As summer approaches, now is a good a time as any to fix up your air conditioner and make sure it is functioning properly. A normal air conditioning unit in a home should be serviced every couple of years. However, there are also some simple maintenance jobs you can do after every winter when you haven't been using your air conditioner. Most importantly, you want to focus on the condenser unit on the outside of your home. This can get dirty over the winter, especially if it is not covered with a tarp. This article explains how to prepare your condenser unit for normal summer usage by cleaning and straightening the fins.
Clean and Straighten Your Condenser Fins
The condenser unit is vital because it helps cool the refrigerant that flows through your system. The exterior of the unit is lined with aluminum sheets. These sheets have ridges that are called fins. The fins stick out and can get easily bent and dirty. If the fins are dirty or bent, the heat transfer will be seriously delayed. This means your condenser unit will use more energy to circulate air, but you will still probably end up with reduced airflow. Basically, your AC will be more expensive to run, and it won't be pumping out enough cold air.
First, you want to clean out the coils. These can get clogged with leaves, dust, and dirt. They are exposed to the elements on the outer lining of the unit because the condenser needs to suck in air. This means that cleaning them is very easy. Most likely, you will be able to adequately clean them by spraying them down with a hose. However, if the dirt stays stuck to the fins, you can use condenser coil cleaning liquid. This helps break down the dirt if you spray it onto the coils and let it soak in for a few minutes.
You can also help your unit by straightening bent fins. Fins can get bent easily because they are so thin. To do this you should invest in a condenser comb. However, you might also need a small flathead screwdriver to fix smashed coils. This process can be time consuming because there are so many fins and they are so small. It takes a little attention to detail and patience. By straightening out the fins, you can significantly improve air intake. As you can see, this maintenance is simple. But it can have a huge effect on the efficiency of your AC, so don't neglect it.