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How to Clean Outside AC Unit

How to Clean Outside AC Unit

Cleaning your outdoor air conditioning unit will help your heating and cooling system function more efficiently and last longer. Many homeowners, desire to learn how to clean an outside air conditioning unit not just to improve performance but also to save money. If you prefer to handle things yourself rather than employ a professional, we have a few pointers for you.

How Frequently Should You Clean the Outside Unit of Your Air Conditioning System?

Most homeowners only need to do this twice a year: once before the summer season begins and you’ll be cooling your home, and again before the winter season begins and you’ll be heating your home.

The following are the tools you’ll need in most cases:

• Vacuum cleaner for stores

• Screwdriver

• Rags

• Filter to be replaced

• Soft-bristled brush or a pipe cleaner

• Coat of fins


Remove any leaves, branches, sticks, or other debris that may be around or on your outdoor air conditioning unit in addition to cleaning it. It’s also vital to remember that plants and shrubs should be kept a safe distance away from the unit in order to improve air flow and efficiency. Make sure the space around your unit, as well as the unit itself, is clear and clean, from pine needles and leaves to gum balls, pine cones, tall weeds, and other plants/objects.

Check to see if your air conditioner is level. Cleaning an outside air conditioning unit isn’t difficult, but the time and work you put in will be well worth it in terms of improved energy efficiency and comfort for your family, whether it’s summer or winter.

Step 1: Disconnect Power

Most central air conditioners have a shutdown box next to the unit. You may need to remove the shutoff box, remove a fuse, or flip a switch to turn off the power to your unit, depending on the manufacturer and type. Turn off the electricity from the circuit breaker panel that controls your heating and cooling equipment if your unit does not have a shutoff box.

Step 2: Trim Plant Growth

Trim any grass, weeds, bushes, or other foliage. To prevent them from going inside, keep them a minimum of two feet away.

Step 3: Detach Outer Case

To remove the outer shell or access panel, you’ll need either a nut driver or a screwdriver, depending on the type of unit.

Step 4: Remove the Top of the AC

In order to remove the top of the air conditioner, you may need to raise the fan assembly off your unit. If this is the case, take careful not to stretch the fan wires and cause damage.

Step 5: Clean & Lubricate Fan Assembly

Remove any dirt and debris from the fan motor and shaft using a rag, brush, or shop vacuum. Apply a small drop of oil to each lubrication port in your motor at this time as well. Skip this step if your unit lacks lubricating ports.

Step 6: Brush Away Dirt

Brush the dirt away from the coils with a brush or a broom.

Step 7: Spray Clean Coils

More serious grime may necessitate the use of a biodegradable foaming cleaner, which may be sprayed away with merely water. Before you spray, make sure all cables and motors are covered in plastic. Spray the coils from the outside and soak for 15 minutes, then repeat as needed. Until the runoff is clear, rinse away any residual cleanser from the coils. Your unit will be damaged if you power wash your coils.

Step 8: Inspect for Damage

If any coil fins are bent, a special “fin comb” that can be purchased at any air conditioning supply store can be used to straighten them out.

Step 9: Reassemble

Make certain you replace all of the screws. You can now put the power back on and enjoy your wonderful, clean device once more.

• One important note: Before you start cleaning, make sure the power to your exterior unit is off.

• A wet/dry vacuum with a soft-bristled attachment can collect any dust, grime, or other small debris from your unit and within the fins if you couldn’t get it out with your hands.

• Find and remove the AC filter, cleaning it with a vigorous outdoor hose if necessary. Cleaning fan blades with a moist rag is usually all that is required. Vacuum or wipe away any dirt that has accumulated in the fan vents.

Can you spray water on outside AC unit?

If you remove enough dust, grime, and debris from your air conditioner, spraying it with water will help it function more efficiently and avoid overheating. It will not harm your air conditioning system in any way. Spraying the condenser coils, in particular, a few times a year is a good idea.

How often should your outside air conditioning unit be cleaned?

When Should the Outside Unit of an Air Conditioning System Be Cleaned? Most homeowners only need to do this twice a year: once before the summer season begins and you’ll be cooling your home, and again before the winter season begins and you’ll be heating your home.

Is AC outdoor unit waterproof?

The outdoor element of an A/C system is designed to endure rain, and it will not be harmed even if it rains heavily. Yes, even during heavy rain, you may use these systems. Rain will not damage your systems if you keep them in good working order.

Are you supposed to cover outside air conditioner?

Because outdoor cooling units are designed to withstand the harsh winter weather, they do not require a cover. Moisture can cause the condenser coils in your air conditioner to freeze, resulting in damage over time. However, it is impossible to keep moisture out of a building 100 percent of the time.

Should AC be covered in rain?

It is almost never a good idea to cover the condenser unit. Rain, like the cooler weather of a Florida winter, is harmless to the condenser as long as the moisture can evaporate freely.