Why Does An Air Conditioner Condenser Come With Fins?

The air conditioner fins on your AC condenser are the delicate pieces of metal that feel and look like the teeth of a comb. The air conditioner fins may look like a fancy decoration, but they actually serve an important purpose and should be protected and preserved. These answers to frequently asked questions will tell you why your air conditioner fins are an important part of your system and how to avoid unnecessary air conditioning repairs.

Why does an air conditioner condenser come with fins?

Your air conditioner condenser comes with fins because the condenser needs good air flow in order to function. The fins are small enough that they block most pieces of debris, but still allow air to pass from the inside to the outside of the unit.

Why is airflow so important to my air conditioner?

Your air conditioner works like this: The refrigerant inside the unit is trapped in coils. When the refrigerant is placed in a low pressure situation, it becomes very cold. The cold gas absorbs the warmth from the air inside your home. Then the gas is sent down the coil to the condenser, where the refrigerant is placed in a high pressure environment. When this happens, the refrigerant becomes very hot. Then the air conditioner blows the hot air out the sides of the condenser, through the fins, and the cycle starts over again. If the air condenser is unable to properly release the hot air, then the system becomes less efficient. Over time, this could actually cause your air conditioner to break down. Adequate air flow to the condenser is what makes makes this cycle possible.

What should you do if your air conditioner fins get blocked?

If your air conditioner fins become blocked by leaves, dirt or debris, you should clean them. You should avoid cleaning the fins with anything hard like a scrub brush, because doing so could actually smash the fins, cutting off the air flow even more. You can clean the fins by spraying them with a strong jet of water from a hose. Spray the outside of the condenser, then cut the power to the condenser, remove the lid and spray the inside. You can also vacuum the inside of the condenser if it is especially clogged with leaves. It's a good idea to do this once a year, even if your condenser doesn't look like it's blocked.

How can you fix it if the air conditioner fins get smashed?

Hardware stores sell a device called an air conditioner fin comb. This is a hand-held device that any homeowner can use to straighten the fins. The device is used to comb the fins, forcing them to bend back into the proper position.

Performing this kind of upkeep on your air conditioner condenser can help you take better care of your air conditioner and over time can spare you from paying for costly air conditioning repair. For more information about how to clean your condenser or straighten the fins, speak with a reputable air conditioner repair person.