One of the many things that you need to clean and prepare for use in the spring and in the summer is your air conditioning unit. You may not immediately use it at the start of the spring season, but you will definitely use it when the sun is starting to feel hot and when all the snow has melted. If you have an HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) system which either has a heat pump, furnace, and AC, then this guide will be helpful for you. In this article, you will learn the basic steps to clean the compressor/condenser unit of air conditioning system the DIY way.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Shut it off. Before you start doing anything on your AC, be it cleaning or maintenance, make sure that everything is shut off. Make sure that everything is not moving and that the power supply, both in and out of the house, are shut off. For the exterior compressor or condenser, you can shut it off from the box near it. From the indoor of your house, turn off the breaker box that connects every power line in your home.
Step 2: Remove any debris. Use a screwdriver to remove the fan cage from the exterior condenser or compressor. You then need to remove the fasteners around it, then lift the cage from the unit. If you see debris in the interior of the unit, you can remove it by hand or by using a vacuum cleaner. Make sure that no debris is left inside so your unit receives proper cleaning.
Step 3: Hose the fins. The next thing you need to do after removing the debris inside your compressor/condenser unit is to hose the fins with a garden hose. Make sure that your garden hose is producing a decent amount of stream and pressure to help remove dirt, debris, and dust that has caught in between the fins. If you have a pressure washer, don’t use it. This will just destroy the fins of your unit. If you think that regular hosing is not enough to clean the fins, then you can buy a fin cleaning spray, which is available at any home improvement store. It may also be available in hardware stores.
Step 4: Straighten misaligned fins. A bent and misaligned fin will disrupt the air flow in the unit, which can reduce its efficiency. If you see fins that are bent or misaligned, carefully straighten them with the use of a butter knife or any tool that can fit in between the fins. Carefully do this as the tubing inside the unit may be damaged if you do this with force. This may be a taxing step to do, especially if you see a lot of bent fins. But, if you don’t correct the misalignment, the life-span of your unit will shorten.
Step 5: Clean the surrounding area of your unit. Once you have done the initial cleaning of your compressor/condenser unit, put everything back in place. If this is your first time cleaning your HVAC, then make sure that you know which part goes where. After everything is back in place, grab a rake and clean the surrounding area of the unit. This will help proper airflow around your compressor/condenser.
Once you are done taking the basic steps to clean your air-conditioning unit, then you are set to clean the evaporator coil, its evaporator drain, and the blower filter. If you are not confident doing this yourself, then you can always call for professional help.