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AIR QUALITYCOMMON HVAC PROBLEMSCoolingCOST SAVINGSEnergy CostsIN CHARLOTTEMarch 9, 2022Can I Clean an AC Unit or Heat Pump with a Hose?

When your AC or heat pump units are dirty, it can harm the efficiency of the cooling in your home. It can also cause damage or bigger issues in an HVAC system. So, how can you wash and clean outdoor units? Is it ok to use a hose? They are big and expensive electrical machines. Is there a risk to making them short out or some other damage?

It’s no problem to hose off an AC unit or heat pump. It’s one safe way, or part of a good step-by-step process, to clean the units and you should do it once or twice a year. Here are ideas to keep your heating and cooling going nice and clean year-around.

Using a Hose on an AC Unit

It’s perfectly fine to hose down an air conditioner unit, and it’s recommended on a regular basis. A condenser’s main function is drawing in air from outside. It also brings in pollen, dirt, leaves, dust and grass. You can just rinse the unit with running water, rinsing the machine from top to bottom, and it’ll work.

More Ways to Clean an AC Unit

While hosing down your AC condenser unit can certainly have a good impact on its performance, there is more you should do to ensure it is as clean as possible and help its efficiency. Here are some additional pointers on how you can best cleanse your ac unit as well as get it prepared for the warmer months when you’re likely to run it more often.

Spray the Fins

When your AC or heat pump units are dirty, it can harm the efficiency of the cooling in your home.
When your AC or heat pump units are dirty, it can harm the efficiency of the cooling in your home.

While spraying the outside of your AC unit, you can rinse the fins on the inside. Before you begin, remove the fan and decrease the water pressure to a moderate flow.

Another important note, you need to do this on a day where it’s 60 degrees or warmer. 60 is the minimum temperature for properly testing your air conditioning.

For a more thorough cleaning, vacuum the fins before hosing them. You can use a soft brush, but it needs to be soft as the fins are fairly delicate and can be harmed.

Adjustment the Filter

One of the best things you can do keep your HVAC system running right for a long time is proper care for the filters. Keeping good airflow is key to getting effective performance for the longest possible time.

Most recommendations say to change a filter every 90 days. It can depend on how much your system runs, your climate and your lifestyle and home, such as if you have pets. These factors can make it more like each 60 or 30 days for changing filters.

Clean the Evaporator Coils

Cleaning the evaporator coils is a vital part of AC unit ownership. This isn’t the easiest DIY job, though. If you’d rather not risk or deal with it, it’s fine to leave this to an expert and regular maintenance.

However, this isn’t something every person can do, or feels comfy doing. If you ‘d rather not take the opportunity, don’t fret.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Cleaning Outdoor Condenser Coils

Cleaning a heat pump is actually pretty easy. It can take you into cooling season with better efficiency, in-home comfort and lower utility bills.

  1. Turn off the power to the heat pump at the shutoff. It’s usually in a box on an outside wall. Shutoffs can be different depending upon the system. If there is no shutoff box, you can turn off power to the device at the breaker box.
  2. After power is off, clear and clean the space near the unit. The unit needs 2-3 feet of clearance in all directions for good airflow. This may need trimming bushes, cutting grass, picking up trash, or clearing straw or mulch.
  3. When you have the right space cleared around the unit, next remove the external piece of the condenser unit. Depending on what you see, you may want to use a soft brush and vacuum on the fins. Then, you can use a hose to gently rinse the condense fins. If you can’t loosen the top grill or take the fan out, just be careful not to straight hit it with water in a hard stream or hard pressure when cleansing your fins.
  4. Next, you can use a hose to rinse or clear away any buildup. One of the most important things now is you can and should wash off the condenser coil. You can get a condenser cleaner solution product. It’s available at home improvement stores. Any type of soap and running water will work well, too. Brush the coils carefully. Try to get as much of the coils and fins as you can reach, but be careful. You can rinse with water gently.
  5. Replace the outer grill and top grill (if it was lifted). Turn the power back on to the unit. Adjust the thermostat if needed.


At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC and furnace repair, call us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.