4 Eco Services, a local plumbing, heating and air conditioning service company, advises homeowners to remove foliage growing too close to the outdoor air conditioning unit and take steps to regularly clean it. Homeowners should allow a few feet of space on all sides of the outdoor air conditioning unit to ensure optimal functioning of the unit.

4 Eco Services General Manager Ian Williams says, “Over time, the outdoor unit becomes covered in dust, dirt, grass clippings and leaves. This forces the unit to work harder, decreasing its efficiency and increasing energy expenditure and cost. There’s also a risk of the air conditioner overheating and breaking down, usually on the hottest days of the year. It’s important for homeowners to clear away any foliage that may be obstructing the outdoor unit’s air flow.”

Homeowners should begin by checking their air conditioner’s manual for recommendations on cleaning agents. To clean the outdoor air conditioning unit, homeowners will also need a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, a water hose with a sprayer, and gloves.

To begin cleaning the outdoor air conditioning unit, turn the thermostat to “off”. Open the electrical disconnect (which is a metal box located near the outside unit on an exterior wall), and switch it off. Next, use gloved hands to remove large pieces of debris. Smaller debris should be cleaned using a vacuum. The final step is to use a water hose spray to clean off loose debris, such as grass and leaves, on the outside unit.