In this article, we’ll be showing you how to clean your air-conditioning condenser like a pro. This can save you a ton of money over the years, when you figure that this kind of spring tune-up on an AC unit costs about $100 a pop.
Cleaning your air-conditioner coils is a task that any do-it-yourself can confidently undertake. It’s an easy DIY project that requires minimal time and expense. It will not only save you money but will also maximize the efficiency and life of your AC system by ensuring maximum airflow into the unit.
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How To Clean Your Air-Conditioning Condenser: Supplies, Tools, and Costs
- Viper Coil Cleaner
- A source of water, such as a garden hose (not a power washer)
- A screwdriver or impact driver
A can of Viper Coil Cleaner costs about $20 as of the posting of this article.
How To Clean Your Air-Conditioning Condenser: Before Starting
To clean our air conditioning condenser, we are going to be using a chemical cleanser so we’ll want to work safely.
The first step before starting is to put on some rubber gloves. Eye protection is also not a bad idea, seeing as the product could splash back at you as you rinse it off.
Next, we’ll disconnect power to the AC unit by opening the lid of the electrical box and pulling out the disconnect component. Just put your fingers under the tabs and pull it straight out.
You can flip the disconnect component over so that the word “OFF” appears on the left-hand side and reinsert it so that it doesn’t get misplaced. In this orientation, no current is flowing to the AC unit.
Alternatively, you could just sit the disconnect on top of the box.
Remember to close the box before continuing so that no water gets into it.
How To Clean Your Air-Conditioning Condenser: Applying the Coil Cleaner
The product we’re using to clean the AC coils is Viper Coil Cleaner. This cleaner can be used on both condensers and evaporators.
This product doesn’t require shaking prior to use so I’m just going to start spraying. I’ll start applying the coil cleaner at the bottom and work my way up, making several passes on each row of fins and angling the direction of the spray to penetrate through them.
Remember to keep the can upright as you’re spraying. This might be a bit tricky when you get to the backside of the condenser unit where there’s not a lot of clearance.
Once I’ve applied the coil cleaner to all sides of my AC condenser unit, I’ll let the product sit for 5-10 minutes.
To Remove or Not to Remove the AC Condenser Cover
To do the most thorough job of cleaning your AC unit, you’ll want to remove the cover and hose down the coils from the inside. If this seems too much for you as a DIYer, you can simply rinse off the coil cleaner you’ve applied with a hose from the outside.
NOTE: If you have two layers of coils inside your condenser, it’s pretty much imperative to take the lid off and spray down the coils from the inside, otherwise water might not get through to the second layer of coils.
Taking off the lid of the AC condenser unit isn’t difficult; there are maybe ten screws to remove.
Once the screws have been removed, the lid will lift right off. You’ll want to prop up the lid somehow so that it stays open while you hose down the coils. Take care when doing this as sometimes there’s not a lot of slack in the wires that come through the lid and attach to the condenser fan.
With the lid of the AC unit removed, you can see that there’s a fair amount of debris in the bottom.
One of the advantages of removing the lid is that you can get all that junk out of there.
How To Clean Your Air-Conditioning Condenser: Rinsing off the Coil Cleaner
To rinse the coil cleaner off my air-conditioning condenser, I’ll take my hose and work from the top down. A garden hose with normal water pressure is all you need for this. You don’t want to use a power washer as it could bend the fins on the exterior of the unit.
Working from the inside like this, you do get the coils much cleaner than if you were to rinse the unit down from the exterior.
Regardless of how you rinse off the coil cleaner, this easy DIY maintenance project will get rid of any buildup on the fins that could impede airflow into the AC unit, and that’s the important thing.
How To Clean Your Air-Conditioning Condenser: Finishing Up
To finish up this DIY project of cleaning your air-conditioning condenser, look around to make sure that nothing is leaning up against the AC unit or any debris piled up that could restrict the flow of air.
Lastly, remember to reconnect power to the unit.
That’s it! Now you have the information to confidently handle this bit of yearly maintenance on your air-conditioning condenser yourself.
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