How to Clean AC Units

A new air conditioning system costs between $3,000 and $6,000, according to the Don Vandervort's Home Tips website.

Clean your air conditioner regularly to get the longest use.Clean your air conditioner regularly to get the longest use.
An expense like that makes getting the most out of your current air conditioner all the more important. Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your air conditioner in top condition, according to Alan Boleware, an air conditioning service technician with 21 years experience. To get the most life out of your air conditioner, clean the unit at least once a year and change your filter monthly, says Boleware.

Turn off the power to the air handler (inside unit) and the condenser (outside unit) at the breaker box.

Unscrew and remove the top grate of the condenser.

Vacuum leaves out of the unit.

Point the water hose straight into the condenser and spray in a circular motion from the inside outward, moving dirt and debris out of the unit's side grills.

Spray all metal parts with WD-40.

Replace the top grate on the condenser.

Open the front panel on the air handler (inside unit).

Locate the A-frame coil. Pour 1 cup of Liquid Plumber Gel or 1/4 cup of vinegar and 3/4 cup of water into the pan at the bottom of the coil. Replace the front panel on the air handler.

Locate the PVC drain line near the condenser. Suck out leaves and debris with a wet/dry vac.

Things You Will Need

  • 1 cup Liquid Plumber Gel or 1/4 cup vinegar
  • WD-40
  • Water hose with spray nozzle
  • Wet/dry vac


  • Pull the weeds around the condenser to prevent them from growing through the vents and getting inside the unit.
  • Clear the leaves from the pad your condenser sits on.

About the Author

Julie Boleware has been writing since 1997. She has been published on the Internet Public Library and various websites. Boleware's interests are in arts and entertainment and business. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Cameron University and a Master of Library and Information Science from Florida State University.