Air conditioners pull in outside air, so they can cool your home. Keeping the space around the condenser free of obstructions and the equipment free of dirt and debris is crucial for maintaining free air flow.
Adequate and unhindered air flow allows your air conditioner to work more efficiently and last longer.
Vegetation – It’s the enemy of your air conditioner. If you have plants, shrubs, or trees nearby, they can grow into your unit. They will also produce leaves, stems, and sticks that get into the equipment and block air flow. Make sure there’s at least two feet between your air conditioner and the nearest plant.
Shade – Some installers believe putting your air conditioner in a shady area will keep the air around the unit cooler and therefore increase efficiency. However, research shows it provides only minimal benefits, and the potential for clogging the air flow actually outweighs any advantages.
Grass clippings – When mowing the lawn, make sure you (or whoever does the mowing) takes care to aim the grass clippings away from the air conditioner. Cutting grass is a common cause of outdoor units getting clogged.
Alternative camouflage – Instead of trees or shrubs to shade or hide, place an awning overhead, or install a fence to cover. If you choose to camouflage with a fence, make sure the slats are designed to allow the free flow of air to your unit.
Covers – Utilize specially-made covers to help keep debris from blowing (or growing) inside the unit.
- In season covers: Covers like a screen made of PVC-coated polyester mesh can keep leaves out of your compressor and can be used while the system is running.
There are also screen-like filters that wrap around the exterior which can help keep debris from blowing into your air conditioner.
- Off season covers: Manufacturers make fabric covers with a water repellant undercoating covering the entire unit when it’s turned off for the season, providing fairly comprehensive protection against leaves, dirt, and rust.
Broom and brushes – Do the occasional spot check by eyeballing your unit and use a broom to brush away any obvious layers of dust or clumps of debris.
While you can do a lot to slow down accumulation and protect your air conditioner, there will some accumulation over time. Your air conditioner is a sizable home investment, so it’s a good idea to schedule a clean and check appointment each spring with a trusted Dayton area HVAC company.