How to Clean Your Air Conditioning’s Condenser Coils

In order to run efficiently, air conditioners need to be kept well maintained. This includes ensuring that the coils are clean, allowing the system to run smoothly and use energy efficiently.

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Cleaning coils should be carried out in the spring time so that the system is ready for when you really need it as the weather turns warmer. Air conditioning can frequently be a cause of dispute in offices, and this is made worse if it isn’t working at its most efficient.

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Air-Con Basics

Air conditioning works by absorbing heat from the air into the refrigerant via an evaporator. This is then taken outside to the condenser in order to disperse that heat to the atmosphere. The condenser is rather like the radiator on your car: it has a coil of tubes through which the refrigerant flows, and fins across these to help the heat dissipate.

It’s important to keep the condenser free from obstructions. Trim any trees or bushes so that air is free to circulate around the unit. This also helps stop the condenser coils from getting clogged with leaves and other debris.

Cleaning the Condenser

Before you start work on cleaning the system, you must turn off the power to it at the mains. Most units will have a fused spur to allow you to do this. With the power off remove the outer cover or grille from the condenser – you’ll probably need a screwdriver.

With the cover off, clean any obvious debris that has accumulated around the fins and coil. Take care not to cause any damage – use only a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner. If your unit is fitted with a cartridge filter, you can remove this. It may be that the filter can be cleaned, but usually it’s best to replace it with a new one, which you can get from suppliers such as at low cost.

If the coils are particularly dirty, you can use water to clean them, but do so using just a hose as a pressure washer could lead to damage. While you have the cover off, make sure that any drain channels that allow condensation and other moisture to escape are unblocked. Also check for any other damage or leaks that could lead to problems later.

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