Cleaning an Outdoor AC Unit

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Cleaning an Outdoor AC Unit

Homeowners are always asking our Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing technicians how they can help with air conditioning maintenance at their Waterford, MI home. The best answer is to keep the outside compressor clean and free of debris and overgrown vegetation. The good news is this is a pretty simple task for most homeowners. Here are some tips to help.

  • Assure adequate air circulation
    • Air conditioners and heat pumps require good air movement to efficiently transfer heat. Make sure all landscaping and other vegetation is cut back to allow at least two feet of clearance.
  • Keep area free of debris
    • In the fall this means cleaning up the falling leaves and, in the summer, it’s removing any grass clippings. A leaf blower or shop vac should help do the job.
  • Cleaning the compressor
    • What we’re talking about here are primarily the cooling fins. Remember, this is outdoor equipment and will not be damaged by water. Here are the basic steps:
  1. Turn off the power
  2. Remove the top panel (usually requires a screwdriver or wrench)
  3. Use a shop vac to gently remove as much dirt & debris as possible
  4. Use a garden hose to clean the fins (NO high-pressure nozzles)
  5. Direct water inside out through the fins to wash dirt to the outside
  6. Carefully straighten bent fins using a fin comb or even a butter knife

How often?

Kotz suggests you get that garden hose out twice a year to clean the outside unit. Once in the spring before the start of the air conditioning season to remove all the winter debris and again in the fall before the cold weather sets in.

Part of an overall maintenance plan

Cleaning an outside AC unit will help your cooling system work efficiently and extend the lifespan, but it is not a replacement for regular air conditioning maintenance by a professionally trained technician. He or she has the training to do maintenance that the DIYer isn’t capable of doing and can identify problems before they cause a breakdown. Call Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing now to schedule a visit to your Waterford, MI home. To make sure you don’t miss out on other great information like this, be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.