Cleaning Your Air Conditioner Condenser Coils

It’s hot outside! If your electric bills are creeping up or your air conditioner isn’t cooling as effectively as it should, the culprit may lay in the outside unit. More accurately, in the unit’s condenser coils.

If your air conditioning unit is full of winter debris, it has to work extra hard to make sure cold air is getting into your home.

The condenser coil in your home’s AC unit works much like your car’s radiator. In order to dispel the heat from the inside part of the AC unit, air needs to move over the condenser coil.

If your condenser coil is full of grass clippings, dust or lint from a dryer vent, then you are making your home’s AC unit work much harder and use more energy than needed.

In addition, if you have flowers, tall grass or bushes growing too close to your AC unit, this also cuts down on the air available to run over the condenser coils. Consider trimming them back to leave room for your air conditioner “to breathe.”

How often do we recommend doing this?

You’ll definitely want to rinse out the condenser coils before you start running your unit in the spring or early summer. Afterwards, simultaneously change your air filter and rinse out the coils every month of the summer. Doing this often makes it easier to remove the debris while not giving it time to build, and will keep your unit running effectively without getting bogged down.

Is there anything to be careful of when you’re rinsing the coils?

Make sure that your water pressure isn’t too high as this can bend the fins. While your air conditioning unit can still run if the fins are bent, too many can block airflow through the coils and decrease efficiency. If the fins are bent, it can be difficult to get a “fin comb” to get them back to normal.

As you can see in our video below, we do not recommend using a nozzle on your hose. This will add to the pressure. Just use your finger or thumb - or just the hose itself - and gently rinse the coil fins.

Want to see for yourself?

Watch as our ServiceOne air conditioning expert walks you through on how to clean your AC’s condenser coils to help your system run more smoothly:

Having an HVAC emergency? Our ServiceOne air conditioning professionals in Dubuque and Omaha are available 24 hours a day to ensure your heating and cooling system is working properly.


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