Because some of your air conditioner’s most critical components aren’t installed inside the house, outdoor unit safety is important when working around the outside half of the system. While the A/C evaporator coil and blower are safely sealed inside the indoor air handler, the condenser unit including the system compressor, the coil and condenser fan, are outside and exposed to certain hazards.
Usually located behind or to the side of the house, a few feet from an exterior wall, the condenser unit can be damaged by natural forces like hail, falling limbs or flooding. However, it’s also vulnerable to certain human activities such as yard work and gardening practices. To ensure outdoor unit safety when working around the condenser and managing the landscape, here are some tips to remember:
- When mowing the lawn near the condenser, orient the mower so the discharge is directed away from the unit. Cut grass, mulched leaves and dirt blown into the condenser can coat the coil surfaces and interfere with optimum heat dispersal. This degrades A/C performance and efficiency.
- Take care when using a weed wacker near the outdoor unit. Delicate condenser coil fins can be flattened by contact with the high-speed weed wacker strings, impeding airflow through the coil. Thermostat control wires leading into the unit may also be cut, causing the thermostat transformer to short out.
- While doing yard work or other maintenance outside, don’t utilize the top surface of the unit as a table to place tools, plants in containers, a rolled up garden hose or other objects. The fan grille on top of the unit needs to be kept fully unobstructed all times in order to exhaust heat dispersed by the coil. If airflow is impeded, system energy consumption and cooling performance will be affected.
- If you are planting shrubs or a hedge to hide the unit for cosmetic reasons, be sure to leave at least 24 inches of clear space on all sides to allow for adequate fresh air circulation into the condenser coil.
For more outdoor unit safety tips when working outside, contact Beyer Boys.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).