Tag Archives: cooling

How to Clean Condenser Coils on Central Air Conditioners

Clean Condenser Coils Ensure a Safe and Efficient HVAC System!

When the condenser coils of your central air conditioner are coated with dirt and grime, its operational costs increase. Research suggests that you can improve the efficiency of your central cooling system by 16% just by keeping the condenser coils clean.

Keeping your air conditioning unit clean and well-maintained is possibly the best way to improve its efficiency and save on your monthly bills. Not only will it reduce the energy consumption and save on your monthly bills, but clean condenser coils will make your air conditioning unit last longer and keep it running efficiently.

Nevertheless, care needs to be taken when cleaning air conditioning coils, as improper cleaning may cause permanent damage to your air conditioning unit. Even worse, harmful bacteria can grow and multiply in an air conditioning unit that is not maintained properly, causing serious health risks such as asthma, nausea, and more.

Air Conditioner Condensers – What You Need to Know?

The condenser is perhaps the most important part of an air conditioning unit. It collects concentrated heat from your indoor space and takes it outside. As such, a lot of air movement takes place to get rid of this concentrated heat. In order to perform this job, the condensing unit needs to be perfectly clean; a dirty condensing unit will consume extra energy to get the job done.

Since the condensing unit is placed outdoors, it is very easy for dirt, grass, and leaves (if plants are too close) to get into the condensing unit and clog it. And if the coil is not clean, the fan in the condensing unit won’t be able to push out as much air as is required for optimum performance and efficient running. This will not only raise your electricity cost but may also shorten the life span of your condensing unit.

Therefore, the first step that you should take to keep your condensing unit clean is to cut away any weeds or plants that might block the flow of air around the unit.

Before Cleaning the Condenser Coils

When removing  debris, plants, or any objects that may cause problems, be sure to keep the area within three feet of the condenser free of any obstructions. Also, make sure that the upward path of the air from the condenser is unobstructed for at least five feet.

In most cases, the condenser coils are clogged with dust and pollen even when it is not visible to the eye. If you use your air conditioning unit for a longer period, it is best to get it cleaned at least once a year. However, if your summers are long, it is a good idea to get your condensing unit cleaned more than once per year.

Cleaning Condenser Coils – The Steps Involved

  1. Needless to say, the first and perhaps the most important thing you need to remember before cleaning condenser coils is to turn off the power supply to your air conditioning unit.
  2. Next, get rid of any visible obstructions, such as leaves, grass, and dirt from the fins using a whisk broom. Work in the same direction as the fins so that these are cleaned properly.
  3. To make sure that the slots between the fins are cleaned properly,  remove the grill that guards the coil. Wear a mask when performing this task.
  4. Next, spray some coil cleaner into the condenser coil. Give it a good five minutes, and wash it with a water spray. Make sure you use a gentle spray since a strong spray may cause harm to your aluminum fins.
  5. Adjust the fins using a fin comb or a screw driver if the fins are bent. Work carefully to prevent damage to the fins while trying to straighten them.
  6. Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, you can turn on the power to your air conditioning unit and enjoy a much more efficient and smooth-running air conditioning unit.

Contacting a Professional Service

While you can perform the task yourself, hiring a professional  for the  maintenance (and repair) of your HVAC system ensures quality service and maximize efficiency of your unit.



Seal Your Attic to Save Energy

seal-your-attic-and-save-moneySealing your attic can be a challenging and daunting task for the do-it-yourself person. The benefits will surely be worth the effort you put forth on this project. The ceiling between your attic and your living space is where most of the air leakage from your attic occurs. While your air conditioning is running during the summer, hot air is pulled down from the attic into your living area. During the winter when hot air rises, you lose the warmer air through these air leaks in your ceiling. We will take a look at where these leaks are and what to do to seal these energy-losing air leaks.

Most common location for attic leaks

  • Behind and under knee walls
  • Attic access
  • Electrical wiring holes
  • Pipe holes
  • Recessed lights
  • HVAC air closets

Behind all of your knee walls, stuff the cavities with insulation much the way that your exterior walls were insulated. A knee wall is a short wall usually under three feet  in height that is used to support the rafters in timber roof construction. (You can find images on the internet.) Most attic accesses are located inside the home—usually in a hall or back bedroom. Hot air escapes from the attic into the living area around the attic access door. You can purchase a cover that works really well when installed over your attic access. When you get ready to access your attic, it can be removed and replaced easily.

Another easy fix is to seal around the electrical wiring holes and all of your ceiling fans and lighting fixtures with good quality latex caulking and silicone.  When you pull back the insulation from these fixtures, you can easily see the light from the living area below. Seal these cracks until you do not see any light coming through from the bottom. Recessed lights are some of the most costly lights you can have when it comes to energy loss. The more recessed lights you have, the more heat is pulled in from your attic into your living area. You can make small boxes from foam and place them over your recessed lights (on the attic side), and seal them with a sealer to solve this problem. Make sure that you build the boxes big enough to allow for plenty of room around the fixtures because this type of lighting fixture generates a lot of heat.

Check all of the pipes and exhaust ducts that are coming through your ceilings. You can seal these with a good silicone or caulk. If the cracks are too big to seal with caulking, you can purchase spray foam to fill them. Look into your HVAC closet and see if you can see your attic when you look up. If you can see your attic, you need to seal the top of this closet with insulation or plywood. This simple project can be accomplished in a single day.

If you take the time to follow these simple steps, your house will be more comfortable and your energy costs will go down. Your local HVAC contractor will be more than happy to help you accomplish this task to save you money.

Checking Your Ductwork for Air Leakages

Ductwork leakages are one of the most common causes of energy loss and poor air conditioning and heater performance. This is a simple fix that you can do yourself and solve the issue of air leaks if you know what to look for and can do a simple test to find the
leaks in your ducts. In this article, we will look at the steps it will take to discover whether you have any leaks and what it will take to fix your leaks. Correcting leaks will be very beneficial to the performance of your air conditioner and also your heating unit. Once you discover the leaks, you can do what you need to do to repair the leaks.

Discover your leaks.

The first thing you will need to do is to check to see if your unit is running. Locate the access to your attic. When you enter your attic, be sure to step only on your ceiling joists or lay plywood down to walk on. The first place to feel for air leaks is where the air ducts first begin to come out of the plenum of your air conditioner. The plenum is the huge bow that is setting on top of your cooling coil. Feel around each duct that is coming out of the plenum. You can feel the air on your hand if you have leaks around the ductwork. Make a note of each leak that you find. The next place to check is at each joint of the ductwork. The number of joints can be different depending on the type of ductwork you have. If you have metal ductwork, you will probably have a joint at least every 10 feet depending on the length of your ducts. If you have foil ductwork, you will not have as many joints, but this type of duct work could develop tears along the lengths of ductwork. Feel around each joint to see if you feel air escaping. Also, inspect the whole length of duct work for any additional holes. The last place you need to check will be where the ductwork attaches to the air vent boxes. Remember to mark or note each place that you feel air escaping the ducts.

Repairing your air leaks.

There are a couple of ways to repair your leaks. One of the easiest and least expensive ways is to purchase a roll of duct tape and place it around the spots where your air is escaping. Although this is a simple fix, it is not one that will last for a long time. The heat in your attic will eventually dry out your duct tape causing it to become brittle and crack. If you have foil ducts, this may be the best way to repair the leaks and holes that may have developed in your ducts. You may have to remove some of the insulation to get to the spot that is leaking. Be sure to replace your insulation. If you have metal ducts, the best way to repair the leaks is by using a mastic sealant. This sealant can be purchased at your local building supplies store. You can take a regular paint brush and brush the mastic over any leaks you may have. When the mastic dries it will become hard and seal off any leaks that you have in your duct work. You may also have to remove some of your insulation to properly apply the mastic sealant. This is the recommended method of leakage repair because it will last much longer than duct tape.

If you cannot perform this procedure yourself, you need to hire a professional to do it for you. This is a simple and inexpensive method that will help to bring your air conditioning and heating units back to peak performance. Get this done now before it costs you more in energy costs.