It’s obvious to take care of the indoor components of your home’s HVAC unit. You change your air filters; are mindful of how hard you make the unit work to cool your home. But do you put as much thought into the cleanliness and quality of the outdoor components of your unit? This metal “box” outside your home is called an AC condenser unit and it contains a compressor, cooling fins, tubes, and a fan. Each piece plays a vital role in cooling your home, and since the unit is exposed to the elements 24/7, it can easily become dirty or damaged, limiting the function of the entire system.

Here’s some ways you can care for your outdoor AC condenser unit and make sure it’s running at full capacity.

  1. Clear the area around the unit, removing all plants and weeds that could grow on it. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep a 2-foot clearance surrounding the unit. Not only does this keep plants from interfering with the unit, but it also allows air to flow freely
  2. Give the unit a thorough spray down with a water hose. Dirt, leaves, and other debris can get trapped inside, hindering the unit’s function.
  3. Check your gutters, especially those above the unit, and keep them well maintained to prevent water from leaking onto the outdoor air conditioning unit.
  4. Trim any nearby trees and remove dead branches that could fall on your outside unit during heavy wind or rain.
  5. The wavy metal strips running vertically around the unit are called fins. These are fragile and can get bent or crushed easily. A simple way to fix damaged fins is to insert a dinner knife and use gentle pressure to realign them.
  6. Use a soft-bristle brush attachment to vacuum the fins. Again, since these fins are fragile, you must do this gently.
  7. Replace damage or rotted insulation around your outdoor AC lines. This could improve your unit’s efficiency!

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