Cooling System Keeps Shutting Down? Clean The Fins On Your Condenser Coil

If your cooling system cuts off prematurely, it may be time to clean the outdoor unit's condenser fins. Outdoor units can attract leaves, dirt, and other debris over time. Many of these things clog up the condenser coil's fins, which causes the unit to shut down before it cools your home. If you clean the fins, you may be able to prevent these issues. Here's how you clean the condenser coil's aluminum fins.

Learn More About the Condenser Fins

The condenser coil looks similar to a radiator and sits behind a large metal cage. The coil is designed to expel heat out of the entire cooling system on an ongoing basis. Heated air typically leaves the coil through small metallic pieces called fins. If the fins bend or break, they can prevent heat from leaving the coil. The heat eventually travels back to the compressor hidden at the bottom of the unit. 

If the compressor shuts down repeatedly, it can burn out and fail. You want to prevent this problem from happening by cleaning the fins on your condenser coil. 

Uncover and Clean the Condenser Coil Fins

Before you work on the condenser unit's fins, cut power to your cooling system at the disconnect box found near the unit and at the circuit breaker located inside the house. If you can't cut power to the unit from any of these locations, stop and call an air conditioning contractor for assistance. If you can successfully disconnect power to your cooling system, you can proceed to the next step.

Carefully, remove the cage from over the condenser coil, then set it aside. Slowly, inspect the coil's fins for damage. Damaged fins will appear broken, missing, or extremely clogged. If you see these types of problems, you may need to replace the coil. If you don't see severe damage in the fins, you can go ahead and clean them.

You can use a water hose to clean the fins. Place the nozzle on the lowest setting, then slowly move it across the coil's surface. To keep from damaging the fins, avoid placing the nozzle directly on the coil. Once the fins appear clean and shiny, replace the cage. 

Wait until the coil and its fins dry before returning power to the cooling system. The time may vary, so check the coil regularly to see if it looks dry. Once you return power to your unit, allow it to cool down your house. If the system stays on without overheating or shutting down prematurely, you solved the issue at hand. 

If your cooling system continues to have problems, contact an air conditioning maintenance contractor for further assistance.