Air Conditioning 101: What are Air Conditioner Fins?

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Air conditioning units have various parts that all work together to keep your room cool. These parts include the condenser, capacitor, compressor, evaporator, filter, and even the fins of your air conditioner. In this article, we take a look at what this component does, and how you can upkeep the fins to keep them in good shape!

What are Air Conditioner Fins?

Do air conditioners have fins? While they're called fins, AC fins are basically vents located outside on the outdoor unit. They are also called AC vents or condenser fins, and allow the flow of warm air to be delivered outdoors. The vents also prevent dust and debris from entering the unit, and keep critters out of your air conditioner.

The indoor unit has fins as well, and these are located by the evaporator. They prevent debris from clogging the air conditioner coils, and help in cooling the air that flows out of the unit. Evaporator fins redirect air to the different vents and air ducts within the cooling system, and allow air flow to move around the space.

The Importance of the Air Conditioner Fins

1. Allows Heat to Flow Outdoors

The outdoor condenser fins allow the heat to escape. Without these vents, the heat can get trapped inside the AC unit, causing the air conditioner unit to overheat, and break down. The condenser unit extracts heat from the unit, it flows the hot air through the metal fins, sending the air flow outside.

2. Flows Cool Air Around the Room

The indoor evaporator fins, on the other hand, work with the evaporator coils to direct the air flow into the room. These fins send the air throughout the ducts connected to the air conditioning unit, and help cool the air, acting as a heat exchanger together with the evaporator coil.

3. Prevents Debris from Entering the Air Conditioner

These metal and aluminum fins are often placed close together to form a vent-like pattern. They prevent large debris from entering your air conditioning system, and prevent small critters, like rodents and birds, from making a home inside your AC unit.

Diagnosing Faulty Air Conditioner Fins

#1 Bent Fins

Both condenser and evaporator fins are made from malleable, soft metals, and they are particularly soft. This makes the fins susceptible to bending and breaking, which can interfere with the air flow in and around the unit. You should notice bent fins immediately, as they would present a different position from the rest of the fins.

You can use a thin butter knife to adjust the bent fins back into place, but be sure to read the instruction manual of your air conditioning system before doing any kind of troubleshooting work, and unplug the unit before working on your AC fins.

#2 Blocked Air Conditioner Fins

Sometimes, the air conditioner fins can get blocked by large pieces of debris. They may also accumulate a layer of dust that will block airflow around the unit. If you notice your air conditioner is having a hard time flowing air circulation in and out of your unit, your fins may be blocked or clogged.

This has a relatively easy fix, as you will simply need to clean your air conditioner condenser and evaporator fins to get the AC unit up and running again. Outdoor air conditioners can be cleaned with a spray from the garden hose, but you must clean the indoor unit dry with a vacuum cleaner instead.

How to Clean Air Conditioner Fins

Always clean air conditioner fins using a fin comb. You can find an air conditioner fin comb online, and use this to clean the AC fins. Brush the fin comb across the fins, following the direction of the metal fins. Use a vacuum cleaner to clear away the debris falling from the fins, and make sure to fix any bent fins before you clean.

You may also disinfect the air conditioning system, and its fins, with an AC disinfectant, a diluted bleach solution, or hydrogen peroxide. Simply place the solution in a spray bottle, and spray the filter, coils, and fins to sanitize them. As always, fix any bent fins before you sanitize your AC unit to make sure you hit every spot.

Fin Maintenance

Got problems with your AC system? Contact us at Luce Aircon, and we can have an experienced service technician drop by and check your unit! Whether you need a good aircon cleaning, or you're looking to repair damaged fins, our team is ready to assist you for any issues you may have with your unit.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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