HVAC Maintenance: How to Care for Your Outdoor Air Conditioner Unit

A white middle aged man wearing blue jeans and a black and orange collared shirt is bending down on his knee to inspect an outdoor air conditioning unit

Did you know that taking care of your outside AC unit is just as important as the one inside of your home? Performing regularly scheduled HVAC maintenance is vital for keeping your HVAC system running properly throughout the year, especially here in South Carolina where we use our air conditioners more often than households in colder climates.

But what exactly can you do to help keep your AC outdoor unit functioning to the best of its ability? It may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry - All Green is here to save the day.

Taking Care of Your Outside AC Unit

We know what you’re thinking - doesn’t All Green Heating & Air offers air conditioning service? The answer to that is a resounding YES! But we want to offer you some tips to help you save money and keep your home comfortable. Follow these steps to clean and maintain the health of your outdoor air conditioner:

  • Step 1: Turn Off the Power: The first step to cleaning your outside AC unit is to turn off the power to the unit. This ensures that you will stay safe from electrical shock when you’re working around the AC outdoor unit’s parts. Each outdoor unit should have an electric shut-off box, but it’s also highly encouraged to flip the breaker to the “off” position.
  • Step 2: Remove Debris from the Unit: The next step in your outdoor HVAC maintenance is to remove the cage that houses the fan. This is pretty simple and only requires a screwdriver or wrench. Once you have the cage unfastened, life the fan grill up and away from the unit. Then, remove any debris, such as leaves and twigs, from the unit by hand (or with a wet/dry vacuum if you have one on hand).
  • Step 3: Spray the Unit: Once you have all debris removed from the unit, it’s time to clean off the dirt. Use a garden hose with a gentle stream to spray from the inside of the unit outwards to remove any dirt that is stuck in the fins of the unit. There are also fin cleaning sprays available on the market to help remove dirt that is hard to remove with a hose. It’s important to note that you should not use a pressure washer for this step as it could damage the unit.

If any of the fit on your outside AC unit get bent during this process, be sure to carefully straighten them out with a special fin-straightening tool or something flat such as a butter knife.

  • Step 4: Reassemble and Clean Around AC Unit: After cleaning the fins, you can carefully replace the fan cage on top of the outside AC unit. Then, be sure to clean around the unit itself by sweeping away any dirt, leaves, and other debris. You may also want to cut back any plants or bushes that are near the unit so that they don’t disturb the airflow.

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