How to Clean Your AC Condenser Unit in 7 Easy Steps

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How to Clean Your AC Condenser Unit in 7 Easy Steps

AC Condenser Unit

In schools, HVACs are among the largest energy consumers. The same applies to many households and companies.

Therefore, you must clean your AC condenser unit regularly.

Without regular cleaning, your air conditioning performance will steadily decline.

Plus, energy use will increase.

To avoid that, follow this detailed guide to clean your AC condenser unit. It also shows how to clean the rest of your AC unit. It won’t make sense to clean only one part and leave another.

Step 1: Tools and Equipment

Gather all necessary tools and equipment. This will help you finish cleaning fast.

The items you’ll need include:

  • A ratchet set
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • A multimeter
  • A mallet

Step 2: Safety Check

Now, do a safety check. Safety is always the first consideration when cleaning any electronic fixture.

Your AC condenser unit has two potential dangers:

  • Risk of electric shock.
  • Risk of harm from spinning fan blades.

Therefore, turn off the unit before taking any step. You’ll find a shutoff box on the exterior of the house for the outdoor unit. There’s also a power source to the furnace or blower of the indoor unit.

Alternatively, turn off the circuit break powering your AC or turn off the main power panel.

You can use a multimeter to check the voltage on the unit. That way, you’ll be completely sure it’s turned off.

Go a step further to clear the area around the outdoor AC condenser unit. Plus, remove any distractions that can hinder cleaning the indoor unit. Give yourself ample room to work comfortably.

Step 3: Disassemble the Outdoor AC Condenser Unit

Remove the metal shielding surrounding the outdoor unit.

The metal shielding has several screws attaching it to the AC condenser unit.

Remove each of the screws and then take out the metal shielding.

Step 4: Cleaning the Outdoor Unit Fan and Condenser Coil

Unscrew the grille on top. It will come off attached to the fan. Wipe the fan clean using a damp cloth.

If it has lubrication ports, apply five drops of electric motor oil.

Next, clean the condenser coil with a soft bristled brush. Then hose it down with water. Make sure the water isn’t pressurized.

Step 5: Cleaning the Rest of the Outdoor Unit

Once the metal shielding comes off, you’ll see buildup on the unit. Such buildup may consist of dust, leaves, dirt or other objects.

Remove this buildup using a garden hose with low or no pressure. Remember to use very low pressure, so you don’t bend the fins. Simply use an open hose end.

Start by spraying the outside. Keep the hose at an angle to peel off the buildup.

Afterward, spray from the inside out. This will remove debris stuck within the fins.

In case, the fins bend, straighten them with a dinner knife or fin comb.

Do this as thoroughly as possible. Any minimal buildup will reduce your AC unit’s cooling capacity.

Step 6: Reassemble and Cleanup

Reassembly is simply putting back the metal shielding and all other parts. Place back all the screws.

Clean up around the outdoor unit too. Trim any foliage around to a distance of 2 feet around it. Make sure there is no potential debris around and above the unit.

Step 7: Cleaning the Indoor AC Unit

Start by checking if your AC has a reusable filter. If so, you may not need to replace it. Instead, clean it.

Whether it needs cleaning or replacing, do so every month or two during the cooling season. However, if you constantly use your AC, more frequent cleaning is necessary. More so, if you have dusty conditions or fur-bearing pets at home.

When replacing, the correct size is indicated in the AC condenser unit manual.

Alternatively, take your old filter with you to the local home improvement store.

The best time to replace it is just before the cooling and heating seasons.

Also, check the type of filter you have. Different varieties offer varying efficiencies/ airflow ratings.

The filter looks like a small feature but replacing it is crucial to your AC performance. This will reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 13 percent.

When putting in the new filter, match the air-flow direction arrows with the AC unit.

Now, open the blower compartment and vacuum the dirt build up. If the motor has lubrication ports, squeeze five drops of eclectic motor oil.

Move in to find the evaporator coil inside the blower unit. You may have to remove screws, foil duct tape, and bolts.

Cleaning and maintaining the evaporator requires a soft bristled brush. Use a no-rinse coil cleaner.

You also have to clean the drain pan. That’s because the no-rinse coil cleaner will drip into the drain pan. Soap, hot water, and a bit of bleach will do.

Rinse out the drain pan using a one-to-one ratio of water and bleach. To further inhibit algae growth in the drain pan, place a drain pan tablet in it. This will keep it clear for longer.

Then check for algae in the plastic condensation tube.

You can remove mild cases of algae buildup. Mix a solution of 1 part bleach and 16 parts water. Then, pour it through the funnel.

In case the tube is completely clogged, replace it.

For the drain tube, use a pipe cleaner. Alternatively, a small bristled brush will do.

After cleanup, fit it all back in.

Let it rest for at least 24 hours before turning your AC condenser unit back on.

Hire a Professional for Expert AC Condenser Unit Maintenance

Understandably, you can’t fix every issue regarding your AC condenser unit.

Multiple issues need professional care.

A professional can handle such issues as:

  • Checking for deficient AC refrigerant.
  • Using a leak detector to test for refrigerant leaks.
  • Safely capturing refrigerants evacuated from the system.
  • Measuring the airflow through the evaporator coil.
  • Verifying the electric control sequence.- Inspecting and maintaining electric terminals.
  • Checking motors and belts.
  • Checking the thermostat accuracy.

Schedule an appointment with us for these and many more services.