How To Maintain Your AC Condenser

Posted on: 8 February 2016

An air conditioner that is part of a central HVAC system has a vital unit that is outside of the house. This is called the condenser unit. Many people mistakenly refer to the condenser unit as the air conditioner. In fact, the AC is made up of the condenser unit and the furnace (which is inside the house or in the garage). The condenser is vital to the production of cold air, while the furnace is more responsible for the circulation of the air. If your AC does not seem to be pumping cold enough air, you should focus on the condenser. This article explains some basic condenser unit maintenance that can definitely increase functionality and airflow.

Cleaning the Condenser Coils

The condenser coils line the outside walls of the unit. They have aluminum ridges (called fins) that are very fragile. This is why they are behind a protective cage. However, they can still get dented, flattened and clogged on a regular basis. While you cannot unflatten the fins, you can clean them to ensure optimal functionality.

First, unplug the unit completely. You might need to turn the power off at the breaker box if you unit is hardwired. Once the power is cut, you can start to clean it. Spray down the unit with a hose. Then, spray down the fins with aluminum cleaner. You might even be able to find designated coils cleaning solution at an appliance store. However, you can also use most cheaper all-surface cleaners. Let the cleaner soak into the coils for a few minutes before spraying the down and rinsing away all the loosened dirt. If you spray with too powerful of a stream, you could flatten the coils even more.

Cleaning the Fan

Inside the condenser is a large fan. This fan is protected by a bird guard, but it can often get dirty and rusty. Removing the guard is easy because it is attached with small bolts. Remove the bolts with wrench and then assess the dirt build up inside. In most cases you will want to vacuum out the fan compartment with a shop vac. Also, look at the fan blades to make sure there are no signs of rust formation. Cleaning off the fan blades might not effect the production of the condenser unit, but it will definitely ensure that it lasts longer and prevent rust formation. These basic services will ensure that the condensing elements in your AC system are fully functional. If you don't feel like cleaning the condenser yourself, contact an HVAC company, like Absolute Air Conditioning & Heating, to do the job for you.