How To Clean Your Outdoor A/C Unit

Reliance Air Conditioner CleaningThere’s almost nothing that makes you happier than stepping into your nice, cool home from a hot, sweltering summer day. Ahhhh. To keep you feeling happy like this, your air conditioner does a lot of work throughout the long, hot Los Angeles area summer, so it’s bound to pick up some dirt and debris. Cleaning your outdoor condenser unit before the weather gets too toasty ensures that debris doesn’t impair your system’s efficiency.

How to Clean Your Condenser Unit and Keep Your Cool

  1. Shut off the power.
    Shut off electricity to the unit at the outdoor shut-off. (Depending on your air conditioner model, you might need to flip a switch or pull out a plug.) Alternatively, shut off power at the breaker box inside your home.
  2. Dust the unit.
    Remove grass clippings, dead leaves, and other debris from the unit’s exterior fins using a soft, stiff brush. A wet vac with a brush attachment will make the job go faster. But be sure to work carefully! The fins (Yes, fins. Fish don’t corner the market on fins!) are thin aluminum and easy to accidentally damage.
  3. Wash the fins.
    Remove the top of the unit and then, using a garden hose, spray down the fins you see with a gentle stream of water aimed from the interior toward the exterior. Spraying this way prevents debris from being washed into the unit. Never use a pressure washer. Even the lowest setting on a tool such as a pressure washer will bend the fins.
  4. Straighten bent fins.
    Bent and crushed fins interfere with airflow, reducing your condenser unit’s energy efficiency. If your unit has damaged fins, straighten them using a fin comb available at HVAC supply stores. You can also use a butter knife for this job, but, again, work carefully.

Getting Ready for Summer

Cleaning isn’t the only thing your air conditioning system needs to be ready for the cooling season. Before the weather really heats up, schedule an annual professional maintenance inspection. (We happen to know a great group of experts you can call.) During an inspection, your Reliance HVAC technician will clean components you can’t reach and take care of other problems such as low refrigerant, loose wires, and motor voltage issues that can reduce your system’s efficiency and shorten its lifespan.

Reliance Home Services Coupon $119 30-Point A/C Tune-up

For more tips on cleaning your outdoor A/C unit or to schedule an annual inspection, contact us at Reliance Home Services. It’s a great way to stay happy—and  cool—as we head into another Greater Los Angeles summer.