How to Clean Heat Pump Condenser Coils
June 22, 2018
The whole year goes by and certain home improvements become out of sight, out of mind. That is until something goes wrong or needs repair!
Some projects just seem too complicated or costly to get done, especially if it has to do with your heating and cooling system. So, before you think about cleaning the outdoor condenser coils, refer the Use and Care section of your owner’s manual.
- Some HVAC models can only be cleaned by a certified professional.
- Never attempt to clean the indoor evaporator coils by yourself.
How Do Condenser Coils Work?
When your air conditioner is running, refrigerant absorbs heat from your indoor air via the evaporator coils. When the refrigerant absorbs enough heat, the hot gas is then pumped outdoors to the condenser unit where a fan dispenses the heat outdoors.
A fan helps generate airflow around your condenser coils to facilitate the transfer of heat. Unfortunately, when there is a lot dirt, debris, and other air blockages around the condenser coils, heat energy cannot properly be released.
So, what are you waiting for? Gather your supplies and head outside to clean your heat pump’s condenser coils.
Benefits of Clean Condenser Coils:
- Improved comfort and performance
- Lower energy bills
- Extended system lifespan
- Less repairs and maintenance
- Improved indoor air quality
- Work Gloves
- Work Clothes and Work Boots
- Condenser Coil Cleaner, such as Nu-Brite (optional)
- Condenser Coil Fin Comb (optional)
Steps for Cleaning AC Condenser Coils
- Turn off power. Most HVAC system have a disconnect box near the outdoor unit. If you cannot find the outdoor shutoff box, turn off power at the main service panel by flipping or removing the corresponding breaker or fuse.
- Trim any plant growth around the condenser unit. Make sure there is a minimum 2-foot clearance around the entire unit. Be careful not to plant anything too close to the unit. We recommend using xeriscaping (“dry” landscaping) techniques around your HVAC unit to keep leaves, grass clippings, and other plant debris from clogging up the unit.
- Remove any twigs, leaves, and large debris from around the unit with gloved hands.
- Use a soft brush to remove dirt and dust.
- Wash away trapped dirt and debris with a garden hose on the lowest pressure setting. Strong blasts of water can bend and damage the delicate aluminum fins.
- If you use a condenser coil cleaner, follow the directions carefully! Make sure you cover any electric wires or motors and rinse away the cleaner thoroughly. Any left-over cleaner could damage your unit.
- When you are done cleaning the unit of dirt and debris, inspect the coils for any damage. If you notice any bent fins, you can try to straighten them with a special “fin comb.” Or contact a local HVAC technician.
- If you removed any part of the heat pump, reassemble the air conditioner before turning it back on.
- Turn the air conditioner back on and you’re good to go!
While it’s a good idea to supplement professional HVAC cleanings and tune-ups with some condenser coil cleaning of your own, never think of it as a substitute for a professional tune-up.