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How to Protect Your Air Conditioner’s Outdoor Unit

Published: February 21, 2020

Air conditioners have become a vital part of people’s lives. Part of that vital appliance is located in the area where you have the least control – outside. Your air conditioner consists of two parts, with the outdoor unit consisting of the condenser and air compressor. That outdoor portion of your air conditioner can be vulnerable to the elements and other hazards.

Protect the outdoor unit to keep your whole system running smoothly.

Put the Unit in a Shady Place

The outdoor unit’s job is to cool hot air. You can minimize how hard it has to work by cooling the outdoor air that the unit pulls in. Obviously, you’re not going to install an air conditioner for your air conditioner. Rather, you can provide cooler air by shading the outdoor unit.

Ideally, the whole side of your house where the unit is located should be in the shade, so consider installing an awning. You can buy a simple, stationary awning or a retractable awning. Consider this step especially if your house has brick, stone, or stucco on that side because these materials act as solar collectors and raise the temperature around them.

Clean the Area Around the Unit

Besides sheltering your outdoor unit, you should generally keep the area tidy. Avoid planting any trees or shrubs nearby that will drop seeds and leaves onto the unit. When the unit becomes covered in such debris, it has a hard time pulling air into its condenser, so it’ll have to work hard to even have any air to cool and pump into your house.

In the same vein, keep plants from growing right up to the unit because they can create a similar kind of barrier to the airflow. The condenser needs about two feet of clearance. Check the area once a month or so to ensure neither trees nor plants are encroaching on your air conditioner. Cut them back if they are. Additionally, keep the unit clear of general household or yard debris.

Protect the Unit from Animals

In addition to preventing yard debris, try to keep dogs from urinating on the unit. Dog urine is corrosive to aluminum and copper, two materials common in the manufacture of air conditioners, so even a little dog urine can cause damage to your outdoor unit. If possible, build a fence around the unit or otherwise cordon off the area to keep dogs away from it.

Wild animals can wreak havoc on your air conditioner if they have access to it. They might make a nest inside the casing or urinate on it themselves. You probably can’t prevent all animal interaction with your outdoor unit. However, check it regularly to clean the unit and make sure no pests have taken up residence.

If you’re expecting an especially cold winter, check any exposed pipes and wires. Keep up with regular schedule of maintenance. Contact Service Tech, Inc. for all of your HVAC needs.

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