Three Little Maintenance Tasks For Your Outdoor AC Compressor

Posted on: 10 May 2016

Your outdoor compressor unit is a vital component of your air conditioning system. But since it's exposed to the elements and undergoes a lot of wear and tear, it needs a little maintenance to keep it running smoothly and improve its lifespan. Here are three maintenance tasks you should perform on your outdoor compressor unit at least once a year.

Cleaning the Fins

The fins are those thin strips of metal that are arranged vertically on the outside of your condenser unit. They're in the perfect position to get dirty and clogged with debris. When this happens, the air flow through your condenser is reduced, which can lead to a whole array of problems from reduced efficiency to the unit freezing over.

To clean the fins, start by turning power off to the unit. Take a can of commercial fin-cleaning spray (sold at most hardware stores) and spray it evenly onto the fins. Let it sit for the period of time recommended on the label. Then, spray the unit down with a hose. The grime should come away easily. If any traces of grime or debris remain, you can remove them with an old toothbrush.

Straightening the Fins

It's not unusual for the fins to get bent out of shape. Straightening them again will restore the efficiency of your AC system. The easiest way to do this is with a fin comb, which is a little device that looks like a hair comb with a long handle. Just insert the cone tines between the fins near the top of the condenser, and pull it down slowly. You'll have to apply a little pressure each time you encounter an area where the fins are bent. Repeat this until you've combed down all of the fins.

If you do not have a fin comb, you can use a butter knife to straighten any fins that look to be out of place. Simply place the end of the knife on the crooked fin, and apply pressure until the fin appears straight again.

Leveling the Unit

An AC compressor that's not sitting level suffers extra motor strain, which can cause it to fail early. Soil can settle over time, so just because your unit was level when it was installed does not mean it's level now. Place a level on top of your unit. (Or use a smartphone level app). If the unit is out of level, place shims under the side of the pad that's sitting lower until it is sitting even.

If these maintenance tasks sound to difficult or time consuming, don't hesitate to hire an AC repair service to complete them for you. Click here for air conditioning maintenance services or do an online search. 


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After we purchased our very first home, I realized that I was really struggling with paying for the heating and cooling costs. We were spending much, much more money every month than we thought we were going to, and it was really difficult to figure out what we should do. We thought long and hard about how to minimize our expenses, but we didn't really get anywhere until we talked with an HVAC contractor. He mentioned specific, actionable ways to lower our bill, such as programming our thermostat and using more of our ceiling fans. This blog is all about lowering your bill.

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