The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is called the condenser. It is made up of tiny aluminum “fins” that cover the outside of it. These can become bent or damaged. When too many of these become bent or damaged it can have an impact on the way your air conditioner operates. This can lead to higher energy bills and less comfort in your home. While a few bent fins won’t affect your air conditioners performance, problems will start when 30% to 50% of these fins get bent or damaged.
How do Bent Condenser Fins Waste Money?
The fins on the condenser are there to help release heat that the air conditioner has absorbed from your home. It may surprise you to learn that your air conditioner doesn’t make cool air. It works like a sponge and uses refrigerant to absorb the heat from inside your home and then dumps it outside. The condenser fins will speed the dumping process up and soak up all the heat that was collected from your home. After the air is collected, a large fan will blow cool air over the hot fins to force the heat to the outside. If the fins on the condenser get bent or damaged, it can prevent the heat from being forced out. This will cause the air conditioner to work longer and harder to cool your home. Therefore, too many bent fins result in more money spent and less comfort in your home.
Repairing or Replacing Damaged Condenser Fins
Condenser fins are very delicate and it’s very easy for them to get damaged and bent. Damage can result from gardening tools, pressure washing, surrounding foliage, summer storms that produce dirt, hail twigs, etc. and dog urine. Even though these fins are delicate, they are easy to fix, and it won’t cost a lot. All you need is a condenser fin “comb”. These fins can also be repaired when you have a service performed on your air conditioner. A fin comb can only fix bent combs. It can’t fix damaged ones. You will need to have professionals repair damaged fins.
How to Prevent Damaged Condenser Coil Fins on Your Central AC
You can take two steps to prevent any damage to the fins on your condenser. You can build a gate or fence around the outdoor unit for protection. This will keep debris, pets and gardening activities from damaged the fins. You will need to make sure the fence or gate is 3-5 feet from the unit to leave enough room for the unit to “breathe” as it dumps heat. You also need to make sure to have your air conditioner serviced yearly. Your unit will be inspected and any issues with the fins will be taken care of. Prevention tips for future problems will be addressed and the fins will be cleaned off to increase the efficiency of you air conditioner. This yearly service will also go through a checklist to ensure all the components of your air conditioner are working as they should.