Clean The Condenser Coil
The condenser coil is the unit that sits outside of your house, and is responsible for grabbing the heat generated inside the A/C system and pushing it outdoors. Basically, the condenser helps reduce the amount of work the evaporator coils need to do to cool down your home. But when your condenser coils get all gunked up, they don’t work as efficiently, which makes the rest of the system work harder. Ultimately, dirty condenser coils can shorten the working life of your A/C system as a whole if it’s left un-cleaned. Fortunately, the condenser coils are made to handle some level of grime because they live outside. Unfortunately, they live outside, so they’ll collect all sorts of airborne stuff over time.
Remove Debris — Make it a habit to check that there aren’t any weeds growing around the unit that could inhibit airflow. If you notice some buildup happening, turn the A/C system off and use a stiff brush or the brush attachment on a vacuum to gently — very gently — remove debris. Take care to avoid bending them, as that can inhibit airflow.
Clean the Fins — Grab your garden hose and wash out the fins. Again, proceed carefully and only use a gentle stream of water. When spraying out the fins, make sure you always spray from the inside out so that gunk doesn’t get sprayed into your system. If the grime is stubborn, you can also use a commercial cleaning spray made for this purpose, which you can find at your local hardware store.
Straighten the Fins — Once the fins are clean and clear, use a butter knife or fin-straightening tool to go through and carefully straighten/re-align any bent fins. Since you’re still working with the fins, you’ll want to keep working carefully. Make sure you don’t snag or damage any of the tubing embedded within the fins.
Cover It — During the off-season, it’s a good idea to get a cover to protect your unit from snow, fall leaves, and other natural elements that could gunk up your condenser. Just be sure you only cover the unit when it’s off, and remove the cover before you turn on your A/C system in the spring.