Did you know that in the US, there were 68 million tons of pollution emitted into the air in 2020 alone? Those emissions are largely behind particle and ozone pollution.
As you can imagine, many of those pollutants can settle in and on your outdoor AC condenser unit. The dirtier this part of your AC gets, the less comfortable your indoor climate can be.
For that reason, it’s best to know when to clean an AC condenser unit. Read on to know the signs telling you now’s the time to do so.
1. No Cold Air
One of the primary roles of AC condenser units is to change the structure of refrigerants. They do so with their compressor, a pump that pressurizes and heats the refrigerant. It’s the compressor that changes the refrigerant to liquid or gas and lets it flow through the entire AC.
The refrigerant, in turn, is the chemical that sucks in heat from indoor air. It keeps the evaporator coil, a part of your indoor AC unit, cold.
Because of the compressor’s functions, plus the fact that it sits outside, it can overheat. This is a huge problem during heat waves, which now occur more than six times a year in many places in the US. Dirt and debris build-up affecting the AC condenser heightens the risk of overheating.
If overheating occurs, the compressor’s high-pressure limit switch may trip. This switch protects the pump from overheating damage. However, it also turns the compressor off, stopping its functions.
When the compressor stops, the refrigerant won’t make it to your indoor AC unit. You won’t get any cool air from the air conditioner at all. So, if your indoor AC unit runs but doesn’t produce cold air, it’s time to clean your outdoor unit.
Fortunately, cleaning an AC condenser unit only requires a mallet, ratchets, and screwdrivers. For the steps on how to clean an AC condenser unit, you can check out and follow this guide.
2. It Takes a Long Time To Cool Your Home
One of the refrigerator changes that occur in the condenser unit is that it turns from a gas into a liquid. This happens in the condenser coil, which connects to the indoor AC unit’s evaporator coil. The condenser coil is hot, which is why it has a condenser fan to cool it off.
The condenser coil can also overheat due to the weather and dirt build-up. However, the hot coil sits right next to the outdoor unit’s metal enclosure. As such, it’s more prone to residue accumulation than the compressor, which is in the middle.
An overheating condenser coil can lead to an overheated refrigerant, too. As a result, it may take longer for the chemical to cool down and make your indoor air cold.
Check your outdoor AC unit for any obstruction and give it a deep clean if it’s become too filthy.
3. Warm Air Comes Out of the Indoor AC Unit
The condenser fan also expels warm air out of the outdoor unit. This fan is right above the coil, so it’s also more susceptible to environmental factors. It can develop layers of dirt, grime, and grease, which can impair its performance.
If that happens, it may no longer be able to blow as much warm air out of the unit as it should. Dirt and vegetation can also clog up the condenser unit’s casing. This further inhibits airflow out of the outdoor AC unit.
From there, hot air can build up inside the condenser unit. Without any place to go, the air can flow back into the indoor unit and your home. So, you may feel as if your air conditioner blows out warm air.
If that happens, it’s time to give your condenser unit a deep-cleaning job.
Keep Your Home Cool By Cleaning the AC Condenser Unit
As you can see, any change to your air conditioner’s cooling can be a sign it’s time to clean the AC condenser unit. You don’t even have to wait for these symptoms; instead, give your outdoor AC unit some TLC at least once a month.
Ready for more smart homeowner tips and tricks? Check out our other categories for more guides like this!