Can you pressure wash an air conditioner? In short, the answer is no. It’s true that your home’s AC unit picks up a lot of debris and grime that can affect its performance and lifespan. It’s also true that a pressure washer can be a great way to remove dirt from elements of your home such as your driveway or patio. But there are a lot of good reasons why you shouldn’t power wash your AC unit as well as alternative methods that are safer and more effective.
Washing your AC unit with a pressure washer might seem like a good way to save some time and give it a deep clean, but there’s a risk of some potentially serious short- and long-term effects if you try.
Trying to use a pressure washer on your air conditioner could result in some immediate damage to your unit. The intense force of the water being sprayed from the nozzle has the potential to bend or even break the blades of the fan. It also could damage the condenser coils and punch holes in the hoses. Any of these broken elements can result in malfunctions and inefficient operation. Fixing these problems could cost you a lot — if you don’t end up needing to replace your unit altogether.
Even if you manage to pressure wash your air conditioner without noticing any short-term effects, the long-term consequences can be just as harmful. Even though AC units generate a small amount of condensation through normal use, excessive water being blasted into them can cause problems. It can seep into electrical components, causing corrosion and leading to fire and safety hazards.
It may not be a good idea to use a pressure washer on your AC unit, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep it clean. The first step is to shut off the power to prevent any electrical issues. If you have debris or overgrown grass or weeds around the air conditioner, clear it to ensure proper airflow. Remove the top cover, being careful not to damage the fan. The fan itself can be cleaned gently using a damp rag. Wrap the motor and electrical wires with plastic to protect them, then use a vacuum to remove any dirt or debris on the inside. Make sure the drain line is not clogged with debris or mold.
Using a coil cleaner spray on your coils will remove any dirt that has built up on them. After letting the cleaner sit for a few minutes, you can rinse it away using your garden hose. Use the gentlest setting on your nozzle and do your best to keep the water from getting on the motor. When you’re done, remove the plastic, reassemble your unit and turn on the power once again.
Can you pressure wash AC coils? By this point you should know that the answer is a resounding “no.” However, if you’ve already tried and are experiencing issues with your unit, call the experts at Gene May Heating & Cooling for complete air conditioner services. To learn more about what we can do, contact us for more information or to schedule a service.