Cleaning Your AC Condenser Coil

Learn about HVAC & Home Performance in Houston.

Gray condenser unit

What is an AC Condenser Coil?

Condenser coils are located outside of your home in the condensing unit. The condenser coil and condensing fan serve the same purpose as the radiator in your car.  The condensing coil takes the heat from your home that is absorbed by your evaporator coil and releases it outside.

Why does it need to be cleaned?

Over time dirt, debris, and pollen get sucked into your outdoor condensing unit and coat your condensing coil.  This makes it more difficult for the condensing coil to release the heat being removed from your home and puts added an added strain on your HVAC system.  A dirty condenser coil can lower cooling capacity by as much as 40%.  This is why your condenser coils should be cleaned once every year, especially in the Houston area, as part of an annual air conditioning maintenance plan.

How is the Condenser Coil Cleaned?

In order to clean your air conditioner condenser coil you will need a soft brush, fin comb (available at appliance repair stores), coil cleaning solution (available at refrigeration supply houses), level, and a pry bar.

  1. The first step is to pull away any shrubs, vines, dirt or debris that may be blocking air flow to and from the condensing unit.
  2. Apply the coil cleaning solution and follow the directions on the bottle.  Different solutions may require different procedures.
  3. Use your soft brush to clean the fins.  Note: the fins are made of light aluminum and can be somewhat fragile.
  4. If any fins are bent, use the fin comb to straighten them out.
  5. Use the level to determine if the condenser is level.  If the unit is not level, you will need to find a way to safely raise it until it is level.
  6. Compacted, deep, or heavy dirt and dust build up will require a professional HVAC to flush the blockages from the inside of the unit.

Properly cleaning a condenser coil can be a tedious and dirty task but it offers strong benefits including energy savings, improved home comfort, a reduced chance of costly ac repairs, and a longer system life.  While it is possible to clean your own condenser coils in some cases, because of the time and specialized tools required to complete the work correctly we suggest using an HVAC professional.
For AC maintenance in the Houston-area, contact House Pro. We proudly serve  Bellaire, the HeightsWest UniversityRichmondPearlandKaty & Sugar Land.