Dewinterizing Your Home: Get Your AC Condenser Unit Ready For The Summer

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Spring is the ideal time to dewinterize your home and get it ready for the summer. But one of the areas of your home you might forget to inspect or maintain is your outdoor AC unit. An outdoor condenser unit may experience a number of problems during the cold season, including weed growth and an unstable concrete base. These things can clog up or destabilize the condenser unit and its parts, which prevent them from working properly. Here are two things you can do right now to get your AC condenser unit ready for the summer.

Pull Up the Weeds From Around the Unit

You might not think that weeds can grow in the cold season, but some weed species can actually germinate and grow during winter. If the weather warms up a bit during the cold season, the weeds can grow and spread. If you notice weeds around your outdoor unit, remove them immediately.

The plants can travel inside the unit and cover the condenser coil. A blocked coil can't release heat from your cooling system during operation. If heat does back up inside the coil, it can make the compressor work harder than necessary. Eventually, the compressor overheats, slows down, or quits.

You want to practice caution when you remove the weeds. It's important that you manually pull up the weeds instead of use a mechanical device like a weeder. The device's blades might accidentally strike the delicate fins covering the condenser coil and warp, crack, or bend them.

If you're unable to pull up the weeds by hand and choose to use a weed wacker, cover the unit with a thick tarp from top to base. Be sure to check the surfaces of the coil to see if the fins sustained damage. If so, use as soft toothbrush or fin comb to straighten them.

After you remove the weeds, you want to secure the concrete base supporting the condenser unit.

Secure the Unit's Concrete Base

Snow, ice, and other types of moisture may make the soil around the condenser coil's base or slab unstable. Although the concrete base settles over time, it should be stable enough to support the unit and keep it upright. Unstable soil can cause the base to sink and the unit to tip. You want to secure the base now to prevent issues in the future. 

First, examine the unit's components and wires to see if they show any signs of strain. If you do see problems, the concrete base probably settled too much. Next, secure the work area by removing or trimming back any shrubs and plants in the area. 

Now, follow these steps:

  1. Purchase a bag of fill dirt from your local home and gardening store. If you feel comfortable enough, you can use ready-mix concrete to stabilize the slab.
  2. Use a small shovel or hand trowel to clean around the base. You want to remove sticks, pebbles, and anything else that interferes with the project.
  3. Fill in any openings found along the sides of the slab. Use your small shovel to push the filling as far inside the openings as possible. 
  4. Pat the dirt until it's smooth and even.

With the help of another person, move the condenser unit until it appears completely upright or straight on the pad. You may need to step away from the unit to ensure that it's straight. Check the components and wires to see if they have some slack in them. If not, continue to move the unit until the components and wires hand slightly down toward the ground. Your outdoor unit is now ready for the summer.

If you need additional help with getting your condenser unit ready for the summer, contact a residential air conditioning specialist today at a place like Classic Air and Heating.

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21 March 2017

Streamline Your HVAC System

As a DIY enthusiast, I started doing everything I could to make my household appliances more effective then ever before. I insulated my attic, worked on cleaning the vents around my kitchen appliances, and eventually turned my attention to my air conditioner and furnace. Unfortunately, the process of taking care of my HVAC system was more intense than I had originally anticipated. I realized that I needed to read about air conditioners and furnaces before I started tinkering around. I made this blog to showcase all kinds of different articles that talk about HVAC, so that you can become a more informed homeowner.