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MarGo Plumbing Heating Cooling Inc. Blog

Why You Might Want to Check Up on Your AC’s Outdoor Unit


It might not be what you want to think about just now, but in the grand scheme of things, it won’t be all that long before snow flies again. There are probably a lot of things you need to get done before that happens. We’ve got a recommendation for one more thing to put on your list.

Your air conditioner worked hard all summer, keeping your home comfortable for you and your family. Before you simply forget about it for several months until you need it again, make sure it’s doing okay. Your AC’s outdoor unit bears the brunt of both the hard work and the risks to the system, especially this time of year. Let’s give it a once-over.

What Your Outdoor AC Unit Does

This portion of your AC system contains the compressor, that vital component which keeps the refrigerant under pressure so it flows through the coils. Because this component is so hardworking and nearly irreplaceable—or at least, too costly to be worth replacing in an older unit—you don’t want to risk having it compromised.

The outdoor unit also contains the evaporator coils, where heat that was soaked up from your home can be released. The easier it is for those coils to let go of the heat, the less work your compressor has to do, and the more effective and efficient your system is overall.

Risks to the Outdoor AC Unit

  • Damage: Being outdoors, this portion of your AC system is vulnerable to all sorts of external damage. It could be hit with a flying branch, or appeal to small creatures as a comfortable place to build a nest! Finding out about any damage promptly will make repairs easier to schedule and complete.
  • Dust: Dirt or other substances caking the evaporator coils is another serious problem. When anything encases the coils, it acts as insulation, preventing heat from being released. Your refrigerant re-enters your home still too warm, so it can’t absorb enough heat. The thermostat continues to call for cooling, so your compressor works overtime—and possibly burns out.
  • Leaf Litter: In addition to simple dirt (or dust or lawn clippings) there are particular challenges to airflow posed by the autumn season. Falling leaves can easily accumulate around the outdoor unit, creating a cozy nest that hinders the release of heat and can tempt small animals, and it’s easier to rake it away now rather than wait for spring.
  • Plant Growth: Finally, any shrubs, trees, or other plants that have grown a lot during the summer season may be crowding the unit. It’s best to get those trimmed now, rather than having to do it in a hurry when you need AC maintenance or repair.

Giving Your Outdoor AC Unit a Checkup

Once you’ve trimmed any encroaching plants and raked away the autumn leaves, get the unit itself clean. Use a hose without any high-pressure attachments to give it a gentle wash and remove any dust and dirt from the coils. Now you’ll be able to take a good look at it.

If you see anything concerning, such as damage to any part of the unit or leaking refrigerant, you should get repairs done before the problem worsens. It’ll also be good to avoid the spring rush when everyone wants to schedule an appointment with an AC technician. If everything looks good with your AC outdoor unit in Clifton, NJ, you can rest easy, knowing you’re ready for winter.

Contact MarGo Plumbing Heating Cooling Inc. today with any questions about your air conditioner!

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