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DIY AC Maintenance

DIY AC Maintenance

    What you will Need / Information

  • Cost: $50.00 to $100.00
  • Time Needed: Less than half a day
  • Tools and Materials:
    1. Screwdriver or wrench
    2. Wet/dry vacuum ($50.00)
    3. Garden hose
    4. Butter knife or fin tool ($10.00)
    5. Rake and/or pruning shears
    6. Level
    7. Shims if necessary
    8. Foil tape ($17.00)
    9. Soft bristle paint brush ($1.00)
    10. Coil cleaner ($5.50)
    11. Hot, soapy water
    12. Bleach

Before You Begin

Turn off the power to the unit. Turn the condenser switch to the “off” position. At your home's breaker box, turn off the breaker. You don't want it turning on while you have your hands near the fan blades!


  1. Clean the condenser. If your condenser is on the roof, there probably won't be much to clean. If it's at ground level, you're more likely to have debris. Remove the grate over the fan and vacuum any debris found inside. With a garden hose, spray the fins from the inside out. (Never use a pressure washer. The fins are very thin and can damage easily.)
  2. Inspect the fins. They are very thin and bend easily. If you see damaged spots, like where the fins are flattened, straighten them gently with the butter knife or fin tool. Be careful not to damage the tubing within the fins.
  3. Rake any ground-level debris away from the condenser and prune any branches or bushes away at least two feet.
  4. Level the condenser. As soil settles, it's not unusual for the condenser pad to get off-level. Using shims and the level, you can bring the condenser back to a level position.


  1. Clean the evaporator coils. These should be behind a door above where the blower motor is. It might be sealed with foil tape. Open the cover and use the soft paint brush to dust off the coil. Next, spray the coil with coil cleaner, letting it drip into the drain pan. Afterwards, clean the drain pan with soap and hot water. (Adding a drain pan tablet to the pan can help prevent algae growth and costs about $3.50 for a pack of 6.) Make sure the drain flows freely. If it does, you can skip the next step.
  2. Clean the evaporator drain. This is usually a 1-inch PVC pipe coming off the evaporator enclosure. Follow it to where it drains out. Attach the wet/dry vacuum to this end, sealing it with duct tape or with a rag. Remove the vacuum's filter to avoid damaging it and turn the vacuum on for 2-3 minutes to clear out any blockage.
  3. Change the filter. This should be done twice a year on heating/cooling systems; once at the start of the cooling season and once at the start of the warming season.
  4. Turn the power back on and let it go through a full cycle. If it's not cooling like it used to, it's time to call a pro.

This whole project should cost around $50.00. Even if all you can do is change the filter, doing it regularly will save about 15% on your cooling bill. But whether you spend $50.00 to $100.00 to do it yourself or if you spend $125.00 to $175.00 to hire a pro, it's cheaper than paying several thousands of dollars repairing or replacing your AC.

If it looks like this is more than you can handle or you run across a bigger problem. give us a call.. All Pro. AC (254) 624-4917

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