How to Clean a Condenser

Did you know regularly maintained AC units run more efficiently and can last longer? It’s true! We recommend getting a tune-up twice per year. Once in the spring before you turn on the AC, and once in the fall before it’s time to fire up your furnace. Despite this, there are a few things you can do to keep your condenser in shape between tune-ups. We sat down with our expert service technician, Omar, and he shared a few tips on proper condenser care and how to clean a condenser.

Coil Cleaners: How to Avoid Damages

Applying highly abrasive coil cleaners without first diluting the solution can cause irreversible damage to the coils. By the same token, applying the highly abrasive solvents during a hot Northern California summer can ruin the manufacturer’s protective coating.
Over time, these “quick fixes” cause the coils to become rusty and eroded, leaving many homeowners wondering how it happened. Both coil cleaning scenarios cause problems that are far worse than a bit of dirt on your condenser and could result in costly DIY AC maintenance. Moore Home Services’ expert technicians mix coil cleaner at a 10-to-1 ratio. It could be more or less depending on the solvent and if it’s biodegradable. These precautions protect your condenser and extend the lifespan of your system.

Don’t Use the Hose on Your Condenser

When dust, dirt, and pollen are introduced to your AC system, it can restrict the airflow. These elements make their way inside your condenser, thanks to Mother Nature’s contribution of wind and weather. Pollen carries an oily residue and is particularly tricky to clean. While it’s part of what makes our area beautiful, too many pollinating plants close by can mean trouble for your condenser. Floating debris gets sucked into the condenser when the unit kicks on. It starts inhaling and circulating from all sides, sending it through the coils. Shooting a stream of water from your hose can make this worse by trapping the debris further inside. When a Moore Home Services technician performs an air conditioner tune-up or AC maintenance, the top is completely removed. This gives a bird’s eye view of what’s stuck inside, and any debris can be safely washed from the inside out.

Be Strategic with Landscaping Around Your Condenser

We all know your condenser isn’t pretty. Many Santa Rosa homeowners try to find creative solutions to block the eyesore from view and give their curb appeal a boost. Keep these things in mind before you start digging and planting.

Breathing Room

Did you know that a crowded condenser performs less efficiently? That means your utility bill goes up, and your system will likely have a much shorter lifespan. Avoid planting anything too close as it may restrict the airflow that feeds your condenser. The harder your AC must work, the more costly it is to run and the less effectively it cools your home. Design your landscaping with at least two to three feet around all sides of your condenser or check your owner’s manual for their recommended spacing. Any professional technician would also appreciate the extra elbow room when performing your AC maintenance.

Condenser-Friendly Plants and Décor

Choose plants that grow up rather than out. Quickly spreading plants will take over the space and crowd the condenser, causing restricted airflow. Give your air conditioner plenty of shade. If your system has to fight against the sun to dissipate the heat, it has to work that much harder. Overhead shade solutions should be no less than five feet higher than the unit.
Small evergreen plants make an excellent windbreak. Plant them at an adequate distance from the condenser to hide it from sight and improve efficiency. Flowers and plants with sharp leaves or thorns or burrs that stick to your clothing are not a good fit around your condenser. This will also keep your pets and techs safe! Installing a trellis or lattice box would strategically hide your condenser without restricting the airflow. Or you can go all out on a gravel garden that’s much easier to maintain. Let’s chat about your air conditioner tune-up needs and avoid any unnecessary hassle or costly repairs! Reach out to the Moore Home Services team today!