DIY: How To Clean Your AC Unit Condenser

If you've neglected to get your A/C unit checked out at least once a year, chances are it's not running and cooling nearly as efficiently as it should be. Over time, dirt and debris accumulates and clogs the cooling fins. Luckily, this is one of the few things you can take care of on your own within a couple of hours if you prefer to do so. You don't need any special tools or skills. If you still have the owner's manual, that may come in handy in order to be familiarized with the specific unit model that you own.

Before you begin, make sure to do this on a day when it's at least 60 degrees so that you may test your air conditioner to make sure it's working.

1. Turn Off The PowerTurn off the electrical power to the condenser from the outdoor shutoff switch. This would normally be located near the unit on the outside of your house. If you are unsure, turn off the power to the ac from the main breaker panel.

2. VacuumWith a soft brush attachment, vacuum debris, leaves, and grass clippings from the exterior condenser fins (the fine metallic blades that surround the unit). Clear away all obstructions or overgrowing plants within 2 feet of the condenser.

3. Straighten The FinsUsing a blunt kitchen knife, gently straighten bent or crushed fins. Make sure not to insert the knife more than half an inch.

4. Remove The FanUnscrew the top of the AC unit. Carefully lift out the fan without stressing the electrical wires and set aside. Pull out any leaves or debris and wipe down the interior with a damp cloth.

5. Clean The FinsWith the fan still set aside and the top of the condenser still open, spray the fins with medium water pressure from the inside out. Once finished, you may reinstall the fan and screw the top back on.

Now all you have to do is confirm your AC is working properly, and you're done!