Do you know what the outside unit of your air conditioning unit does? The outside unit contains the condenser, which cools the HVAC's refrigerant so it can be pumped back into the house and remove interior heat.
This means the condenser coils are crucial to the HVAC's operations and efficiency, which means they should be properly maintained. Here are two maintenance practices that the condenser coils require:
Cleaning the Coils
This is a basic but crucial maintenance practice. The condenser unit, which is filled with refrigerant, usually sits outside the house. It cools and condenses the refrigerant so that it can be pumped back into the house and used or cooling.
To perform its work, the condensing unit is equipped with coils or fins through which heat transfer takes place from the refrigerant to the outside air. Efficient heat transfer can only occur if the coils are in contact with the air. When the condenser coils get dirty or clogged with dirt (from the air being circulated), the debris blocks the transfer of heat, and your air conditioner starts failing in its duties. Therefore, it's important to keep the condenser coils clean for maximum exchange of heat.
Be careful while cleaning the condenser fins; they are fragile and can easily get crushed. This means you should use a soft brush on them, and be gentle with your movements. There are brushes specifically meant for cleaning the fins; use them. Alternatively, let a professional do the work for you.
Straightening the Coils
Dirt accumulation isn't the only threat to the condenser coils' efficiency. As hinted in the preceding section, the condensers coils are delicate and can easily get bent or crushed out of shape. Different things such as hailstorms, pressure washers, careless handling during cleaning can crush the fins, and stones thrown by lawnmowers.
Unfortunately, crushing reduces the surface area of the coils that are directly in contact with the air. As such, heat transfer to the outside air is reduced and the refrigerant doesn't cool as efficiently as it should. The only solution to this problem is to straighten the bent fins.
The straightening is best done by a professional HVAC technician. Technicians use straightening tools with interchangeable heads to fit the size of the fins. Using the wrong tool can easily worsen the problem by bending more fins.
Don't wait for your HVAC to start acting up before consulting a technician. Regular service is the best way of preventing malfunctions of the condenser and other parts of the system. Contact a company like C & D Cooling & Heating Co for more information.