Keeping Your HVAC Condenser Clean this Fall

Fall is near, which means more leaves and debris collecting around your yard, home and, most concerningly – your outdoor HVAC system. Your HVAC system relies on proper airflow to regulate the temperature and climate in your home. If your HVAC condenser is blocked by outdoor debris, it can impact the system’s performance.

One way to improve the performance of your home’s HVAC system is by simply cleaning and maintaining the condenser. Cleaning your HVAC condenser and keeping it free of obstructions is crucial for providing it with adequate airflow. We recommend performing routine maintenance and cleaning at least twice a year for your HVAC system.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Condenser

Cleaning your HVAC condenser is not difficult, 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 condenser, 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 the area. Clean out any loose debris covering the condenser 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 remarkably 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?

An HVAC condenser is a critical component of 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 significantly affect your energy costs throughout the year and 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 unrestricted airflow.

  • 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 is one of the most common causes of clogs.
  • Vegetation — If you have plants, trees or shrubs growing nearby, they can easily cause problems for your unit. Not only do they produce leaves, sticks and stems that can block airflow, but they can also grow into the condenser. 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 help 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 an elegant 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 can help 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. Our skilled HVAC 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!

Schedule an HVAC Cleaning Today.

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