Clean Your Outdoor AC Unit for Greater Efficiency
Chances are, your outdoor air conditioning unit or heat pump isn’t cooling nearly as well as it could. A year’s worth of dirt, debris, and random gunk is clogging your machine. An outside AC unit with a dirty blower fan and cooling coils will reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner and wear it out faster.
Help boost your machine’s cooling power before the summer heat hits: This chore will take you less than an hour and extend the life of your unit.
Step 1. Clean up the area around your outdoor AC unit or heat pump. Leaves, trash and branches from the fall and winter often accumulate around the unit due to wind patterns near your house. These AC units work by drawing air in through the sides and blowing it out the top. Any debris nearby will be sucked into the sides and reduce airflow. Also, pull up any weeds or other plants (dead or alive) that have grown up within a foot or two of the unit. Good airflow around the unit is essential.
Step 2. Turn off the power! Safety first, folks. You’ll typically find this box right near the unit on the outside of the house. If you’re unsure, simply turn off power to the unit at your main electric panel.
Step 3. Vacuum away excess debris. Grass, leaves, and assorted gunk will be caught in the exterior fins of the unit. Grab the soft brush attachment for your vacuum (a shop vacuum is best) and gently brush them away.
Step 4. Grab your Scrigit™ Scraper! Improve airflow into the unit by straightening any bent fins with the flat end of the tool using gentle pressure. The Scrigit™ Scraper fits perfectly between each fin, but don’t push too hard!
Step 5. If you are comfortable doing this type of project, remove the fan by unscrewing the top grille. Then, slowly lift out the fan and carefully set it aside or have somebody hold it – making sure to not pull out any electrical wires. Pull out any additional debris that you uncover and gently wipe the fan blades and interior with a clean, damp cloth.
Step 6. Finally, spray the unit’s cooling fins using your hose. Be sure to angle the hose spray from the inside – out. No special cleaning solution is needed. Then, reinstall the fan and turn the power back on.
Most AC units aren’t maintained during the fall and winter months. Opting out of a springtime cleaning will reduce cooling efficiency and create unreasonably high energy bills. Get ready to clean! You’ll thank us when the summer’s scorching heat hits.