It’s mostly true that professionals should handle the maintenance and cleaning of the air conditioner. Nonetheless, there are a few things that you can do yourself without any issues. One such thing is cleaning the fins in your AC. Now that you are aware of this fact don’t just jump the gun and dorn your overalls and pull out the garden hose. Fins are very delicate and hence need to be handled carefully. Read this post completely to know how to clean air conditioner fins.
What are The Fins?
Fins are thin slats of metal, usually copper or aluminium, that protect the coils inside the AC unit. They are very delicate and can easily get bent out of shape when pressure is applied. As such, the need to be extra careful.
What Is The Function Of AC Fins?
The fins of an air conditioner perform two basic functions –
1. It keeps the unit safe from dust, debris, and other elements of nature.
2. They do not let warm air from outside enter the air conditioning unit. So the AC runs more efficiently.
Where Are The Fins In AC?
There are two sets of fins in an AC. One set can be found in the condenser unit and the other in the evaporator unit.
1. Condenser Fins – The thin slats of metal that can be seen running along the framework of the outdoor AC unit are the condenser fins. These fins prevent warm air from entering the AC while it is running. If you want your AC to run with maximum efficiency even during the hottest days, you need to ensure that the condenser fins are clean.
2. Evaporator Fins – As the name itself suggests, the evaporator fins surround the evaporator, creating an “A” shape. These fins are charged with the task of cooling the outside air and distributing it through the ducts and vents to cool the entire home. Dirty evaporator fins translate to significantly warmer air, which in turn is an indication of your AC consuming more power.
How To Clean Air Conditioner Fins
To make sure that your AC is working at optimum efficiency, you need to clean both sets of fins. As has already been mentioned, the fins need to be cleaned gently. Pressure in any form can bend and misshapen them. In order to clean the air conditioner fins, you need a special comb-like object called the fin comb. An air conditioner fin comb is a small tool made up of soft bristles. It helps clean both the inside and outside of the fins.
The steps involved in cleaning the AC fins are relatively simple. You don’t have to be a genius to figure them out.
Step 1 – Since your AC is an electronic appliance, the first step is to disconnect it from the power source. You can do this by flipping the circuit breaker switch to the “OFF” position or by unplugging the unit.
Step 2 – Expose the fins by unscrewing the access panel that covers the fins.
Step 3 – Delicately run the fin comb along the fins to get rid of any accumulated dust or debris. Start at the bottom and move the comb upwards. This action also helps in bringing bent fins back in shape.
Step 4 – If necessary suck out the dislodged particles by using a vacuum cleaner. Remember to use it from a distance so that it does not further damage the fragile fins.
How Much Does A Fin Comb Cost & Where Can I Buy It?
Fin combs are cheap and do not make a major dent in your pockets. At most, a fin comb will cost you around $20. You can buy it at just about any hardware store in your locality. Or you can simply buy it online.
Quick Tips On How To Clean Air Conditioner Fins
A few quick tips which will save the day for you are –
1. Use protective goggles and use gloves while cleaning the fins. Goggles will prevent any stray particles from entering your eyes, and the gloves will protect your hands from any injury.
2. Do not use water on the fins in the very beginning as it will cake the accumulated dust and make it difficult to clean.
3. As a preventive measure, keep the area around the fins free of any unwanted elements like grass, leaves, stones, etc. If the area around them is clean, the fins will not get dirty frequently.
How Do AC Fins Get Damaged?
Now that you know how to clean air conditioner fins let us try to understand how they get damaged in the first place.
1. Not Securing Properly During Winter – Air conditioners are sold with a protective cover that keeps large debris from damaging the fins. However, it is of little to no use when it comes to strong winds, hail, and freezing rain. When the summer’s end, you should ideally cover the AC with a tarp or any other waterproof covering so that the fins are protected against the harsh elements of nature.
2. Spring Cleaning – Believe it or not, but spring cleaning is the biggest culprit behind damaged fins. When you are dousing everything with water and that too at high pressure, in the name of getting ready for summers, you often give the same treatment to your AC. The fragile fins are unable to tolerate water at high pressure and get damaged.
After reading this article, from top to bottom, you have sufficient knowledge on how to clean air conditioners fins. Doing this job yourself will save you a few dollars and at the same time, reduce your dependency on others. However, if you want, you can call your preferred HVAC company to do a complete maintenance of your AC. This seasonal maintenance will also cover the cleaning of fins and coils. Needless to say, it is better to get complete maintenance of your AC done by a trained professional rather than just cleaning the fins yourself. As an interim measure, you can clean the fins. In the long run, if you want to extract your money’s worth from the AC, you need to ensure that its maintenance is carried out strictly, year after year.