If a condenser becomes dirty or fouled, less heat transfer can take place from the refrigerant to the surrounding environment. As the heat inside and outside become closer to the same, the less efficient your condenser will be. Eventually, a compressor burnout can occur. Dirty or blocked condensers are one of the most frequent service problems in commercial refrigeration and summer air conditioning fields today.
To keep your condenser working at peak efficiency, be sure there is plenty of clearance space where there are no plants or dryer lint can get caught around the condenser unit preventing it from expelling the heat. If you condenser looks like the one above, cleaning is as simple as hosing it down and giving it a scrub. There are also coil cleaners that can be sprayed on the condenser and then hosed off.
The evaporator coils are a part of your inside unit and cool air that is blown across it. Dirt and debris on your evaporator coils will block airflow across the coils making your system less efficient and more expensive to run. In severe cases coils can become so blocked that airflow is seriously reduced, possibly leading to an evaporator or cooling coil icing problem indoors or an overheated, damaged compressor outdoors.
When cleaning your evaporator coils, please be sure to turn the electricity off to the unit. There are several areas where there may still be live wiring even though the system has a door safety interlock switch to turn off the electricity to the unit when the door is open or off.
As with the condenser coil, there are several ways you can clean your evaporator coils where they are. You can use compressed air to blow the debris off the coils. This method is effective at cleaning the coils, but the debris is blown into the air, and thus will be process back through your system and/or need to be cleaned from wherever it lands. You can also purchase special detergents to clean your coils. This method is effective, but again will leave you with additional clean-up, especially if you have never used the cleaning product.
The best method for cleaning your evaporator coils is through regular maintenance. If you clean your coils regularly, a simple brushing of the coils with a soft brush will be sufficient to keep your unit running smoothly and efficiently. If it has been a while since you have cleaned your evaporator coils, I recommend you call for professional service, and then maintain them by brush your coils yourself every 3 to 4 months.