85mmx dirty condensing units

What about the exterior condenser?

Your outdoor air conditioning condenser unit is an integral part of your HVAC system. It contains the compressor, a fan and a coil.

The smooth and dependable operation of your air conditioning system overall, depends in large part on how clean your condensing unit is.

When your air conditioning is on, the compressor runs, as well as the condensor fan. This moves the required amount of air across that coil.

Grass, weeds and shrubs can severely impede the air flow across the coil, to the point where your system can freeze up. And as with anything, if you want it to work efficiently, it must be clean.

Your outside air conditioning condenser needs attention just like the interior air duct system does. The maintenance required to keep this part of the system clean is very minimal considering the amount of work that it is required to do during Toronto’s long, hot summers.

The compressor and fan will very rarely require any maintenance from a homeowner. Those parts of the system are best left to a trained professional.

The outside coil, however, will need to be cleaned from time to time though, and this is the part that anyone can do themselves if they want to take the time to do it.

It is best to check the cleanliness of the coil at the start of the cooling season, or whenever you first turn on your air conditioning. The coil should also be visually inspected at a minimum of once per month during the cooling season as well, and especially so if you notice that your outside unit is starting to sound louder than it normally does when it is running.

If you have determined that your unit needs to be cleaned, this can be easily accomplished with your garden hose and a stiff brush.

First, make sure the power to the unit is off. Then use a strong spray from your garden hose and thoroughly wash the coil with water only. You can use the brush if needed, but be sure to brush any part of the coil in the same direction as the fins. You do not, under any circumstances, want to bend the fins at all, as this will restrict the air flow going across the coil.

If you forgot to turn the power off first and the unit comes on while you are cleaning it, you will get wet for sure!

Once you have the coil looking clean, that is it. It is not recommended that the homeowner remove the top part (condensing fan) in any case. If your unit requires further service at this point it is best to call in a professional.

Keeping your condensing coil clean will save you money because the system will not have to work nearly as hard to do its job.

Some quick tips for starting up your air conditioning at the beginning of the season include:

  • If you have a cover on your exterior unit, remove it first.
  • Visually inspect the condition of the outside coil and clean as necessary.
  • Check or replace your furnace air filter.
  • Check the drain tube that comes from the inside coil (normally above your furnace) for proper drainage.
  • Close the damper in the bypass tube of your furnace humidifier.

Once the system has been on for about half an hour, go back and check that water is draining out of the drain tube properly.

For best operation of the system in every home, you will need to adjust the air vents at the start of each heating and cooling season.

To set up your air vents for cooling, close the basement vents completely or block them off with vent magnets. On the main floor you want the vents, including dampers, to be half-way open. This setup will help to push more cool air upstairs, where you will need it most.

On the top floor, all vents should be fully open, unless you have an excess amount of air going to very small rooms such as washrooms or closets. And always make sure that return air vents are free and clear of obstacles or obstructions.

Making these small adjustments to your system as needed can have a huge impact on the proper efficiency of your HVAC system, and will do alot to add to your family’s overall comfort level inside your home.

Also remember, on hot days you should always block out direct sunlight, as this will add alot more load to your air conditioner.

If you ever have any questions about your furnace, air conditioner or duct system, no matter how small, feel free to call us and ask. We would be very glad to help!

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