Your air conditioner is naturally going to become less efficient over the years. The condenser unit is particularly vulnerable to losing efficiency because it is located on the outside of the house. Certain components will get dirty from being outdoors, causing them to run less effectively and putting more stress on your condenser motor. This article explains how you can clean your condenser coils for a more productive AC system.
Accessing the Inside of Your Unit
Before you do any work, make sure you cut the power to your unit by hitting the breaker switch. Most condensers don't have an ON/OFF switch, so this is necessary. Your condenser coils are located on the outside and inside of the main walls of the box unit. The fan inside is separated from the coils. Most condensers have a protective cage, but you don't need to remove this cage to clean the outside coils. However, you do need to remove the bird guard on top of the unit in order to access and clean the interior coils. This is usually very simple; you just need to remove a couple of screws that mount the cage to the top of the unit. Once the screws are removed, you will need to lift the cage up. The actual fan is attached to this cage.
As you lift the cage, you need to unplug the power supply to the fan. Once the power supply is loose, you can set the cage down on the ground. At this point, you will have full access to the coils on the inside walls.
Cleaning Your Coils
Before you spray your coils, you should vacuum out the bottom. This will probably be filled with leaves and dirt. If this is clogging the drain holes on the pan, your water will not drain when your spray it down.
You will now be able to clean both sides of the coils at the same time. Using a hose, spray them down until all the dirt washes out. If water alone doesn't get the job done, add some soap or basic liquid cleaner to help break down the dirt. The exterior side of coils will probably be much dirtier and take longer to clean. Don't bother with scrubbing or wiping down the coils. If you do this, you run the risk of bending them and causing further damage.
If you have never cleaned your condenser coils, this is a job that could immediately benefit you. Talk with professional HVAC companies, like C & D Cooling & Heating Co, for more information and assistance with cleaning your coils.