How to Keep Leaves From Getting in My Air Conditioning Unit?
Fallen leaves are a telltale sign that summer has ended and autumn is upon us. While seeing the leaves change colors and fall to the ground may be beautiful to behold, it creates the opportunity for leaves to get caught in your air conditioning unit.
The outdoor unit of your air conditioner contains the compressor, used to generate cooler air in the warm months. Leaves, grass, and other debris are often either sucked into the unit or blown in.
This poses several problems:
- Leaf buildup reduces efficiency by blocking airflow and can raise your utility bills dramatically.
- Leaves and other debris harbor moisture, which may cause sensitive components to rust.
- Decaying leaves give off acidic gases that can eat away an AC unit’s copper tubing, creating tiny holes for the refrigerant to escape.
It’s clear that you don’t want leaves and other debris to build up inside your air conditioner. Eliminating this buildup can dramatically increase the life of your AC unit. All it takes is a little preparation in the fall and again in the spring. Read on to find out what you need to do.
For AC maintenance or additional tips on protecting your air conditioner from debris, contact the team at Ehlers Heating & Air Conditioning.
How to Prepare Your Air Conditioner for Winter
Once your air conditioning unit is no longer in operation, you can sweep out the interior of the air conditioner by opening a removing the side panel. Sweep out all of the loose debris and leaves from its interior.
Clean the AC Unit at the End of Summer
You should be able to remove the side panel of your air conditioner to expose the interior. Sweep out leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, and other loose debris that have made their way inside.
Clean up around the air-conditioning unit and remove all leaves and debris within at least two feet from the unit’s base.
Reattach the side panel and hose down the unit with a garden hose. This is the most efficient way to remove dust, dirt, spider webs, and other buildup in the fins themselves. Just be careful not to use too high of a water pressure setting, or you could bend the delicate fins.
Use the Right Air Conditioner Cover in the Winter
Once you’re certain you have run your air conditioner for the final time this season, officially retire the unit for winter by covering it. Just be careful about what cover you choose.
Plastic and vinyl aren’t breathable materials, so they allow condensation to form on the AC’s cold metal surfaces. This could easily cause rust or mold growth, both of which can shorten your cooling system’s lifespan.
Instead, use a canvas cover or one made from another breathable material to keep leaves from getting in the AC without risking rust or mold. Covering the air conditioner for the winter will prevent rain, snow, fallen leaves, and other winter hazards from damaging the unit.
Trim Back Foliage in the Spring
When the temperatures start warming up again in the spring, you resume using the air conditioner for home comfort. Warm weather also signals plants to wake up and start growing again.
Before long, new shoots get closer and closer to your AC unit. Once branches and leaves come within about two feet, trim them back to ensure adequate airflow.
Scheduling AC maintenance can help make sure your AC unit is in top shape to keep you cool in the warmer weather.
Use a Leaf Guard Cover Year-Round
If you struggle to keep debris out of your AC unit throughout the year, install an inexpensive leaf guard cover. This acts as a filter to prevent leaves, twigs, pine needles, and grass clippings from falling into the top of the unit. Breathable mesh allows you to keep the cover on while the unit is running for continuous year-round protection.
Be aware that you may still want to hose down the outside of your AC unit occasionally. But with a leaf guard cover preventing debris from falling inside, you have a lot less maintenance to worry about.
Choose Ehlers Heating & Air Conditioning for HVAC Services in Livonia, MI
Ehlers Heating & Air Conditioning offers covers for air conditioning units as a way to protect them during the long, cold winter months. Eliminating the buildup of leaves and other debris around your air conditioning unit can dramatically increase the life of your system and prevent increased utility bills.
With proper preparation for the winter months, and again in the summer, the lifespan of your unit can be greatly enhanced. Using the Ehlers Preferred Customer Care Program you can also avoid these problems!
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Bills Properly maintained systems use 10%-15% less energy.