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Keeping Your Condenser Clean in Fall

a rake with leaves in yard on a sunny day

Fall is near and that means more leaves and debris could be building up around your outdoor HVAC unit. Your HVAC system relies on proper air flow to regulate the temperature and climate in your home. One way to improve the performance of your home’s HVAC system is by simply cleaning and maintaining the condenser. Keeping your condenser clean and free of obstructions is crucial for providing your HVAC system with adequate air flow. We recommend having routine maintenance and cleaning performed at least twice a year for your HVAC system.

How Do You Clean the Condenser?

Cleaning the condenser is not a difficult task but it should be done with care. Here are some tips for maintaining a clean condenser on your HVAC unit.

  1. Turn Off the Power – Before you start cleaning the condenser make sure the power is turned off to the outdoor HVAC unit. This can be done at the main breaker panel or at a disconnect switch on the outdoor unit. Attempting to clean the condenser while the HVAC unit is on could risk damage to the unit or injury to yourself.
  2. Clear Leaves and Debris – Sweep away any leaves that have fallen or collected against the unit. If you notice any grass or weeds growing around the unit, pull them up by hand or spray them with a weed killer. Do not attempt to use a weed trimmer as you may damage the fins inside the unit.
  3. Vacuum – Clean out any loose debris that may be covering the condenser by using a shop vacuum and crevice tool. You may also use a brush attachment for this as well.
  4. Call a Professional – Condenser coils are extremely delicate and can be damaged with very little force. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, don’t hesitate to give Bradley Mechanical a call. We will gladly assist you with any maintenance, cleaning or repair.

What Is a Condenser and Why Is It Important to Clean?

A condenser is a critical component to your heating and air conditioning system. It is responsible for transferring heat from the interior of your home to the outside air. When outside debris builds up, the condenser can’t efficiently perform causing your HVAC unit to run longer. This can have a great effect on your energy costs throughout the year and also force your system to work harder. When your HVAC system works harder, parts can wear out quicker and the lifespan of your system can be reduced.

Types of Debris That Can Affect Your Condenser

There are many types of outdoor debris that can obstruct the condenser and reduce the efficiency of your HVAC unit. Being mindful of these can help save you time and reduce the effort needed to maintain free air flow.

  • Grass clippings — Whenever mowing your yard, be sure to aim the grass clippings away from the HVAC unit. Blowing grass clippings into the outdoor HVAC unit I sone of the most common causes for clogs.
  • Vegetation — If you have plants, trees or shrubs growing nearby, they can definitely cause problems for your unit. Not only do they produce leaves, sticks and stems that can block air flow but they can also grow into the unit. Be sure to have at least two feet between your HVAC unit and any plants. You may even want to consider installing a small fence around your unit with slats that still allow free flow of air.

Ways to Prevent Debris Buildup

  • Covers — Screen-like filters made of polyester mesh can be wrapped around the exterior of your HVAC unit. These covers can keep leaves and other debris out while allowing the system to continue running. It can also prevent vegetation from growing into the unit.
  • Fencing — Adding wooden, metal or vinyl fencing around your outdoor HVAC unit can help reduce debris buildup and also provide a great camouflage to improve your home’s appearance. Be sure when choosing your fencing to select a design with slats spaced enough to allow air to flow freely to your unit.
  • Spot checking — Keeping an eye on your unit and brushing off debris often can keep you ahead of any buildup.

If you have questions about cleaning your condenser or think your HVAC system is in need of maintenance or repair, give Bradley Mechanical a call today at (804) 748-6728. Our skilled technicians will provide you with answers and can help keep your HVAC system running at peak performance. Don’t wait until it is too late to have your HVAC system checked and serviced for fall and winter.