How to Clean an Outside Air Conditioner Without Hiring a Pro
This step-by-step guide will show you how to easily clean the condenser and evaporator coils in your outside AC unit. Most central air conditioning systems have both an indoor and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit (evaporator) is usually located in a central duct near your furnace. However, if you have a heat pump instead of a furnace, then the indoor unit will be located in the air handler. The outdoor unit (condenser/compressor) usually sits next to your home. Performing this preventative maintenance item will help keep your energy bills lower and your A/C system running smoothly. This is just one simple chore that will pay off handsomely and extend the life of your unit.
Steps to Cleaning Your Coils and Preventing an AC Repair
Step 1: Shut Off Power to the air conditioner. Your outside unit should have a 240-Volt power supply switch somewhere next to it, similar to the example in the picture. Some shut-off's have a small power handle to push down, others have a handle you pull out, and some have a fuse you may have to pull out. In the event that you have neither, simply locate your breaker box and shut off the one that supplies power to your outside A/C unit.
Step 2: Clear any debris and spray. Be sure to remove any tall grass, shrubs, or foliage around your outside air conditioning unit. This can restrict air flow and even start to grow up and into your system, causing damage to your fan blades. You may have to remove the outer shell of your unit to access the coils, but typically you can get to them without having to do this. Attach a sprayer head to your hose and begin spraying out all the debris, dirt, and dust that has built up into all the coils. Be careful not to bump or strike the coils with the hose while you are spraying, as they're easily damaged and can bend with little force. Take your time and spray over every square inch of coil and be sure to blow out any and all debris. Don't worry about drying it. Once the fan kicks back on later, it will help to dry everything out.
Tip: Clean Your AC Condensor Coils at Least Twice Per Year
Step 3: Resupply Power to Your AC Unit & Feel the Pipes. Once you're done cleaning the coils and you've shut your water back off, you can now connect power back to your system by either pushing the power switch next to the unit or by flipping the breaker. If the unit doesn't cut back on itself, go inside and move the thermostat until it comes on. After around 10 minutes, pull back the foam insulation on the pipe (or pipes if your system has a heat pump), as shown in the picture, and inspect them by touch. It should be cool to the touch, around 60 degrees. The other pipe should be warm, around the temperature of your skin. If, after inspecting these pipes, something doesn't seem right, call an AC contractor to come out and inspect.
Hire a Pro A/C Contractor in Tyler TX
If performing your own air conditioner preventative maintenance overwhelms you or you just don't care to mess with it, hire a reputable AC contractor and have them do it. Getting on a service plan is worth its weight in gold and can save you loads of money in future AC repair costs.
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