How to clean AC condenser coils is one important AC maintenance task every homeowner should have at their fingertips.
Your air conditioner’s work is most complex in the summer months. This means you will have cooling trouble if it is not in great shape. Nobody wants a boiling house in summer. And even notably, your electricity bills will get higher than ever before. This is certainly not the results you want from your air conditioning unit. And to avoid this, one crucial thing to do is clean condenser coils.
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But why is cleaning air conditioner coils this important?
And even more importantly, is there a simple DIY process for your air conditioner coil cleaning?
If that is what you are searching for, we wrote this article for you.
Let us get right into the details.
What are the Condenser Coils?
Your air conditioner is complex machinery that has many parts working together. And one crucial part of the Air Conditioner unit is the AC coils. Your system has two coils; the condenser and evaporator coils.
The evaporator coils are located indoors, and they too should be cleaned as needed. However, today, our focus is the condenser coil located in the outdoor unit. Heat from your indoors is sent to these coils. And for it to get expelled into outdoor space, cool air has to pass over the refrigerant fluid-filled coils.
So, what happens when the system is covered in debris? Proper air flow is blocked. And being outdoors, there will be all sorts of dirt and debris build-up on the system. Besides, it is very common for grass and plants to grow in the system. All these debris and obstructions prevent proper heat transfer and the entire cooling process.
Why is it Important to Clean Air Conditioner Condenser Coils?
One of the most popular searches on the onset of summer is “how to clean AC coils outside.“
It would be ideal if you took care of your air conditioning system properly all year round. However, when summer is around the corner, your AC unit will likely be running day in and day out. This means that you want it to be in great shape.
Here are the top reasons to perform condenser coil cleaning.
Ensure Optimum Air Conditioner performance
Heat is expelled to the outdoor environment through these outdoor AC coils. If residue accumulates on its surface, there will be reduced heat transfer. Residue build-up impedes heat transfer to the outdoor space.
Your system cannot take up more heat from your indoor space if it cannot expel it outdoors. This means that the entire system, including the evaporator coils and the air handler unit, will have to slow down its functioning.
If you do not rectify this, you will have a running system for longer hours without cooling your house. This repeated cycle means that there will be an increased energy bill. Why would you want a higher energy bill from a system barely cooling your house?
Many homeowners abandon the outdoor unit and focus on the well-being of their indoor unit. Abandoning your outdoor air conditioner coils will deteriorate your comfort. This is because it impacts heavily on the performance of your AC unit.
If a condenser coil is trapped in dirt and residue, it will not handle more heat. This means that your indoor air will have a lot of trapped heat.
It is summer already; you do not want any heat trapped in your house. Get down and do your air conditioner coil cleaning. It will help quickly and efficiently release heat.
There is no way to boost your comfort than to have a fantastic house on those scorching summer days.
Longer Life-span for your AC Unit
Without coil cleaning, it is now apparent that your AC unit will be unable to cool your house as needed. It will have trouble achieving the temperature set on your thermostat. This means that it will have to work overtime.
Working hard and long will wear out your AC coils and the entire system. If you don’t schedule regular air conditioner coil cleaning, you will soon have to cater for air conditioning repair services or complete AC replacement services.
Give your AC unit a longer life by providing proper AC maintenance services.
Directions on How to Clean AC Condenser Coils
Cleaning your outside AC coils is a simple DIY. You can spare an hour over your weekend and do it.
You do not need to call a professional to clean the air conditioner’s coil.
Follow these simple steps to clear residue, dirt and grime from your condenser coils.
Step 1: Switch the Unit
The first step is to disconnect the electricity. This should always be the first step, even when you clean your indoor evaporator coil or air filter.
Many central air conditioning systems come with a shutoff box next to the unit.
You may need to pull out the shutoff box to remove a fuse or flip the switch. This, however, depends on the model of your AC system.
If you notice that your brand has no shutoff box, disconnect the power off from the circuit breaker panel that controls the unit.
H3 Step 2: Trim Plant Growth
Plants, grass and foliage are likely to grow and get in the way of your outdoor unit. With this, they can make dry leaves and soil block the free circulation of air.
Trim all growth and ensure everything up to 2 feet from the air conditioner is super-short.
Step 3: Detach the Access panel or the Outer Casing
This step will allow you to access the coils.
Depending on your model and brand, you may need a screwdriver or a nut driver to detach the access panel.
Step 4: Remove the top of the Air Conditioning System
You may have to lift the fan assembly off your AC unit to remove the top of the air conditioner.
While doing this, be careful not to destroy the fan coil and wires.
Step 5:Clean and Lubricate your the Fan Assembly
Use a broom or a rag to clear off any debris and dirt accumulated on the shaft and the fan motor.
While at it, apply a small drop of oil to every lubrication port in your motor. Some units do not have lubrication ports. You can skip this stage if your unit does not have them.
Step 6: Brush Away Dirt
Using a brush or broom, brush away dirt from the coils. Be sure to be gentle to avoid causing any damage.
Step 7: Spray Clean the Condenser coil
Most of the trapped dirt can be cleaned using compressed air or water.
You can use a hosepipe or spray bottle to spray water to the coils.
Remember to cover all wires and motors with plastic before spraying them down on the condenser coils.
Spray the coils from the outside until the trapped dirt is thoroughly soaked. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes. You can repeat the process as necessary.
You can then rinse off the cleaner from the coils until the runoff water is clear.
Remember never to power wash your coils. This will damage the unit.
Step 8: Inspect and Repair Fins
Over time, mainly due to harsh weather such as hail, the fins of your bend.
Therefore, you should scrutinize the fins to find any bent fins.
If you notice any bent fins, straighten them using an adjustable fin comb. You can purchase a fin comb at an air conditioner supply store.
Why is it essential to have straight fins? Straight fins allow the heat to easily escape from the system to the outdoor space. Bent fins restrict airflow(1). Straight fins also protect the more delicate components of your AC condenser.
Step 9: Reassemble the System
Start reassembling the cases to the outer case. Remember to fasten all the screws well.
You can now switch on your AC unit.
It is now clean and can effectively remove heat from your indoor space.
Need a Hand? HVAC Santa Clarita can Clean your Air Conditioner Coils
Cleaning your condenser coils can be a simple process after you master it.
However, if it is your first time, we understand if you would like to use a professional hand. Call us if you are uncertain about the condenser coil cleaning process. Your air conditioning unit is delicate, and destroying one part will mess up the entire unit.
Also, sometimes, your air conditioning unit is underperforming even after a thorough cleaning. If you suspect your AC unit is not air conditioning your air because of dirt and debris on your condenser coil, yet there is no difference even after cleaning, there could be an underlying problem. In such instances, feel free to give us a call, and we will diagnose and perform air conditioning repair service or maintenance as needed.
How to Clean AC Condenser Coils Frequently Asked Questions
We answer a few of the homeowner’s frequently asked questions below. We hope that these help you clean your outside AC unit condenser better. If you have any more inquiries, we would be glad to help you on call or diagnose the problem on-site.
What can I use to clean my AC condenser coils?
Usually, brushing off the dirt is a great way to get rid of loose dirt on the surface. You can also use water under low pressure to spray off stuck-on dirt. Compressed air is also a good choice. Alternatively, use a mild commercial cleaner to gently scrub off stubborn grime.
If you have persistent dirt or grime, you can use baking soda or vinegar in your water to loosen the gunk.
How do you clean condenser coils?
The process of cleaning your AC condenser coil involves:
- switching off your AC unit,
- unscrewing and removing the outer case,
- brush off loose dirt,
- Straighten bent fins,
- spray water and scrub off stubborn gunk,
- wait for it to dry before turning it on again.
How do you clean the AC condenser without removing it?
You can clean it using a compressed air canister. This allows you to blow off the dirt without removing the condenser coil. If you have stubborn grime, you will need to use a hosepipe and hold the nozzle close to the dirt while at it.
How do you unblock a condenser coil?
General thorough cleaning of your condenser coil should unclog it from dirt build-up. However, if you notice there is still a problem after a thorough cleaning, you will need to have a professional HVAC technician look at it and diagnose any problems.
Can I Clean my AC Condenser coils myself?
Yes, it is a simple DIY AC maintenance practice you can perform independently. However, ensure you are gentle enough not to vend the coil fins as you do it. Remember that high-pressure water can bend the fins too.
Can I power wash my outside AC Unit
No. There are many ways you clean your condenser coils, but you should never power-wash them. Power washing will damage the system and will soon result in breakdowns.
How often should I Clean My AC Condenser Unit?
This will largely depend on your location. Since it is outside, it accumulates dirt depending on many different factors. If you live in a dusty place and your AC condenser coil gets dirty quickly, we recommend that you clean it at the start of every season. However, if it doesn’t get as dirty, it should be in good condition twice a year.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean AC Condenser Coils
Many homeowners forget about cleaning their condenser coils. They focus on the inside part of their AC unit and forget how vital the AC unit is. You may soon have to replace the entire AC unit with this practice, as it results in breakdown.
Follow the steps we give above to clean your condenser coil. If you are unsure, feel free to give us a call. We will happily ensure your system is at its peak performance.
Contact us 24/7 for HVAC services!