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Air conditioner condenser cleaning
Follow these steps for air conditioner condenser cleaning to keep your AC unit running efficiently.
- Spray nozzle hose
- Outdoor water supply
- Unused paintbrush or coil-cleaning brush
- Fin comb (optional)
- Rake and garden tools (if needed)
Your air conditioner condenser, that box-like unit on the outside of your home, pulls air across metal fins and coils as it helps cool the interior air. But because the unit sits outside, it is vulnerable to clogs, mold, pests and weather damage. Frequent cleaning is a must.
Step 1. Turn off power
A disconnect panel can usually be found on the wall next to the air conditioner condenser unit. In addition, shut off the air conditioner's circuit breaker at the main electrical panel.
Step 2. Clear the area around the AC unit
Rake leaves and debris away from the air conditioner condenser and trim any bushes or plants that might block airflow.
Step 3. Brush off the AC condenser unit
With a coil-cleaning brush or an unused paintbrush, gently sweep the sides of the condenser, attempting to brush trapped dirt and debris from the metal fins and coils.
Note: In some air conditioner condenser models, panels hide the metal fins and coils. The panels must be removed before they can be cleaned.
Step 4. Wash the AC condenser unit
With a garden hose equipped with a spray nozzle, hose down the air conditioner condenser, working slowly from side to side, starting from the top.
Spray the water straight into the condenser unit, trying to avoid flattening any fins as you work to knock out dirt and debris.
Step 5. Straighten the AC condenser fins
Check the metal fins surrounding the air conditioner condenser. If any large sections are flattened, gently attempt to straighten them out one by one with a flat-head screwdriver so that air can move through them.
Tip: For about $10 at your local home store or online, you can buy a tool known as a fin comb or fin tool, which allows you to brush the fins back to the proper direction.
Step 6. Test the AC condenser unit
After the air conditioner condenser has had a chance to dry, reconnect power to the unit and turn on the air conditioner at the thermostat inside your home. If the condenser is working correctly, you should feel warm air being released from the fan at the top.
Clean the condenser as often as you like, depending on how quickly dirt builds up.
For more tips on keeping your AC unit running in top form, see our step-by-step guide to air conditioner maintenance.
✓ Reviewed and approved by Repair.com expert Michael & Son Services.