Dirt And Your Exterior AC Unit
Dirt can greatly affect the proper functioning and working life of your AC. The exterior portion of the unit is especially at risk of dirt, simply because it is exposed to the elements.
The Effect of Dirt On the Unit
Dirt on the exterior AC unit affects it in two major ways. The first is in standard operation. Dirt can get into the fan and fan motor assembly, causing friction issues to develop. Friction in the fan or motor makes it more difficult for the fan shaft to rotate. Over time, this causes unnecessary wear and tear on the unit, resulting in the premature need for a motor repair or fan assembly replacement.
Too much dirt in the unit can also reduce the cooling abilities of your air conditioner. When components become coated with dirt, they can't exchange heat and produce cooling as well. Dirt can also lead to mold growth and bad odors from the AC as well as increase the chances of damages from rust or corrosion.
Main Dirt Contact Areas
The evaporator coil and condenser fins are important parts of the AC that won't work properly if they are covered in dirt. The fins are one of the more exposed parts of the AC, being on the outside of the exterior unit, so they can become coated in dust, pollen, and even mud if there is bare dirt around your AC pad. The evaporator is especially impacted since it won't be able to perform the proper heat exchange if the surface becomes dirty.
Even the interior of the unit is not immune to dirt. Dirt, pollen, and other debris blow in through the fan vent on the top of the unit. From there, the dirt can work its way into the fan motor housing, as well as coating the fan assembly itself. Dead leaves and plant material can also get into and clog up the workings inside the unit.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Annual cleaning is the key to preventing dirt related issues. Spring, right before the cooling season begins, is the optimum time to clean and service the exterior unit. Your tech will open up the unit and remove any debris that has collected inside. They will then wipe down condenser fins, evaporator coil, motor, and fan assembly.
Once everything is clean, the tech must make sure the entire motor and fan assembly is well lubricated. Lubrication minimizes friction in the event any dirt does get into the works. They may also use a fin comb to straighten the condenser fins after cleaning.
Contact an AC system maintenance technician for more help when it comes to cleaning your exterior AC unit.