Fall Landscaping: Keep Your Outdoor Unit Protected

Fall Landscaping: Keep Your Outdoor Unit ProtectedIf you’re like most homeowners, you don’t give the outdoor unit of your air conditioner, the condenser/compressor, much thought. That’s OK — it’s built to be sturdy and doesn’t need a lot of attention, other than when you schedule your annual HVAC maintenance visit.

But here in Florida, where we have to do landscaping year round, it is important to take some measures to ensure outdoor unit safety. Doing so can help avoid mishaps.

Don’t cover the unit.

If you’re able to turn off the air conditioner for a couple of months every year, great. But don’t cover it up thinking you’re protecting it. The sturdy metal housing should be good enough. If you do cover it during a hurricane or other strong storm, remove the cover as soon as the weather clears. A cover can encourage mold or vermin.

Keep vegetation cleared away from the unit.

Clear away weeds, grass, shrubbery and any other plant life from the unit so you have about a 2-foot space around it. Cut back limbs overhead that might fall on the condenser in a storm.

For best results, landscape the area around the unit with stones or pebble rock.

Be sure to add a layer of plastic under the rocks to prevent weeds from growing. If weeds do take root anyway, do not use a weed whacker over the pebble rock, as you do not want to hurl pebbles into the delicate fins and coils.

Aim mower away from the unit.

If grass grows around your condenser, aim the mower away from it so clippings do not clog the fins or coils. This will restrict air flow, and could cause the compressor to fail. Likewise, be careful about using a weed whacker if it throws grass clippings into the fins.

If the coils get dirty, clean them.

If you inadvertently throw mud or grass clippings onto the fins or coils, clean them gently with a hose or soft brush.

To learn more about outdoor unit safety, contact NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating. We serve Martin, Palm Beach and Indian River counties.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties in Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 772-207-1658.

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