The answer to this question is absolutely. As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to keep your air conditioning (A/C) unit clean. You should have your unit serviced annually by a local service contractor. During the service visit, your contractor will properly clean and inspect your A/C unit to ensure proper operation for the start of the summer. For the rest of the spring and summer, you should keep an eye on your unit to see that the condenser coil stays clean. It is important to have good airflow across that coil for proper operation and efficiency.
If you see cottonwood or other debris begin to restrict airflow, you should clean it off.
You have the choice of cleaning it yourself, or if you are not comfortable doing it, call your contractor. If you choose to do it yourself, start by shutting the unit off at the thermostat or breaker. Use water only from your garden house. As just mentioned, only use the garden hose. No power washer, no chemicals, and be careful not to bend the fins over. Besides cottonwood, you do not want overgrown weeds or flower beds blocking airflow. One last item, if you have a male dog you need to protect the unit from dog urine. The acids will eat away the aluminum.
If you are cleaning your unit, because you do not feel like it’s running right and after you clean it it’s still not running right it’s time to call your local A/C contractor.
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If you’re not comfortable performing any of this type of maintenance, just ask your local Bryant HVAC professional what is included in your bi-annual checkup. Most contractors will have service maintenance agreements that make it easy to properly maintain and repair your systems.