4 Tips To Keep Your AC Unit Safe During Summer Lawn Care

Posted on: 24 May 2016

With summer approaching, homeowners everywhere will be pulling out their lawn mowers and weed whackers to begin the process of tidying up their lawns. Before you bust out your yard tools, however, you should know that working on your yard could have devastating effects on your air conditioner's outside condenser unit. Read on for 4 tips on how to beautify your lawn without putting your air conditioner at risk.

1. Mow With Discharge Facing Away From AC Unit

The condenser coil on your air conditioner is responsible for taking hot air from inside your home and transfering it outdoors. Should your condenser coil become clogged with cut grass or other yard debris, it can no longer transfer that heat at optimal efficiency. Your house will become hotter, your air conditioner will have to work harder, and you'll spend more money on energy costs. Make sure to mow your lawn in such a direction as to point your mower's discharge away from your outdoor AC unit.

2. Brush And Hose Your Unit Off After Mowing

If you do accidentally get grass in your outside AC condenser when mowing, it's important to take care of the problem at once. Not only will the lawn debris interfere with your AC's efficiency, but wet grass or leaves left inside the condenser can mold over time, exposing you to potential health problems. 

To clean your AC unit after mowing your lawn, turn its power off either at the outdoor switch or main electrical panel. Remove the protective grille and use a soft-bristled brush or a vacuum cleaner brush attachment to carefully remove any grass clippings from the sensitive coil fins. Next, unscrew the top of your condenser housing and use your hands to swipe away any clippings you see inside the unit. Finally, pull out your garden hose and stick it in the top of the condenser housing. You'll want to spray the hose water through the fins from the inside of the unit out. This will ensure any remaining grass clippings end up on the ground and not stuck at the bottom of your condenser unit.

3. Watch Where You Weed Whack

As much as you'd like to take your weed whacker and touch up the area around your outside air condenser unit, it really is best if you don't. The string on your weed whacker could very easily slip through the protective grille on your condenser unit and damage the paper-thin, closely-spaced coil fins. Hand-pluck grass and weeds around your condenser unit if you must, but a better option is to remove the sod around your outside condenser unit and replace it with edging and crushed stone. It's important to keep the area tidy so airflow from your condenser is not inhibited, but not at the cost of ruined condenser coil fins.

4. Protect Your Unit While Pruning Trees

If you've got some trees around your outside condenser that you plan to prune, make sure none of the clippings make their way into your AC unit by protecting it with a leaf net. You can purchase leaf nets from nearly any home improvement or pool supply shop. The nets are intended to keep leaf debris out of swimming pools, but placing one over your outdoor condenser unit before you start your tree work will ensure any tree litter that happens to fall on it can be easily swept away.

It's always great when summer arrives and you can start your yard work, but not if that yard work damages your outdoor air conditioning unit. Protect your AC's outside condenser by following the tips above. For more information on how to properly manage your outdoor condenser unit, contact a central air conditioning specialist in your area, such as those at HomeSmart From Xcel Energy.