Maintaining Your Central Air Conditioning System: The Condenser

Air Conditioner CompressorThe Condenser

The condenser unit in most air conditioning systems is placed outside the house and is prone to accumulate dirt, debris from trees and lawn clippings, or even lint from a dryer vent if it is located close by. The condenser has a fan that moves air across the condenser coil. You must clean the coil on the intake side. So, before you turn off the power to the air conditioner, check to see which direction the air moves across the coils. Here’s how to clean the condenser:

1. The power should still be off to your air conditioner.

2. Remove any debris, and trim foliage back at least 2 feet to allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.

3. Clean condenser with commercial coil cleaner (available at refrigerator supply stores). Read and follow the cleaner’s manufacturer directions.

4. If the fins surrounding the condenser are bent, they will prevent air from properly circulating around the condenser coils. You can straighten them with a fin comb (available at appliance part stores). The fins are made of very light-gauge aluminum, so use the comb very carefully to avoid damaging fins.

Also, when you are not using your air conditioner during the fall and winter months, you should cover your condenser unit to protect it from leaf blockage and ice damage. You can purchase a commercial condenser cover made to fit the shape of the unit or use a strong cord to secure heavy plastic tarp around your unit.

Also check out: Maintaining The Filter
                         Maintaining The Evaporator

By investing in some regular maintenance, you can lengthen your systems life span as well as keep your operational costs down. Why not give it a try?

If you are not comfortable maintaining your system yourself, or you feel your system may need a more thorough tune up, there are several heating and cooling specialists standing by on Bid On My Job. Head over to to post your job for free!