You see your energy bill climbing again and you know that it’s time for HVAC repair. Could you have avoided this kind of situation? One proven method for preventing inefficiency is to maintain the outdoor condenser unit in good condition. When it works properly, you will not waste energy. Get essential advice on how to achieve this.
Clearance Is Key
Keep vegetation away from the condenser unit as debris can easily get inside the pan and reduce the rate of exhaust air release. You should try to have clearance of at least two feet around the unit. To make the area more aesthetically appealing, you can place stones around it. The minimum clearance above the unit is four feet.
Cleaning the Pan
This should be the first step during every maintenance session. Just remember to disconnect the outdoor HVAC unit from the power grid in the first place. It is best to wear gloves for removing any debris inside the unit by hand. You may use a mini vacuum cleaner with a small nozzle for removing fine debris from the bottom of the pan. Just be careful not to point the vacuum directly at the wiring or other thin and not particularly strong components.
Cleaning the Coils
Most often, the coils will need cleaning with water only. You should use a garden hose and spray cool water at medium pressure starting from the top and going down. You must never use a pressure washer as it can cause serious damage to the coil fins, which are quite thin.
In case of stubborn dirt, you should apply specially formulated commercial cleaner to the coils. It is very caustic and will produce potentially hazardous fumes when applied. That is why you must wear a safety mask, goggles and gloves when using the product and follow the instructions on the packaging strictly. Generally, the process is very simple. You need to apply the cleaner and wait for it to foam, which usually takes about five to ten minutes. Then you need to rinse the coils using fresh water.
Straightening Bent Coil Fins
Bending will reduce the amount of exhaust air released by the outdoor HVAC unit so this issue must be addressed timely. The most commonly used repair technique is called combing. It involves the use of a specially designed plastic comb. You need to run it from the bottom up to straighten the coil fins. This requires effort, care and precision, but the hard work will pay off.
Retaining the Results for Longer
Unfortunately, homeowners are often responsible for the damage of the condenser unit and more specifically of its coils. They often suffer blows from flying pebbles and debris released by the lawn mower chute or other power tools for trimming vegetation. When you use such tools, you should take care to direct the release of debris away from the unit.
Finally, if you think that condenser unit maintenance once or twice a year is a serious job which you don’t have time for, you should leave it to the HVAC specialists. Just don’t neglect this major system component.