BY SANDY BAKER/OCT. 12, 2022 11:53 AM EDT
The air conditioner condenser is one of the most important components of an efficient residential HVAC system, and yet it is very easy to overlook when it comes to routine maintenance and upkeep. Still, cleaning the air conditioner condenser coils should be a must on every homeowner’s to-do list (unless they turn to a professional to do the work for them). “The condenser coils are located within the outdoor component of your air conditioning unit, and their job is to reject the heat out of the house that has been absorbed by the evaporator coil inside the house,” David Heiman, the Senior Director of Training at The Refrigerator School, Inc., explained in an exclusive interview with House Digest.
According to Energy.gov, the coils in a unit pull in lots of dirt and debris while functioning, which can reduce airflow and eventually limit the effectiveness of the system. Fortunately for us, Heiman provided insight into the cleaning process that can help you avoid any HVAC hiccups.
The proper steps for cleaning
It’s easy to see that your coils may need cleaning if they are packed with dust, leaves, and other debris instead of being a clear, screen-like covering over the spinning fan within it. If they look like that it’s time to get to work, says David Heiman.
“To clean the condenser coils, first you will want to remove the quick disconnect to de-energize the condensing unit and then remove the outdoor condenser fan,” he explained. Make sure no power is running through the system before taking that step by trying to turn on the AC. Also, the fan is likely bolted into place or requires removing the screw-like center piece.
After that, you go proceed with the next step. “Spray the condenser coil with a foaming chemical cleaning agent such as NU-Brite,” Heiman continued. “Allow the chemical to remain on the coil for five to 10 minutes -– this will bring the dirt and dust to the surface.” You can find this cleaning agent at most home improvement stores or online.
Once the debris has made its way to the top, you can get back to it. “Then, utilizing a hose, gently rinse off the chemical from the inside of the condensing unit,” Heiman added.
Finishing the job
It could take some time to wash away all of the debris, but be thorough in this process. David Heiman then said, “After it’s cleaned, assemble the outdoor condenser fan back into place and replace the quick disconnect.” Simply reattach the fan based on how you took it off, being sure not to bend the blades or overtighten it into place. The fan should move easily when pushed.
Before you’re done with the project, there’s one more step, according to Heiman. “Lastly, test the system to ensure it is functioning properly,” he added. To do that, turn on the air conditioner and then step outside to see if the fan is spinning as normal. If you notice any concerns with your AC, be sure to contact an HVAC professional for a full inspection as well as full air conditioner maintenance tips. Routine care like this can help ensure your system is working efficiently to keep your home cool.