Seasonal cleaning is good for your entire HVAC system, but one part that might need some extra attention is the one that sits outside: the condenser unit. This important part of the system can easily get clogged, but cleaning it is just as easy!
What Are Condensing Coils?
Your HVAC system will have two coils involved: one is the evaporator coil, located inside your home; the other is the condensing coil, located in the outdoor condenser unit. The condenser coil is an important part of the heat transference that makes your air conditioning possible, as it removes heat from the refrigerant that cools the air, releasing it outdoors.
Because the whole system relies on good airflow, condenser coils need to be cleaned regularly. A dirty condenser coil will perform inefficiently and shortened the life of the whole system. So grab a stiff brush, a hose, and some condenser cleaner from your local home store, and head outside!
Cleaning Condensing Coils
The dust and debris that collects on the condensing coils are almost unavoidable because after all, the unit is outside. This makes it extra important to clean before you get your air conditioning up and running for the season because even a small amount of clogging can diminish the efficiency of your entire system.
Check the condenser unit before you plan on turning the air conditioner on, and if you notice debris buildup, shut the power off and give the fins – the grill on the outer side of the condenser unit – an initial cleaning using a stiff brush. You can also use the brush to reshape any bent fins. Fill a sprayer water and the right amount of condenser cleaner recommended on the bottle, spray it on the fins, and wait five minutes. Wash the cleaner and the dirt off with a hose. Check periodically throughout the season and clean when necessary.
When air conditioning season is over, protect the outdoor condenser from the elements by covering the top with a board held down at all four corners by bricks or stones. A board is better than a plastic covering because it won’t trap in moisture or invite small animals looking for warmth, while still keeping the snow out of the unit.
What If I See Ice On The Condenser Coils?
When checking on your unit, you might see frost or even a casing of ice built up on the air conditioner condenser coils. If every part of the condenser is clean, ice buildup usually signifies an airflow problem that begins somewhere else in your HVAC system. Such culprits include a duct blockage, or a dirty air filter, air register, vent, or evaporator coil. Ice is also caused by the low refrigerant in the system, and this will require a technician’s expertise to fix. Contact us if you need help with any of the above!