How to Clean Air Conditioner Fins

How to clean air conditioner fins Last updated: 9/16/2023 and reviewed by our team of HVAC professionals

While it’s true that most air conditioning repairs should be left to the professionals, there are certain things you can do to keep your AC unit running smoothly. An essential part of AC maintenance is keeping the air conditioning fins clean. 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 Are Air Conditioner Fins?

Air conditioner fins serve two key purposes: keeping the unit safe from weather, debris and lawn maintenance equipment like lawn mowers 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:

Condenser Fins

The condenser fins are thin metal slats that run along the outline of your exterior AC unit. The purpose of the condenser fins is to move warm air away from the air conditioner while it’s running. It’s important to keep these exterior fins clean so that your AC can run efficiently, especially during sweltering days when your unit may continuously be running.

Evaporator Fins

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. 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.

How to Clean Air Conditioner Fins with an AC Fin Comb

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. Because they are delicate, it’s very important that homeowners never use harsh methods like power washing to clean any part of an air conditioning unit.

What Is an AC Fin Comb and How Do I Use It?

The best approach to cleaning AC fins is to use an air conditioner fin comb, or AC fin comb, to gently clean both the condenser and evaporator fins. An AC fin comb is a small tool with soft bristles made for delicately cleaning both the exterior and interior fins of your AC unit.

At Aire Serv®, we recommend homeowners inspect their exterior central air conditioner units twice a year, in spring and fall. Checking the unit during the shoulder season will allow homeowners to look for dirt, leaves and other debris. After removing any sticks, leaves or weeds around the outside of your unit, homeowners should use an AC fin comb to clean every fin individually.

Trust Aire Serv with the Repair and Maintenance of Your Central Air Conditioner

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.