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Protect Your AC's Condenser Unit From These Threats

Air Conditioning System On Wall
The condenser unit of your air conditioner, or AC, is vulnerable to all manner of threats because it sits outside the house. The following are some of the threats the condenser unit faces and what you can do to mitigate the threats.
Theft
AC manufacturers use copper as the material for the refrigerant lines. Copper is a good conductor of heat, doesn't corrode easily, and does not react with refrigerant. Copper is also valuable, which makes the condenser unit — often full of copper refrigerant lines — a target for thieves. The thieves strip the copper wires from the unit and sell them to scrapping companies.
Here are a few measures to protect your condenser unit from thieves:
  • Ensure the area around the condenser unit is well-lit.
  • Install a security camera near the condenser unit.
  • Install an AC alarm.
Secure your home in other ways — for example, install a fence and keep a guard dog — to deter would-be copper thieves.
Human Damage
You can accidentally damage the condenser unit through negligence or accidental actions. The condenser fins are particularly fragile and susceptible to damage, so you should handle them carefully. The following measures should help you avoid damage to the condenser unit:
  • Don't put things on top of the unit. Apart from accidental damage to the unit, the objects will also restrict airflow.
  • Be gentle when you clean the coils so that you don't damage them.
  • Direct the mower away from the condenser unit so that debris that the mower might throw off doesn't damage the fins of the condenser.
  • Don't perform DIY service on the AC unless you are sure of your skill level. Otherwise, you might cause damage.
Educate members of your household on the same measures to keep your AC safe.
Animal Damage
Both wild animals and pets can damage your AC. For example, wild animals such as birds and rodents can hide in the outdoor unit and damage its various parts, such as the condenser fins or the fan. The animals also interfere with the free flow of air over the fins, which interferes with the AC's cooling process.
Large animals can urinate on the unit and damage it via corrosion. Dog urine is particularly acidic and can trigger accelerated corrosion on the unit.
The best way to prevent animal-related damage is to fence the unit. Just make sure the fence is not too close to the condenser because that could hinder airflow around the unit and reduce your AC's cooling efficiency.
Weather Damage
Lastly, take measures to reduce the risk of weather-related damage to the condenser unit. Here are some of the direct and indirect ways weather can damage the unit:
  • Storms can break tree branches and uproot trees, causing them to crash on the condenser unit.
  • Windblown debris can damage the condenser fins.
  • Hailstones can also damage the condenser fins.
  • Flood debris can clog the condenser and interfere with heat exchange.
Mild weather may not cause serious damage to your AC's condenser unit, but you should worry about extreme weather. Take the following measures to reduce the risk of weather-related damage:
  • Install the condenser unit on raised ground where floodwater cannot easily affect the unit.
  • Trim trees around the unit and remove weak trees to reduce damage in case of freak weather.
  • Erect a fence around the unit (but leave some space for free flow of air) to prevent damage from windblown debris.
Always inspect the condenser unit for signs of damage after a serious storm or flooding that can cause the unit damage.
Precision Heating & Cooling can assess your AC and advise you on whether the condenser unit is well-protected or if you need to take additional measures. In case your AC has already suffered damage, contact us to diagnose and repair the damage so that you don't suffer uncomfortable temperatures for long.