The condenser unit of your air conditioner refers to the outdoor unit - the component of your HVAC system located right outside your home, and houses other components like the compressor, the capacitor, and condenser coils.
Because it is exposed to the elements, the outdoor unit of your air handler can easily collect grime and dust, which block the air flow coming in and out of your unit. Keep your air conditioner in good shape with our how-to guide on cleaning the AC condenser.
Effects of Unmaintained AC Condensers
Unmaintained AC condenser units lead to costly repairs and replacements. The cost to replace an entire outdoor unit can go as high as $3,000 on average - and that's exclusive of the labor costs to install the new unit!
- Overheating air conditioner;
- Air conditioner won't turn on;
- Air conditioner is not blowing cool air;
- Air conditioner is making weird noises;
- Smells coming from the outdoor unit.
How to Clean AC Condenser: A Step-by-step Guide
Step 1: Power Down the Air Conditioner
First, make sure to cut the power from your AC condenser. This will prevent any accidents with the electrical and mechanical components of the condenser, and you'll be able to give the unit a deeper clean as well.
Step 2: Remove the Housing
Make sure the unit is cool before you unscrew the housing. The condensing unit expels hot air from the HVAC system, so it may be hot if you've just used it. Let the AC unit cool down before you clean the condenser coils.
Step 3: Clean the Condenser Components
Clean the different condenser components with a few tools that you may already have on hand. You'll need: a shop vacuum, AC condenser coil cleaner, a soft brush, a fin comb, and a garden hose to clean condenser coils.
Cleaning the Condenser Fins
Use a fin comb to clean the condenser fins. The fin comb will remove the dust and debris stuck between the fins, and straighten out bent fins in the process. Use a soft brush to scrub away grime from the aluminum fins, or use the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner to remove the stuck-on grime.
Cleaning the Condenser Coils
Clean the AC coils with a foaming coil cleaner to deep clean the components. These are typically found in hardware stores, but you may purchase one from your local air conditioner dealership as well. Use the coil cleaner on the outdoor unit, and scrub away the grime with a soft brush. Be careful not to damage the AC condenser coils.
Cleaning the Blower Fan
You can use the vacuum cleaner to remove grime from the blower fan as well. Use a thin brush or a can of compressed air to clean the blower motor, the fan blades, and the blower wheel without having to dismantle them from the condenser unit.
Step 4: Hose Down the Unit
Hose down the unit using the garden hose with the sprayer nozzle attachment. Unlike the indoor air handler, the outdoor unit can withstand moisture as it is meant to be exposed to different weather conditions. Spray down the unit to flush out the loosened dust, and to rinse away the coil cleaner.
Step 5: Let Dry, then Reassemble
Let the entire unit dry. Leave the unit to completely air dry in the sun, placing a shade over it to prevent dust and debris from sticking to the different components. Once the unit is dry, reassemble the housing according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Tips to Keep Your Condenser Unit Clean
Cleaning the condenser unit is often part of the professional cleaning package of aircon maintenance companies. Professional cleaning is always the way to go to make sure that your air conditioning coils are well-maintained, but doing the cleaning yourself saves time, money, and is good practice to do between professional cleaning sessions.
When it's time to let the professionals handle the cleaning, contact our technicians at Luce Aircon. Our technicians are sure to get your unit up and running smoothly with cleaning, inspection, and top-notch maintenance services of your air conditioning units!
Contact us today to find out how you can prolong the useful life of your AC unit.