Never Power Wash Your AC Unit

Never Power Wash Your AC Unit

Every season your A/C coils should be cleaned. Whether it’s a buildup of leaves from the fall or pollen and dust from spring, not having proper air flow through the coils can potentially damage a unit. But, never power wash AC unit or A/C coils; read why here.

What else can damage the coils on your air conditioning unit? Power washers. Power washers (or Pressure Washers) pump out PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) by the thousands. Don’t be fooled by the smaller battery operated pressure washers, they too have immense pressurized water streams.

While some things are OK for pressure washers, like removing gum and graffiti from concrete, they, in our opinion, are horrible for soft metals like aluminum. They are equally as bad for your wood deck – consult a deck expert about how to clean your deck and they’ll tell you the same.

We’ve seen some AC coils simply warped right out of shape and have even seen a few that have had holes blasted through the tubing by power washing. Let me tell you that replacing the AC coils can be expensive depending on the unit.

To avoid damaging the AC coils we’d like to propose these tips on how to clean your AC unit. These instructions can also be used if you own a heat pump as the external condenser unit is constructed similar to an air conditioner:

  • First, disconnect the power to the AC Unit
  • Remove any plants or weeds which may have grown around the unit. Be careful of venomous snakes that may be lurking in overgrowth. Here is a link to spot venomous snakes: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests/reptiles/snakepix3.html – please be careful!
  • Remove the top of the unit. This may mean lifting the fan assembly off as well. Be very careful not to damage the wires.
  • Clean the fan blades. You can clean the blades with a small whisk broom or rag. At this point you can also lubricate the motor at points where designated. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.
  • Cover any electrical wires or motor with plastic. With warm water or a simple foaming cleaner (mixed with water), spray the AC coils from the outside liberally, let soak for 15 minutes.
  • From the inside of the unit, spray water using a spray bottle, into the coils to push the dirt and debris out.
  • Inspect the coil fins for any damage or bending. If they need to be straightened, use a fin comb to repair the fins. Fins that are laid over or bent, much like dirt and debris, will not allow proper air flow.
  • Remove the plastic you placed on the wires or motor to protect while cleaning.
  • Replace the cover and power up the unit.

Never Power wash AC Unit

Never Power wash AC unit outdoors, or ever

Cleaning of the air conditioner happens usually twice per year. If you live near cottonwood trees or have a lawn plagued with dandelions you may have to clean the AC unit frequently during the spring.

Heat Wave NC only uses soft pressure to thoroughly clean your condenser and fins. This service is also included in our Summer Tune-Up Package and also our Preventive Maintenance package. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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