How to Clean Dirty Condenser Coils in Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioner

A clean air conditioner is an efficient air conditioner. Cleaning your air conditioner regularly will make it last longer and help your house feel cool during the hottest days of summer. It’s a great idea to have your air conditioning system cleaned and inspected annually by the professionals at Novak Heating and Cooling to ensure it’s working properly and has enough refrigerant. However, if your appointment can’t come soon enough, here’s How To Clean Dirty Condenser Coils in your air conditioner to keep it running smoothly.

Forgot to schedule your annual air conditioning inspection this year? Never miss regular maintenance by signing up for Novak’s Worry-Free Maintenance plan. Our maintenance contracts provide you with priority scheduling and reduced rates on spring air conditioning cleanings and fall furnace cleanings. Call us today to learn more. 

How to Clean Dirty Condenser Coils

To clean your air conditioner condenser coils, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Hose with a sprayer attachment
  • Vacuum with a soft brush attachment
  • Air Conditioner condenser coil cleaner
  • Work clothes, gloves, and eye protection

1 – Turn Off the Air Conditioner and Thermostat

First, turn off your air conditioner at the thermostat. Once you’re outside, find the electrical disconnect near your condenser unit and either turn it to the “off” position or unplug it. 

2 – Inspect and Clear the Unit

Make sure there are no visible signs of damage to the unit. If there are, call Novak Heating and Cooling right away. Remove any grass, sticks, or debris around the unit.

3 – Use a Knife to Straighten Fins

Use a butter knife or a cooling fin comb to straighten any bent fins. Don’t insert a knife more than half an inch. 

4 – Remove the Top of the Air Conditioner

You may need a screwdriver to remove the fan and the top of the air conditioner. Be careful of the electrical wires. Carefully set the top of the air conditioner aside. 

5 – Clean Inside the Air Conditioner

Use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean the outside and inside of the air conditioner. Be careful not to bend any fins. You can also use a damp cloth to clean other surfaces of the unit. 

6 – Spray Air Conditioner Unit with a Hose

Grab your hose with a sprayer attachment and spray the fins from the inside and outside. Once you’ve rinsed out the air conditioner, spray the air conditioner with a coil cleaner. You will need to find a specific coil cleaner that is compatible with your air conditioner. Consult your owner’s manual or search your air conditioner’s manufacturer website for recommendations.  Let the cleaner sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off again with the hose. Avoid spraying the fan motor. 

7 – Check Refrigerant Pressure

Check your refrigerant levels before and after cleaning your air conditioner. In many cases, the pressure will be higher than it’s supposed to be for a given size and type of air conditioner before you start cleaning. After the cleaning, the pressure should be lower and more in line with factory specs. This means the cleaning was effective and the air conditioner will run more efficiently. 

8 – Reassemble the Air Conditioner 

Reattach the top of the air conditioner, and plug it back in. 

9 – Replace the Air Filter

Although this isn’t inside your outdoor unit, it’s always a great idea to replace your air filter every 90 days to ensure proper airflow to your air conditioner.

Turn the power on, and if your air conditioner starts running again without making strange noises, then you cleaned your condenser coils properly!

Call Novak Heating and Cooling to Clean Dirty AC Condenser Coils

If you’re uncomfortable with any of these cleaning steps, then don’t attempt to clean your condenser coils yourself. Call the professional air conditioning technicians at Novak Heating and Cooling to ensure a proper cleaning every season.