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Cool And Clean: Keeping A Split Air Conditioner's Outdoor Condenser Clean And Free Of Pathogens

A split air conditioner system can be a tremendous boon for people living in the hottest parts of Australia, with the outdoor condenser unit ensuring that none of the hot air it vents makes it back inside your home or place of business. However, while placing your condenser outside can significantly improve efficiency, it also means that you will have to protect your condenser from dirt, mould, bacteria and other nasty pathogens. The moist environment found inside a condenser can become a haven for all kinds of breeding microbes without a little care and attention; fortunately, there are many different ways you can ensure that your condenser is kept as clean and microbe-free as possible.

Antiseptic sprays

These cleaning sprays are similar to those used by professional air conditioner cleaning services, and contain various antiseptic and antimicrobial compounds that can wipe out the vast majority of pathogens that may lurk in your condenser. These sprays are relatively inexpensive and easy to find (most air conditioning suppliers carry them, and may even throw in free cleaning sprays with a new A/C unit),

However, for these sprays to be properly used you will have to disassemble your condenser, leaving you with no cooling until the process is safely completed. You may also have trouble disassembling the unit without damaging and bending the fragile cooling vanes inside; using a vane straightening comb to repair minor damage can be effective, but more serious vane-bending issues should be repaired professionally. If you tackle the job yourself, make sure to attach a wash bag to your condenser before cleaning, to catch leaks and any parts of the condenser.

Cleaning fluids 

These fluids are similar in function to antiseptic sprays, and are also carried by most air conditioner dealers. However, these fluids are suitable for more heavy duty cleaning tasks in large or neglected condenser units, and form a powerful cleaning 'foam' on contact with your condenser's internal surfaces. These fluids are similar in price to sprays and are very easy to use; simply apply the liquid to the cooling vanes and wait for the cleaner to do its work.

However, using these fluids can cause the same problems with accidental damage as sprays can, so you may wish to call in professionals if you are not confident in their use. You should also make sure to rinse away any deposits left behind after cleaning, as they can cause corrosion and clog your conditioner's filters if left behind to dry.

UV lights

These special light bulbs are housed within your condenser, and use intense ultraviolet light to sterilise the cooling vanes and other parts of the condenser that routinely handle moisture. These bulbs draw little power and will not significantly affect your energy bills -- indeed, many modern air conditioners are sold with sterilising bulbs fitted as standard, although they can be fitted to most bulb-less models relatively easily.

Unfortunately, the overall effectiveness of these bulbs is somewhat limited, as they are more suited to killing mould spores and fungal growth than they are bacteria and viruses.  They also do nothing to reduce the buildup of dirt and grit in an outdoor condenser that can significantly undermine efficiency, so you will still have to open the condenser up to clean it on occasion. 

For more information, talk to a professional like ACSIS Airconditioning Warehouse.