansive system, your HVAC has a lot of places for dust, grime, and debris to collect, and cleaning it is a delicate, deliberate process.

Clean Your Furnace Components

It’s time to move inside and clean your furnace or blower.

First, find your evaporator coil door. This should be clearly labeled within your device. Use a soft brush to clean the coil, and then wipe it down with a no-rinse coil cleaner, which you can find at most major hardware stores. You’ll see the cleaner collect in a pan at the bottom of the coil—wipe this down with water and, if you want to be extra thorough, bleach. If your system has an evaporator, you should take the same steps on this component.

You should also see a drain within the compartment. This drain tends to build up with mold, algae, or dirt, so you should scrub it thoroughly and check for blockages.

Next, find the heat exchanger within your unit. You’ll look for a coiling series of metal tubes. Just run a hose vacuum over any opening to remove any debris buildup. You should do the same with the blower motor.

Finally, give the unit a thorough once over. Look for sediment buildup and clean it our carefully. If you notice a large amount of buildup anywhere, consider contacting a professional. This could indicate structural damage.

Vacuum and Clean Vents

Next, it’s time to clean your individual vents. Go through each opening in your home and vacuum it thoroughly. You want a strong industrial vacuum for this task, but any hose attachment will suffice. Next, remove the grate and inspect the interior for blockages or buildup. You should be especially mindful of mold, which can present a serious health risk. The more powerful your vacuum, the deeper you can go into these vents. After vacuuming, scrub thoroughly.

Going deeper into the ducts is a task for a professional and should not be undertaken by a homeowner unless you’ve invested in the proper tools and training. If you’re noticing odd smells or an alarming amount of dirt and grim within the vents, it might mean that you’re due for a deep cleaning.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Your HVAC System

If you need assistance cleaning or maintaining your unit, or if you’re interested in updating your system, our team of professionals have the experience to resolve any HVAC issue. Contact us today to begin protecting your home.

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NJ LIC. NO.13VH01727600
Robert W. Vaughan,
Master HVACR Contractor Lic. # 5842
Thomas J. Weaver,
Master Plumber Lic # 9521

Contact Info
212 Barrett Avenue
Magnolia, NJ 08049

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