How to Clean Your Air Conditioner Condenser

If you’ve ever thought you could handle cleaning your outside air conditioner condenser on your own, you might be right. The condition of the outside condenser coil has a big impact on the efficiency of your unit, so it’s important to do this job well. You’re welcome to call us at Efficient Home Solutions if you’d prefer to have an expert handle it for you – we’re glad to help! We’re also happy to give the do-it-yourself types out there the steps.

Getting Ready


Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials before you get started. This might include a ratchet set, flathead screwdriver. The first step is VERY important: turn everything off! Your thermostat and especially the breaker and/or outside disconnect need to be off, to make sure there’s no power going to the system while you clean it. Check that the system is level, and you’re ready to begin.

Cleaning the Coil


Start by carefully removing the housing that holds the condensing fan motor, using the surrounding screws. Once you take it out, you’ll often notice quite a few leaves inside the housing. This is a good reminder to keep trees and shrubs away from the unit as much as possible. Once any leaves are removed, the best way to clean the inside is with a standard hose. Never use a power washer, and never use any more pressure than what you would get from putting your thumb on the end of an open hose.

Spray the coil from the inside out, starting from the top and working your way down. This will push any dirt out and allow air to easily flow through the coil, as well as removing the heat your refrigerant picked up inside your home. The condenser’s job is to take heat from inside your house and push it to the outside; if the coils are dirty from dust, pollen, and more, air can’t flow through them and remove the heat. That means the refrigerant returns to the home warmer than it should be.

Some companies recommend a chemical clean. It will clean the coils more effectively than the hose, but the downside is that it’s highly corrosive and can damage coils if left on too long. Once you finish cleaning, wait about ten minutes to replace the fan and housing. The unit needs to be completely dry before you turn the power back on. Carefully replace the motor, housing, and screws, and make sure you rinse it off three to five times.

Note for Rheem and Ruud Condenser Owners


If you have a Rheem or Ruud condenser, you’ll have an additional step. There’s a panel on the right side of the unit that needs to be removed in order to clean an external part of the coil. It represents about 25% of the heat removal process, so for these brands, it’s vital to clean that area as well.

The Expert Option


Maintenance of your HVAC system is important and needs to be done carefully and correctly. If you decide you’d rather turn it over to our experienced team, Efficient Home Solutions is ready to help. Contact us for cleaning your coils or any of our other services, and we’ll take great care of you and your home. Ask us questions about anything!

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