Maintaining your condenser unit will improve the performance of your air conditioning system. Located outdoors, the condenser unit contains several essential components. Within this box-shaped unit is a fan, compressor and coil, all of which work harmoniously together to cool your home. Here’s a brief guide on how to maintain your condenser unit.
Check for Ice
You should regularly check your condenser unit for signs of ice. Ice indicates an underlying problem. Under normal circumstances, neither the condenser unit nor any other part of your air conditioning system should develop ice. If you notice ice on the condenser unit – or within the condenser unit itself – you’ll need to investigate the problem.
Maybe your air ducts are clogged, or perhaps your air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant. Problems such as restricted airflow and low refrigerant levels can manifest in the form of a frozen condenser unit.
Trim the Foliage
Condenser units are often exposed to foliage. After all, they are installed outdoors. If you have bushes, flowers, weeds or other foliage growing on your property, you should keep it away from your condenser unit. Allowing foliage such as this to encroach upon your condenser unit may result in poorer cooling performance. Your air conditioning system may struggle to keep your home cool due to the overgrown condenser unit.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends trimming back foliage at least 2 feet from the condenser unit. That will provide your condenser unit with enough “breathing room” to effectively release heat.
Get a Professional Inspection
When was the last time your condenser unit was professionally inspected? If it’s been longer than a year, you should schedule an appointment with a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) technician.
You won’t be able to access the components inside of the condenser unit unless you open it. Unless you’re familiar with HVAC systems and how they work, though, you shouldn’t attempt to open it yourself. Instead, you should hire an HVAC technician.
An HVAC technician can open your condenser unit to inspect the enclosed components. During the inspection, the HVAC technician may check to make sure the fins on the coil are straight. If any of the fins are bent, the HVAC technician may straighten them using a special tool known as a fin comb. The HVAC technician may also check the compressor and fan during the inspection to ensure they are working as intended.