There’s something fun about getting your home ready for spring. While spring cleaning is a task almost everyone can get behind, we’re here to remind you there are some things you shouldn’t do when going on your cleaning binge.
We all know that a well-maintained HVAC system is more energy-efficient and lasts longer than any neglected units. However, it’s easy for some homeowners to take it overboard; especially when it comes to the condenser.
Here at Service Champions, we consulted with our expert technician, Omar, and he gave us the rundown on how to clean an AC condenser. He tells us what you should do, and more importantly, what you should not do.
What to Avoid When Using Coil Cleaners
Most home improvement stores carry something called “coil cleaners.” While they look simple enough to use, we don’t recommend them.
Condenser coil cleaners that you can buy off the shelf are highly abrasive. When you don’t dilute the solution enough, or if you apply it during our hot Southern California summers in 110-degree weather, it can cause irreversible damage to the coils.
Dirty air conditioner? Its time for a service. [EI1]
Most condenser coil cleaners are highly acidic. When your AC unit was made, the manufacturer put a coating over your condenser that helps protect it from dust, debris, and other organic matter. When used incorrectly, coil cleaners can strip away this protective coating.
One of the reasons we always say, “call a professional,” is because of things like this. Our expert technicians at Service Champions mix coil cleaner at a 10-to-1 ratio, depending on the solvent we’re using, and if it’s biodegradable. This protects your condenser and extends the life of your system.
Why You Shouldn’t Hose Down a Condenser
Elements such as dirt, dust, pollen, and other airborne debris, are naturally introduced to your AC system. You can thank mother nature for the Santa Ana winds she sends through Orange County.
Pollen is a particularly tricky substance to clean as it carries an oily residue. While we’re lucky to live in an area full of thriving pollinating plants, this can cause trouble for your condenser.
The floating debris is sucked into your condenser as it inhales air through the sides when running and sends it through the coils. Unfortunately, a simple exterior hose can actually make it worse.
While it looks cleaner outside, all that debris has just been shoved further inside. When a professional technician performs an air conditioner tune-up or cleaning, we remove the top of the condenser. This gives access to the inside, where the debris can be safely washed from the inside out.
Landscape Strategically Around Your Condenser
Condensers are hardly a work of art. This often leads homeowners to find creative solutions to improve the curb appeal by incorporating more appealing landscaping nearby. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re beautifying the area around your condenser.
Space to Breathe
How efficiently your air conditioner runs can be directly affected by the plants and barriers close by. If decor or plants are placed too close, it may obstruct the airflow feeding into your air conditioner. This means your system is working harder and harder to inhale and cool the air, resulting in rising electric bills and plummeting efficiency.
Plan for a minimum of two to three feet around every side of your condenser but be sure to verify the recommended distance in your owner’s manual. Our service professionals also appreciate that little extra space around your condenser to give us some elbow room when performing AC maintenance.
Condenser-Friendly Plants and Décor
Plants that grow skyward instead of outwards are preferred for this area. Sideways spreading plants have a tendency to take over and can eventually crowd your condenser.
Avoid this altogether by installing a mobile garden in pots or planter boxes that can easily be rearranged.
Create a windbreak by planting evergreens around your condenser. A windbreak helps with air conditioner efficiency as well as shade. The more shade your condenser has, the less it has to work. For shade above the unit, keep it at least five feet high.
Avoid any plants or flowers with thorns or sharp leaves or burrs that stick to clothing. This keeps your service techs happy and safe!
It may cost you unnecessary hassle and money to take AC maintenance into your own hands. Let’s chat about your air conditioner tune-up needs!