Power washing your home might be something that can benefit it as part of your annual maintenance and home improvement efforts. Based on your home’s exterior and the general climate in which you live, power washing can restore the vibrant curb appeal your home once had so it’s once more inviting to those who pass by or visit. At the least, it’s more attractive for you to look at when you come home. It might be tempting to include your AC unit in the power washing so it stays clean, too. However, that is actually not a safe thing to do.
Why Does Your AC System Need to Be Clean?
In most areas of the country, the coils of an air conditioning system should probably get cleaned every season. Spring has dust and pollen, and fall can mean leaves dying and dropping. Any of these can impact the airflow that needs to move freely through the coils of your unit. Any system clogged with debris or dirt isn’t going to work as well. When your unit is overworked, it’s going to be more susceptible to breakdowns. A blocked AC also results in more power usage, and it will actually work less effectively at the same time it’s running up your utility bills. Wanting to clean your coils is a natural impulse so you can save energy and prevent damage. However, power washing isn’t the way to go. Whether you are power washing your home or having a professional do it, don’t do it to your AC unit. The high power is just too intense for your unit coils.
Why Is Pressure Washing an AC Unit a Bad Idea?
Power washers and pressure washers can do deep cleaning like nothing else. They can get gum and even graffiti off of pavement and concrete. They do this because of thousands of PSI, which is pounds per square inch, of water pressure. Even small battery-powered units can dish out some serious PSI. If you’re looking to freshen up your driveway or sidewalk to your front door, that might be okay. If you’re looking to clean your AC coils, you’re hurting your home. Many AC units are made of soft materials, such as aluminum. Pressure washing will warp this metal out of shape and potentially ruin your system. You should even be careful when pressure washing a wood deck, although that’s admittedly not our particular area of expertise. The fins of your AC unit can be easily damaged, especially if they’re aluminum, or another soft metal, such as copper. You might even damage the tubing and hoses of your AC unit. Don’t do it yourself. If you have someone else power or pressure wash your home, have them skip the AC unit.
A Costly Error
Your home has many different appliances you rely on for a comfortable living. Your AC unit is likely on of the most expensive ones of the bunch. Repairs can be very costly. A replacement is even worse. Damage from pressure washing is probably not going to be covered by a warranty or any insurance policy. Even if it might, why risk it? Having a technician clean your AC unit might cost you several hundred dollars. However, having repairs done to a unit damaged by power washing can cost much more. An entirely new AC system will cost you several thousand dollars.
How Can You Know When the AC Needs Cleaning?
Not sure when your system needs cleaning? It should be a part of your regular service calls, but there are other times that there can be specific indicators that something is wrong. If your power bill goes up without warning, then you might have a problem. When your condenser coils and evaporator are dirty, your AC unit might use more power. In fact, it can be as much as 30% higher than usual. If your AC is blowing warm air, that might mean heat is trapped in the system. Dirty coils can do that. It’s almost like a traffic jam where cars can’t get where they’re going. If your AC is running longer than it used to, it might need the extra time and work to cool your home. That will start reducing the lifespan of the unit due to extra wear and tear. Know when to call in a technician. They have the tools and training to clean your AC system safely inside and out. They can also do preventative maintenance and diagnostics that keep your AC running efficiently and effectively for a long time.
How a Technician Will Clean Your AC Unit
The first thing a technician will do to clean your AC unit is to disconnect the power. This is a necessary safety feature to protect both the AC unit and their personal safety. If it were to come on or have live power during cleaning, serious bodily harm or equipment damage might happen. Your technician might talk to you about removing vegetation that is growing around the unit. Plants can restrict the airflow your AC relies on for utmost efficiency. However, vegetation might also help the system get dirty or even provide shelter for animals not helping matters. The technician will remove the top of the unit. They do this so they can get inside of it, and it might involve lifting some of the fan assembly. Once inside, they will clean off the fan blades and lubricate the motor at the proper points. If they do any water or foam cleaning, they will first cover the motor and electrical wires with plastic. They might spray the various AC coils before letting them soak. Once that is done, they’ll spray the unit to flush out any debris or dirt. A proper inspection includes looking over the coil fins for bending or damage. A technician can use a fin comb to do repairs that restore appropriate airflow. Once done, the technician will remove any protective plastic they put into place, replace the cover, and then restore power to your AC. Once the system is running, you and your technician can both verify it is working properly. It won’t likely take long for you to notice the difference in your AC system’s performance following the right service call.
If you have an AC unit in Springfield, Illinois or surrounding communities, you need to keep it clean so that it can run better and last longer. Instead of power washing it, you should turn to our HVAC technicians who know how to properly clean your system inside and out safely and properly. Your AC unit can look great on the outside, work efficiently on the inside, and pump your home with fresh, clean air thanks to our industry experts. In addition to maintenance, our professionals handle AC repairs and installations. We also work on mini-split systems and provide a full range of heating services. Need help with your indoor air quality? We’re the team for the job. Contact TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today for more information!