The exterior part of your air-conditioning system or heat pump called the condenser is often referred to as the compressor. A little annual maintenance goes a long way in extending its life and reducing utility bills.
The exterior unit, called the condenser is in fact three pieces of equipment in one casing. The “automobile radiator type” mental fins visible on the outside of the unit are part of the condenser. On the inside there is the blower/fan, and the compressor.
Maintenance is Simple
When cutting grass do not allow it to blow into the condenser fins. Grass or dust needs to be cleaned off. Keep bushes and trees trimmed well back from the unit. It needs to exhaust air at the top and more importantly needs an unrestricted air supply from the sides.
Using a hose, wash the condenser once a year. Leave the unit turned off for 24 hours to 48 hours after washing. Check that the condenser is level. If it is not, raise the slab and use gravel or sand to level it up. Take care not to break the copper pipes connecting the unit to the house.
The ground around the condenser should be below the top of the slab that it sits on. Check the freon/gas line at the back of the unit replacing the insulation if it has been damaged or become deteriorated. Do not insulate the smaller of the copper pipes.
Check for any oily residue on the copper pipes coming from the condenser. If a residue is found, call your heat and air service person. A oily residue could be a coolant leak.
NOTE: The air conditioning / heat pump system should be serviced once a year by a heat and air contractor. The service work should be carried out when the outside temperature is above 70 degrees to insure that the coolant gas pressure is correct.