Cooling Bill A Little On The High Side? Clean Your Condensing Coil

15 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog


If your summer energy bills seem higher than normal, clean your air conditioning system's condensing coil. The condensing coil is the large metal sheet that wraps around the outdoor unit like a snake. It ejects or removes heat from the unit by cooling down hot liquid refrigerant and converting it to a cool gas. Because the coil is exposed to the elements, such as wind and rain, debris can clog up the thin fins found on its surface. Washing down the coil with a water hose and straightening out the fins can help improve your energy bills. Here are the supplies you need to gather for the cleaning and tips on how to use them.

Obtain These Items

The first item on your list is a long water hose with an adjustable nozzle. The hose will allow you to remove debris from the fins without bending, breaking or warping them. Also, obtain a dry rag to wipe down the unit's housing and a fin comb. The comb allows you to manually straighten out the fins so that air and heat flow through them properly. Damaged or dirty fins will often block the flow of air.

You'll also need a gardening hoe for the project. Grass, weeds and other items can cause problems with the coil if they block airflow through it. Keeping the area around the unit free of obstructions may stop these issues. Now, it's time to clean the coil.

Clean the Coil

For safety reasons, you must disconnect the power supply located near the unit. Also, switch the cooling system's electrical power off at the circuit breaker. Now, you can proceed safely.

Here's what you do:

  1. Use your gardening hoe to remove excess plant growth from around the base of the unit. 
  2. Use a screwdriver to remove the grated covering from over the condenser coil. Place the covering on a smooth surface to avoid damaging or denting it. 
  3. Turn your water hose to a low setting, then gradually clean the fins. You want to start at the very top of the coil and work your way down to avoid recontaminating it with dirt.
  4. Repeat step three with the rest of the coil until clean.
  5. Use your fin comb to carefully and gently brush through the metal pieces until they appear straight.
  6. Replace the paneling, then return power to the system.

You can monitor your next utility bill to see if the cleaning helped lower your energy expenses.

If your next bill is still higher than normal, contact an air conditioning repair service. Your cooling system may need additional care.