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Pull The Top
The photo above is from a video one of my techs took of proper condenser cleaning. I must say, he did a GREAT job of cleaning the coil, and he was very careful with the top. However, I STILL would have liked to see the top get completely removed during a full maintenance procedure. Pulling the top usually just requires disconnecting the fan wires, cutting a few wire ties, taking out some screws, and then removing the fan grille or the entire top and laying it top-down in the grass.
That is ACTUALLY how I performed maintenance, even before I started my own business.
Here is why:
• If you wash from the outside in, you are not doing the best possible cleaning. Everyone knows that washing from the inside out is a superior method of cleaning.
• If you lay the fan on top of the unit (as shown above), you risk twisting/damaging the wires, scratching the paint, and bending the fan blade.
• When you pull the top entirely, you can more easily clean the dirt and leaves from the inside of the condenser; this should also be part of a proper maintenance procedure because that dirt can reduce coil capacity and hold moisture against the base, compressor, and accumulator. That moisture results in corrosion.
• With the top off, you can get a better view of any wire rubouts or potential wire rubouts and address them before they cause a problem.
• You can also visually inspect the compressor terminals for signs of heat and corrosion, potentially preventing a major issue such as a terminal failure or “blowing a terminal.”
Obviously, it will take about 5 minutes longer, and you will need to rewire it properly with the terminals snugly installed.
So, what do you think?
P.S. – Here is the video in case you want to see what I mean, and yes… he knows that cleaner isn't always required when washing a coil, but he used it for demonstration purposes.