I was cleaning my home air conditioner condenser this weekend and it occurred to me that not everyone knows to do this. To obtain long life and maintain efficiency of an air conditioner it is important to be sure the condenser stays as clean as possible. It is easy to do, just get a good strong jet of water coming from your hose and hose off the coils on the condensing unit located outside the house. Get all the grass clippings, spider webs, pollen, etc. washed off. This will help the condenser transfer the heat in the Freon to the atmosphere and thus reduce the load on the AC keeping you cooler and using less electricity. For this same reason it is advisable to replace the home furnace filter at the beginning of the cooling season. That helps keep the AC evaporator coil inside the furnace clean and efficient. He same is true for your car AC. It is a good idea to be sure the evaporator and condenser are kept clean. The car wash helps with the condenser and the cabin filter protects the evaporator.
If you want to know the why of this tip read further if not, that is OK.
AC systems work by compressing Freon to a high pressure which also increases it temperature since the energy of compression is added to the Freon and the Freon heat energy is contained in a smaller compressed volume. The compressed Freon gas is cooled in the condenser to become a liquid as the heat energy is transferred through the coils and fins of the condenser to the atmosphere. The Freon is then expanded through an orifice into the evaporator core, a radiator like device. As the Freon expands into a gas it cools because its heat energy has more space to occupy. The evaporator coil becomes cold and can then cool the air that is blown over it. The expanded Freon leaves the evaporator returning to the compressor to start the cycle all over again. If either the condenser or the evaporator gets dirty they become less efficient at transferring energy or “heat” thus the system has to work harder.