How To Clean An Hvac SystemWith COVID-19, you’ve likely been taking extra precautions to keep your home clean these days. For example, it’s easy to clean the countertops or floors of your home. However, with COVID-19 being an airborne illness, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure that the indoor air quality of your home is serving both you and your family. A great place to get started is by learning how to clean an HVAC system, or how to clean your HVAC system.

A great first step to ensuring that your home is free of air pollutants is to ensure your heating and air conditioning system is clean! Neglecting to clean your HVAC system can result in bacteria build-up, which can lead to members of your household experiencing nasal congestion, eye irritation, and coughing, among other symptoms. 

With that said, here’s how to clean an HVAC system in 5 easy steps. 

1. Get your hands on the right tools & supplies.

Before you begin cleaning your HVAC system, you’ll need the appropriate tools to do so. For both cleaning the indoor and outdoor aspects of your system, you’ll need a screwdriver to gain access to your registers, condenser coils, etc. You’ll also need a fairly heavy-duty vacuum for removing dirt and grit from small corners and crevices. 

For cleaning the indoor aspects of your HVAC system, you’ll want to be sure that you have a brush for wiping out your registers. Moreover, for cleaning the outdoor aspects of your HVAC system, you’ll need a garden house, as a significant part of cleaning your outdoor condenser unit involves water. 

Along with cleaning tools, you’ll want to be sure that you have new air filters. When you are done vacuuming, dusting, and wiping out your HVAC system, replacing your air filters is the perfect finishing touch. In fact, it’s recommended that most people change out their air filters once every 90 days. And for those with indoor pets, allergies, or asthma, it may be necessary to change them as often as every 45 days. 

2. Start with the return and supply registers & cans. 

To begin cleaning your HVAC system, you’ll want to start with your return and supply registers. These are the grill-like vents that your air travels in and out of. Simply remove the return and supply registers using a screwdriver. Once they have been removed, you can clean your return and supply registers using your vacuum or brush. 

After cleaning the registers, you can also clean out the cans that your return and supply registers are mounted on. Using a vacuum, remove any debris that has collected and could potentially restrict the airflow of your HVAC system. By cleaning the supply and return registers and cans, you’ll reduce the number of contaminants blowing out of your vents. Even better, you’re increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system. 

3. Clean your outdoor condenser unit.

With your HVAC system powered off, the next step is to clean your outdoor condenser unit. This unit can typically be found on the side of your house. 

You can start by vacuuming leaves, dirt, and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Then, proceed to remove the outer casing of the unit. Once you have done so, you can rinse the condenser coils with water. If you are so inclined, you may use a cleaning product specific to air conditioning coils. Before returning the outer casing, be sure to remove any other noticeable debris, such as sticks or leaves. 

Once you are done cleaning the outdoor condenser unit itself, it’s highly recommended to clean around the unit as well. First, be sure to create at least a 3 ft clearance around your outdoor condenser unit. You can do so by removing any plants, weeds, grass, or any other debris that may encroach upon the unit. This will ensure the unit can operate effectively. 

Special note: Feeling a bit intimidated by the idea of cleaning your HVAC system yourself? For further assistance, reach out to your local HVAC technician!

4. Change out your air filters. 

After getting down and dirty to clean out your HVAC system, it’s time for the finishing touch: replace your air filters. By changing out your air filters, you’ll not only help to ensure that the air coming out of your HVAC system is clean, but you’ll increase the air-flow and, thereby, the efficiency of your HVAC system. 

Thankfully, changing out your air filters is pretty simple. First, identify where your air filters are located. You should have at least one or two air filters in your home. Then, remove the disposable filters. After removing the older filter, look for the arrows on your replacement filter, which indicate the direction of the furnace airflow, and place the filter in the direction of the airflow. Repeat these steps with each air filter. 

5. Consider installing a UV-C light or iWave air purifier.

Completing Steps 1 through 4 is on you. But did you know that your HVAC system can take part in reducing indoor air pollution and providing you with clean air on its own? In fact, you can achieve this by installing either a UV-C light or iWave air purifier.

UV-C lights can eliminate bacteria, germs, allergens, viruses, and other pollutants from the air. According to one study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, within 4-months, a UV-C light significantly reduced the levels of airborne fungi found in an office building. Another study revealed that UV-C lights reduce airborne bacteria levels by as much as 97%. 

Similar to UV-C lights, ionization air purifiers, such as iWave air purifiers, can also assist in cleaning the air in your home. By releasing positive and negative ions, these ionizers can reduce pathogens, VOCs, allergens, odors, and more. According to tests conducted by the Center for Disease Control, iWave air purification significantly reduces the presence of staph, MRSA, E-Coli, tuberculosis (TB), and more. 

Before installing either, weigh the pros and cons of each: UV-C lights have a lower upfront cost but will need to be replaced every so often, while iWave air purifiers do not have replaceable parts but have a slightly higher upfront cost. To have either installed, you’ll want to reach out to an HVAC technician

Get Your Hands on a Cleaner HVAC System Today! 

Hopefully, you can follow these 5 steps to obtain a cleaner HVAC system. By doing so, you’ll reduce your HVAC system’s chances of harboring bacteria and other debris, which in turn provides you and your family with cleaner air all around. 

With that said, sometimes, cleaning your HVAC system yourself isn’t quite enough. Ideally, you’ll want to have an HVAC technician check and tune your system once a year. Additionally, you’ll want your technician to clean the internal unit components, such as your blower, coil, and condensate line. Doing so ensures that your equipment is both providing you with clean air and operating as effectively as possible. 

Serving both Riverside and North San Diego Counties, Edge Heating and Air’s HVAC technicians are happy to help! Whether you’re looking to install your desired air quality solutions or a full system install altogether, we’re here to ensure your HVAC system is providing the best air for you and your family. 

Give us a call at 951-304-9698 or schedule your service online today!


  1. Taylor Hansen September 18, 2020 at 9:13 am - Reply

    I like how you mentioned getting UV-C lights to eliminate any viruses or other pollutants. I’m thinking of getting an air purifier since I’m still paranoid about the coronavirus and I want my house to be as safe as possible. It’s smart to find an air purifier for my family to be safe and stay healthy.

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