How to Clean an HVAC System


Dust particles and pet hair in the air can cause clogging in the HVAC system filter and reduce the performance quality of other components. You should clean your HVAC system after a visual inspection of the system components indicates there is dust and dirt buildup. If it has been several years since the last time you cleaned the system, consider calling in a service professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Screwdriver
  • Water hose
  • Shut off the power to the outside condenser by unplugging it from the outside outlet or shutting off the circuit for the unit at the circuit breaker box.

  • Remove any grass or other debris from around the condenser unit.

  • Place a soft brush attachment onto your vacuum cleaner. Turn on the vacuum cleaner and run the brush attachment along the fins of the condenser. Do not run the vacuum cleaner against the direction of the fins to prevent damage.

  • Remove the screw holding the top of the condenser on using a screwdriver. Lift up the top of the condenser to expose the inside. Be careful not to stretch the wires for the fan. Spray a water hose into the condenser, aiming it at the fins, to remove the rest of the debris the fan did not remove. Replace the fan and condenser cover.

  • Go inside the home and open the inside portion of the HVAC unit. Lift up the access panel to inspect the inside. If you see dirt and dust, you will have to clean it. Turn off the power to the unit at the circuit breaker and locate the gas control valve. Turn it to the "Off" position.

  • Vacuum out the inside of the HVAC cabinet. Inspect the burners. Call in a professional if you see a lot of black soot on the burners.

  • Pull out the filters from the bottom of the unit. Replace them if they are dirty.

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