Your air conditioner is one of the essential appliances of your home, particularly when the summers roll by. As the temperatures go very high, you rely on the air conditioning unit or HVAC system to keep your home cool and comfortable so that you don't have any trouble inside it. However, ACs have many large and small components that need to be in perfect condition for the unit to work smoothly, and the condenser is one of them.
The condenser is an essential part of the air conditioner, and it performs a heat exchange, thus allowing the AC to provide cold air. Maintaining the condenser of your AC unit is crucial, and One should do it on time. With that said, let's look at how you can go about condenser maintenance for your home and how it can benefit you in the long run.
Helpful Tips for Maintaining the Condenser
First and foremost, the condenser is the large outdoor unit you might find outside your home. Inside is the heart of any AC system, the compressor, which is responsible for condensing refrigerant. You can identify it by a set of easy-to-detect coils with a large fan on top. Condenser coils receive hot and high-pressure refrigerant gas from the compressor and cool it down. When the fan pulls cold air through them, the refrigerant loses heat, ensuring that cold air stays inside the home.
Here are some of the tips that might come in handy for maintaining the condenser properly:
Cleaning the Fins
Typically, your air conditioner's outdoor unit would be placed in your garden or backyard. Since it has fins for ventilation and keeps the system from overheating, many leaves, twigs, dust, and other debris can find their way inside, accumulating on or around the condenser coils. The coils require simple cleaning with a soft blower.
To do so, you have to turn off your air conditioner and also turn off the power supply to it. Then, you can use the blower to clean off the fins of the outdoor unit until they are completely cleared.
Gently Washing the Condenser Coils
If a simple blowing wouldn't do much, you can use a garden hose on moderate pressure and clean the entire outdoor unit with it, removing the stubborn dirt and debris with a broom. Make sure to avoid using a pressure washer, as it can damage the coils. When you clean up the condenser coils, it will allow air to pass through them much quicker, thus improving their efficiency and helping them provide better cooling.
By washing the condenser coils, you can also prevent airflow blockage across it, which can cause high pressure. Keeping pressure normal prevents damage to the compressor and excess stress on the system.
Combing the Coil Fins
The condenser coils have aluminum fins that can get easily bent, thus hindering the airflow to the coil. To fix this problem, you can get a 'fin comb' from any air conditioner dealer or supplier, and use it to bring these fins back into shape, so that there is no blockage. Keeping fins in good condition also dramatically improves the cooling performance of your air conditioner.
Checking the Refrigerant Levels
If you can't do this on your own, hire an AC technician or repairman to come and check the refrigerant levels of your air conditioner. When the refrigerant level inside the air conditioner goes low, not only does its cooling efficiency go lower, but this can also damage the compressor. Moreover, low refrigerant can cause ice to buildup upon the surrounding components, causing cooling loss and potential water damage.
Checking the Condenser Fan Motor
Suppose your condenser fan doesn't work correctly. This fan is installed adjacent to the condenser coil, and when the air goes towards the coil, it cools off the refrigerant and passes through to the indoor unit of your air conditioner. In that case, it won't matter if everything else is alright because the airflow will be inefficient and won't allow the refrigerant to cool off, and the unit will overheat.
If you notice that the fan doesn't run when you turn on the air conditioner or makes a strange sound when running, there may be something wrong with it. Even if the fan keeps running when the compressor goes off, there could still be a problem with the fan motor. Since you can't do much about it, you should hire a technician who checks the fan motor for any malfunction or improper performance.
You must get the fan motor maintained and fixed because it could cause other components to malfunction if it doesn't work correctly.
Cleaning Space Around the Unit
Last but not least, you should also check if any plants or bushes are too close to the outdoor unit. According to air conditioner manufacturers, there should be a clearance of at least 12 inches between the outdoor unit and any object, be it a plant, tree, wall, or even a fence. The reason for this is because these objects would restrict the airflow to the outdoor unit.
If the outdoor unit doesn't receive proper air, it won't be able to function correctly. Moreover, it would also put pressure on the air conditioner's components, including the condenser, to work harder, thus exposing them to more significant wear and tear. Therefore, trim bushes that grow close to your outdoor unit and refrain from building a fence that would obstruct the airflow in any way.
Moreover, you should schedule a frequent maintenance and tuning session with a trusted HVAC professional so that they can diagnose and mitigate issues that arise in your air conditioner. Proper maintenance is the key to efficient and adequate cooling inside your home, and it would also save you from excessive maintenance and repair costs. If you're looking for AC maintenance in the Tampa Bay Area, ProTek would be happy to help.