Many people put off cleaning their condensing unit believing that it is a difficult and messy job. Nothing could be further from the truth. It isn’t hard to do and will rarely take you more than two hours to complete. It took me just one hour to clean mine. Most of the time, I was sitting around letting the cleansing solution soak on the fins to loosen the grime. I decided to clean mine even though it didn’t look very dirty.
Protect yourself from electrical shock. Before you begin to clean your coils, look for the disconnect switch. It is usually close to the unit on a nearby wall. If there is not a disconnect switch, you are not in compliance with code and will need to add one at a future date. To ensure that no electricity is flowing into the unit, check it with a multimeter. The thermostat lever should be moved to the off position.
List Of Required Tools
There are no specialty tools required to clean your condensing unit. You will need the following according to the trusted provider of condensing unit Baton Rouge:
* A vaccum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.
To prevent problems due to moisture, use a Wet-Vac if you have one. * Work gloves to reduce the risk of injury to your hands.
* Water hose equipped with nozzle.
* Screwdriver or wrench for removal of the covering over the fan and condensing unit.
* Face mask to protect against dust particles.
* Household cleaning solution that won’t damage the aluminum coils and fins.
* Cleaning clothes.
Steps To Clean Condensing Unit
* Caution. Be sure to read the entire article before you begin.
* Clear a two foot area surrounding the unit of plants and bushes. For efficient operation, it is important that air flow be unobstructed.
* Take pictures of the condensing unit including shots from the sides and top. You’ll be able to see the difference in how the unit looked before and after cleaning with this record.
* Using gentle strokes, brush loose dirt and debris away from the fins with a whisk broom or hairbrush. Start at the top brushing the dirt onto fins that have not yet been cleaned. If you start by using the soft brush on the vacuum cleaner, you will simple remove the dirt instead of brushing it onto fins that at a lower point. It is important to move the brush in the same direction that the fins move. This motion reduces the possibility of fin deformation or other damage caused by movement that is too aggressive.
* To gain access to the inside of the unit, remove the top by unscrewing the screws that secure it. Be careful when you pull the top off since the fan and motor are often attached and you don’t want to yank out any wiring. Set the top aside so you can gain better access to the interior of the unit for more cleaning. NOTE: The coil is held in place by the top. Once the top has been removed, you may note that the coils lean out of position. Don’t push or pull on the coils during the cleaning process.
* Look at the condition of the interior once the top is off. Is the tubing insulation deteriorating? Is wiring discolored? You can replace the insulation yourself, but call in a professional for any thing else.
* Once you are inside of the unit, inspect the coils again. Look for more dirt build up, and remove it with the whisk broom or hairbrush as described above.
* Remove any debris or dirt that is inside of the condensing unit. You can use either your hands or a vacuum cleaner for this step. You will be amazed at what you’ll discover inside.
* Using a spray bottle, spray a film of cleaning solution over the fins. Let the solution sit for 10 or 15 minutes so it can do most of the work for you. However, the solution should not be allowed to completely dry onto the fins.
^ Using a garden hose, flush the remaining dirt from the fins by spraying the coil from the inside towards the outside. To prevent damage or bending in the fins, don’t use too much water power. Reduce the flow from full to a strong misting stream. Experiment with the pressure before you insert the water flow into the condensing units. You should see a healthy flow. Even though the electrical components are designed to work in the rain, try to keep them dry during this phase.
* Look at the fins and straighten out at bends that you find. Bend the fins one at a time using a knife with a dull blade. Butter knives work well for this. If you try to bend multiple blades at a time, you risk breaking them. A tool called a fin comb is used by the pros.
^ Replace the unit’s top. It is important to be gentle during this step. If you just shove the top back on, you risk bending the coils. Ask someone for assistance. It is better to go slowly than risk damage by going too fast. Tighten the screws after you have all of them in place and started. Don’t over-tighten and strip the screws, but make sure that they are snug. The key is to be firm and use finesse during this step.
* Reconnect the power, turn the unit on, and make sure that it is working properly. Once you have everything put back together, you’ll want to listen for noises or vibrations that weren’t present before you took the unit apart. If you do hear a problem, shut the unit down again quickly.
^ Once the job is done, give yourself some congratulations. You now have bragging rights and can help someone else learn how to clean their own heat pump or condensing unit.
I document most everything and recommend that you do it too. Copy the information from the condensing unit name plate while you are letting the cleansing solution soak. Look for electrical data, testing pressures, the serial number, the unit model, and the manufacturer. Check out the interior to locate the type of compressor in the unit and other information. Take pictures of the name plate data if you don’t want to write it down. You can include overall pictures include before and after photos. Add a folder to your computer titled Condenser Unit and put this information there. I keep folders on my computer for all of the appliances in my home. When you need the information, you will be happy that you took the time.
What Happens After Your Condensing Unit Is Cleaned
In many cases, the system operation improves dramatically after the condensing unit coils are cleaned. People experiences lower levels of humidity inside of their homes, shorter run times, and colder air coming out of their registers. When units are in bad shape, cleaning it doesn’t make much sense since there will be few noticeable improvements in operation. I can help you understand what your replacement options are if your unit is no longer worth fixing.