Dealing With Bent A/C Condenser Fins
If you look closely at the backside of your window-mounted air conditioner or through your central A/C system's condenser cabinet, you'll notice row after tiny row of fins lining the condenser. These fins allow air to flow through the condenser coil, taking your home's latent heat with it.
Since these fins are made from very thin aluminum, it's exceptionally easy to bend and damage the fins. Bent fins not only block crucial air flow, but they also allow debris to get stuck inside of the A/C unit with nowhere to go. The following shows how you can fix bent A/C fins without much drama.
Repairing Bent Fins
You'll need a fin tool to straighten out the A/C fins that have been damaged due to hail strikes, small rodents or accidental contact with the condenser cabinet. This tool comes in the form of a comb with several interchangeable heads denoted in fins per inch (or FPI). The FPI you'll need depends on the brand and type of air conditioner you have.
Start by shutting off power at the electrical service disconnect box. Afterwards, remove the fan cover, condenser fan and protective grille to expose the condenser coil. You can also take this moment to scoop out fallen leaves and debris from the bottom of the condenser cabinet.
Place the tool at the bottom of the condenser coil, making sure that each fin is surrounded by each tooth on the fin tool. Start the process by pulling the tool from bottom to top. This keeps the tool from contacting the ground as you work, plus it prevents the tool from stopping short. Work the tool straight up and down in a clockwise direction until you've straightened the last section of bent fins.
What to Do About Broken Fins?
If the A/C fins are damaged to the point at which they've completely fallen off or corroded away, then you may have to have the entire condenser replaced. There's currently no fix that can replace individual fins without compromising the performance and efficiency of your A/C system.
How to Prevent Future Damage
Once you've made your repairs, it's a good idea to avoid further contact with the condenser coil fins. If you have to clean the condenser coil, you can minimize contact by using a foaming no-rinse coil cleaner. You can also place a protective screen around the condenser to prevent small animals from damaging the coils as they climb on top of the unit.
For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Phil's Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.