When’s the best time to clean your air conditioning system? Answer: before you actually need to use your air conditioning! If your spring cleaning checklist doesn’t already include getting your AC in tip-top shape, consider this your sign to add it now.
If you consider yourself handy, one maintenance task that you can attempt on your own is cleaning the AC condenser, which is the outdoor unit of the system. With a damp rag, a garden hose, and a screwdriver, you can remove debris from the unit and clean off the fins.
Six steps to clean your AC condenser
- First and foremost, head outside and turn off the power to the unit. You will want to make sure the power source is completely off to avoid a dangerous situation. Check and double-check that everything is in the off position and there is no electricity coming to the unit before you move on to step 2.
- Remove any visible debris from around the unit. There should not be any landscaping (shrubs, bushes, or even grass) growing within 2 feet of your AC unit. Remove any leaves or branches that might have gotten stuck in or around the unit over the fall and winter.
- Fix the fins, if necessary. The fins of the AC unit should run parallel without any bends. If any fins are touching or out of place, simply use a screwdriver or any similar tool to carefully straighten things out. Be sure not to insert the tool any deeper than ½ in. to avoid causing damage to the fins or other components.
- Remove the fan from the top of the unit. Unscrew the grille on the top of the AC unit and remove the fan carefully. Do not stretch any of the attached electrical wires during this step. Place the fan aside in a spot that allows for the electrical wires to have some slack.
- Clean the fins from inside out using a garden hose with a spray attachment. Medium water pressure is fine for this step, but don’t apply too much pressure. And be sure to spray the fins from the inside out to avoid creating any unnecessary buildup inside the AC unit.
- Attach the fan and restart the unit, then switch your indoor thermostat to the ‘Cool’ setting.
When to call an HVAC professional
This simple cleaning of the exterior unit and the fins removes debris that may affect the heat transfer process or airflow of the air conditioning. However, if your AC unit still isn’t functioning properly after completing these steps, or you’d rather have a professional handle the job, that’s where Robert B. Payne, Inc. comes in. Our team is currently scheduling air conditioning maintenance appointments to prepare for the upcoming cooling season.
To book your AC maintenance appointment before the summer rush, call us today at 540-373-5876.