Many homeowners feel more comfortable leaving cleaning and maintenance of their AC unit to an experienced professional, but if you’re the DIY type, you can tackle some cleaning tasks each year. Although there are some steps you’ll need to take, this task doesn’t tend to require special tools and only takes a couple of hours to help your AC unit perform efficiently during the cooling season.

Cleaning the Condenser

The condenser is perhaps the most vulnerable component of your air conditioning system as it is installed outside. It’s location mean that the condenser can become caked with leaves, dirt and other garden debris. This restricts the airflow and compromises cooling ability. Fortunately, there are some steps to ensure that your condenser does not have a blocked airflow.

Turn off the power: You should use the exterior shut off or disconnect and as additional protection, shut off the power at the electrical panel inside your home.

Vacuum: Use a wet/dry vacuum fitted with a soft bristle attachment to suck up any grass clippings, leaves, dirt or other debris that may have accumulated around the fins.

Clear the Condenser Unit: You need clear any vegetation or debris from around the condenser unit itself. Ideally, there should be at least two feet of space around all sides of the condenser unit, so this may be the time to trim back shrubs and other plants that may be encroaching on this area.

Clean the Interior: Remove the grille and carefully lift out the fan. Keep this in a safe place and be careful not to disturb the electrical wires. Wipe the interior clean and ensure that there is no debris remaining.

Reinstall & Test: Reinstall the fan and switch the electricity back on. You’ll now need to check your thermostat is set to cool and lower the temperature to trigger the system. After approximately 10 minutes, check that the tubing running from the condenser unit to your home feels cool to the touch, while the uninsulated tubing feels warm. This is a sign that your system is now operating correctly.

Concealing Your AC Unit

For many homeowners that big box sitting outside, can compromise the landscaping. While you can’t change the look of your condenser unit, it is possible to disguise it, so that it blends into the garden you’ve worked hard to create.

Concealing your air conditioner unit will take a little creativity, but it can not only disguise it, but also protect it from yard debris or even theft. You can create almost any style of cover for your AC unit, but remember that you’ll need to ensure that airflow is not compromised and you can still access the unit. You can use leftover fencing to create a cover to match other areas of your yard, use a premade lattice or even get really creative with a mosaic. It’s worth taking a little time to decide the aesthetic you’d like to ensure you’re happy with the end result. If you’re still unsure about concealing your AC unit, be sure to ask for further advice from your local HVAC technician.