Repairing Guides

how to repair ac fins

by Prof. Josiah McClure PhD Published 2 years ago Updated 1 year ago
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  • Disconnect power to your air conditioner before doing any work to the outside air conditioner’s bent fins.
  • Remove the access panel and wire grille to expose the fins.
  • Remove screws and gently lift out the fan and grille.
  • Take off the front cover plate to the evaporator coil.
  • Match the fin tool’s head with the number of fins per inch on the system.
  • Starting at the bottom of the fins, insert the fin tool and move upwards carefully to straighten.

Part of a video titled How To Straighten Your A/C Condenser Fins - YouTube
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With this special tool that i have here. So your air conditioner has these little uh fins i thinkMoreWith this special tool that i have here. So your air conditioner has these little uh fins i think it's all made out of aluminum. And they're very easily bent out of place or or misshaped.

Full Answer

How can I safely clean my AC unit?

Safely Cleaning My AC Unit

  1. Turn Off The Power Supply – You need to first disconnect your AC unit from its power source. ...
  2. Clean Outside Of The Unit First – Before trying to clean the unit inside, you need to first clean its outside. ...
  3. Clean The Filter – Remove the front cover of the AC unit by unscrewing the plastic screws or pulling it open. ...

More items...

How to keep your AC clean?

The technician should:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil

More items...

How to clean condenser fins on an air conditioner?

  • Screwdrivers. You will need a flat head and Phillips screwdriver. ...
  • Dropcloth or towels. Cleaning your AC isn’t the driest chore you have. ...
  • Latex or rubber gloves. Some of the materials and solvents used can dry out your skin or cause irritation. ...
  • Eye protection. ...
  • Coil cleaner. ...
  • Garden hose and nozzle. ...
  • AC fin comb. ...
  • Wire brush. ...
  • Propane torch. ...

How often should I clean my top fin?

Top Fin AlgaeGone can be mixed in a bucket of pond water and dispersed evenly around the pond. Repeat dose every 3 days until algae is controlled. Siphon or scrape any dead algae from aquarium. ... How often should you clean your turtle tank? At least once a week: Replace some of the water in the tank with clean water. Even if your turtles ...

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Can AC fins be replaced?

Repairing or Replacing Damaged Condenser Fins Even though these fins are delicate, they are easy to fix, and it won't cost a lot. All you need is a condenser fin “comb”. These fins can also be repaired when you have a service performed on your air conditioner.

What happens if AC fins are damaged?

If the fins are damaged, it won't be able to perform this essential cooling process. Heat will remain trapped inside the refrigerant and, therefore, your home's HVAC system. Your air conditioner may still turn on, but it won't perform at its fullest potential.

What happens if AC fins bent?

When condenser fins or evaporator fins are bent or when they get clogged it causes a major restriction in air flow that would usually pass through the air conditioning system, which means a decrease in efficiency for the entire AC.

How much does it cost to replace AC fins?

Evaporator Coil Replacement Cost by Tonnage or SizeSizeUnit PriceTotal*1.5 – 2.0 ton$200 – $900$300 – $1,3002.5 ton$250 – $1,100$350 – $1,5003.0 ton$300 – $1,350$400 – $1,7503.5 ton$350 – $1,500$450 – $1,9002 more rows

Does straightening AC fins help?

When the outside air conditioner's fins are straight, heat can easily escape the evaporator coil into the outdoor environment. Straight fins make the cooling process more efficient, and protects your air conditioner's delicate components from damage.

Why do AC fins get bent?

These fins can bend from pressure washing, hail, tree debris, careless weed eating procedures, twigs and rocks. Although it's best to call an HVAC pro when your HVAC fins are bent, here's a brief guide on how the job is done.

How do you fix a bent coil fin?

0:341:24Straightening Condenser Coil Fins: An Easy Technique - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipPlace the fin comb above the damaged area pull in a downward motion. And this should help straightenMorePlace the fin comb above the damaged area pull in a downward motion. And this should help straighten the fins.

What are AC fins made of?

However, the vast majority of HVAC coils that you see are built with copper tubes and aluminum fins. That combination offers the most effective heat transfer at the most efficient cost.

Do fin combs work?

Fin combs are useful on virtually any air conditioner that has a condenser, so long as the comb is adequate for the fins' size. A radiator fin comb might be better for some car cooling systems, depending on the size of the fins. Fin combs aren't exclusive to central AC/heating units, either.

What causes AC coils to rust?

More often than not, the corrosion occurs as a chemical reaction with the coil from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contain fluoride, chloride, or acetic or formic acids. Product like plywood, cleaning solvents, detergents, adhesives, and some carpeting and fabrics contain these acids.

How long should an AC unit last?

15 to 20 yearsWhile every unit is different, and every homeowner has a different understanding of when their central air conditioner is broken beyond repair, it's fair to say that, with proper maintenance and care, you can expect a good 15 to 20 years of cooling from a new high efficiency air conditioning system.

Can AC coils be repaired?

If you've got a damaged air conditioner coil, a number of things can happen. If it's early stages and the coil is simply bent or broken, then a repair might be the most cost- and time-effective route to take. However, it's fairly common for a coil to be damaged not due to a bump or bend, but due to corrosion.

What happens if AC coils are bent?

Air conditioner condenser fins or coils Heavily bent or damaged ones restrict the air flow or may affect the efficiency of the unit, although many of these units keep on functioning and cooling.

What causes coils Bend?

0:353:28Fixing the bent coils of your air conditioner - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipThese little metal brackets or these little metal pieces in here which is your vent or your or yourMoreThese little metal brackets or these little metal pieces in here which is your vent or your or your coil I'm sorry get bent up it restricts the air flow coming through it.

What are coil fins?

The fins on a coil accomplish two major functions: they straighten the air out as it comes in contact with the entering-air side of the coil, and they perform some of the heat transfer. Understand the basics of finned tube coils and maximize coil capacity and efficiency.

How much does it cost to fix an AC condenser?

AC Condenser Repair & Replacement Costs The average AC condenser repair and replacement job costs around $650. If the unit isn't under warranty, you might pay around $1,300 or more for a full replacement. Most homeowners end up paying between $700 and $4,000 to get their AC system up and running again.

How to straighten air conditioner fins?

It’s important that the aluminum cooling fins on an air conditioner compressor are straight and even to allow the unit to cool efficiently. If the fins on your AC are bent: 1 Slightly Bent Fins: Run a stiff, plastic, bristle brush back and forth to straighten fins that are partially bent. 2 Badly Bent Fins: Use a putty knife to straighten badly bent fins, being careful not to break or damage the fins.

What to do if you find crushed fins?

Now, if you find any fins that are completely crushed you can very carefully straighten them out with a putty knife. But, again, be careful because you don’t want to damage the fins.

How to straighten bent fins?

Slightly Bent Fins: Run a stiff, plastic, bristle brush back and forth to straighten fins that are partially bent.

What to do when compressor gets damaged?

And here’s one way, with a stiff bristle plastic brush. This one’s made for cleaning tile and grout. What you need to do is just run the brush up and down the fins using quite a bit of pressure.

Can you straighten a fin?

Now, it’s never going to be perfect, but you can straighten them out so that at least it’s operating pretty efficiently. Now, if you find any fins that are completely crushed you can very carefully straighten them out with a putty knife. But, again, be careful because you don’t want to damage the fins.

What are the fins on a condenser?

The fins on the condenser assist with the movement of air away from the coil. Rapid air movement pulls heat out of the circulating refrigerant. Clean fins ensure good airflow and efficient cooling. On the other hand, clogged fins reduce airflow and force the system to work harder and not perform as designed.

How to line up cooling fin comb?

Line up the cooling fin comb with the fins above any bent fins.

How long should a fan motor be wired?

The wiring of the fan motor should have enough length to let you shift the top aside enough to access the interior. Take care not to disrupt wiring.

Do you vacuum across fins?

Working up and down in the same direction as the fins, pull dirt out of the crevices. Do NOT vacuum across fins because that could bend them. They are delicate.

How long does it take to fix an AC unit?

When central air conditioning service fails during a heat spell, you may have to wait days for an HVAC repair technician or an ac contractor to show up, and you’ll probably pay at least several hundred for the repair. But if you’re comfortable working around electricity and are willing to spend about $50 on parts, you can probably repair your air conditioning service yourself in about two hours and save about $225 on parts markup and labor.

How to remove crud buildup under a condenser?

Aim your garden nozzle upward into the top of the condenser coil to remove the crud buildup under the lid.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling the House?

Set your thermostat to AC mode and lower the temperature setting. If the furnace fan kicks in, the problem isn’t in the furnace. If the fan doesn’t run, try resetting the furnace circuit breaker. If the fan still won’t start, call a pro — the fixes shown here won’t work.

What is the AC unit in a home?

Central home air conditioner service systems consist of two major components: a condensing unit that sits outside your house, and the evaporator coil (often referred to as an A-coil) that sits in the plenum of your furnace or air handler. The refrigerant in the A-coil picks up the heat from your home and moves it to the outdoor condensing unit. The condensing unit fan blows outside air through the condensing coil to remove the heat. The condensing unit houses the three parts replaceable by a DIYer: the AC contactor, the start/run capacitor (s) and the condenser fan motor. The condensing unit also houses the compressor, but only a pro can replace that. The A-coil has no parts that can be serviced by a DIYer.

How to disconnect a condensing unit?

Open the electrical box next to the condensing unit and pull the disconnect block straight out.

What to do if compressor doesn't start?

If the compressor starts but the fan doesn't, the fan motor is most likely shot. Shut off the power and remove the screws around the condenser cover. Lift the cover and remove the fan blade and motor. Reinstall the blade and secure the cover. Then repower the unit and see if the fan starts.

What does a blown fuse on a condensing unit mean?

Many disconnect blocks contain two cartridge fuses. Check them before you proceed with repairs. A blown fuse is a sign of a failing part inside the condensing unit. So don't just replace it and think you've solved the problem. Instead, replace the parts, install new fuses, and fire up the unit. If it blows again, call a pro—you've got more serious issues.

How to keep pets from peeing on metal?

Pets should be kept from urinating on the fins and coils. The acid in the urine is very strong and will cause deterioration of the metal fins. Adding a small decorative fence around a unit will help keep pets back.

What happens if a unit is bent?

Heavily bent or damaged ones restrict the air flow or may affect the efficiency of the unit, although many of these units keep on functioning and cooling.

Can you leave a fin in an HVAC?

Bent or damaged fins are usually left as they are, however, an HVAC contractor can knowledgeably advise a buyer about this condition.

How to clean a R22 condenser coil?

A non acid foaming coil cleaner is your best option at this point. Once the fins are gone the coils will still exchange some heat but not be very efficient. R22 is getting very expensive ( around $100 per pound) . Since the coils are damaged cleaning all 3 sides will help the system Cool possibly for a few more years. I would not try to add epoxy or other adhesives to the coil. Cleaning with a foaming cleaner and low pressure water (no pressure washers) just a garden hose may stop the corrosion and improve the condenser coil's heat exchange.

How many hours a year does the AC run?

We only use the AC a few days per year, 100 hours per year at most, so short of regaining cooling capacity, it would be worth the effort if I could do something keep the corrosion from eating away at the R22 pipes themselves.

How much does it cost to clean a R22?

Once the fins are gone the coils will still exchange some heat but not be very efficient. R22 is getting very expensive ( around $100 per pound) . Since the coils are damaged cleaning all 3 sides will help the system Cool possibly for a few more years.

What are the fins on an air conditioner?

Air conditioner fins serve two key purposes: keeping the unit safe from weather, debris and lawn maintenance equipment like lawn mo wers and weed whackers, and air conditioner fins also help move warm air away from the unit to keep the air conditioner running efficiently. Learn more about condenser and evaporator fins:

What is the job of AC fins?

The job of air conditioner fins is to keep air flowing smoothly in and out of your AC unit, and keeping them clean helps them do this.

What is the purpose of condenser fins?

The purpose of the condenser fins is to move warm air away from the air conditioner while it’s running.

Why is my AC unit not cooling?

When the evaporator fins become dirty or clogged with debris, the air coming through your vents could become significantly warmer, meaning your AC unit is using more energy and not sufficiently cooling your home.

Where are the evaporator fins located?

The evaporator fins are located inside the interior of your air conditioner around the evaporator , forming an “A” shape. These interior fins are responsible for cooling the outside air and sending it through your ducts and vents to cool your home.

Do you need to clean the fins of an AC?

To make sure your central air conditioner isn’t working harder than it needs to, it’s essential to keep both the interior and exterior AC fins clean. Air conditioner fins are delicate and can be bent easily, which can lead to costly, but necessary repairs.

Does Aire Serv do AC repair?

At Aire Serv, we understand that HVAC maintenance might not be at the top of your list and that units tucked into a basement closet or are housed outside are easily neglected – which is why we specialize in HVAC repair and maintenance services designed to meet the needs of the most and least attentive homeowners. If you need help cleaning your AC unit or have broken fins that need to be replaced, you need Aire Serv. Find an Aire Serv location near you or schedule an appointment online to get started.

What happens when the fins of an air conditioner are damaged?

If the fins are damaged, this heat transfer becomes inefficient. The system has to work harder to compensate. More work equals energy inefficiency.

What is a fin in a refrigerant?

The fins are plates attached to the tube. The heat in the refrigerant goes to the copper tube wall, and is then transferred to the larger surface area of the fin. The air from the fan motor passes across these fins, taking the heat away in the air.

Is copper good for refrigerant?

Copper is great for heat transfer. The heat from the home is dissipated by pulling air across the tube, and then out of the unit. When the compressor is on, you have the fan blowing this hot air out of the top. As I said copper is great, but we really want to get as much heat out of the refrigerant that we can.

Do you need to replace the evaporator coil?

To be honest, a new compressor with a more efficient motor is the bes option if you are looking to improve your overall energy efficiency. You do not absolutely have to replace the evaporator coil, but the evaporator coil and compressor have to work together, so ask if they are compatible. If you have a little damage, avoid causing more.

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