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As children, lots of us may have had the urge to mash down those thin aluminum fins we see on an A/C unit. It’s an interesting sensation to the touch and you may have even noticed where someone has attempted to spell a word out by mashing them down. Most look at this as minor annoyance, or something that’s not necessarily vandalism, but not harmless either. It may surprise you to know that the closing of those fins is in fact a very serious issue that can lead to costly repairs or even the early failure of your HVAC unit. SPECS Refrigeration in Lubbock wants to help keep you from having to pay for costly maintenance or replacement.

For HVAC and refrigeration systems that have exposed condensing units (the large cube shaped machine outside of homes or businesses) the exposed grill-like fins on the outside actually serve a very important purpose. These fins allow the heat that is removed from the refrigerant inside the condenser coil to escape back into the outside air. This causes the coil itself to become extremely cold and cool the air that is circulated back into your business or home. When these fins become closed, whether by hand, weather occurrence such as hail, or becoming clogged with dirt and debris, the air flow is then restricted which causes a decrease in efficiency for the entire system. 

When the A/C or refrigeration system has to work overtime to compensate for the decreased air flow, this leads to unnecessary wear and tear that can result in parts failing and even an entire system failure. Having closed condenser coil fins is one of the quickest ways to cause compressor failure. This can lead to a high-cost replacement bill. Another potential hazard to condenser coils that might be surprising, but that happens all too often, is dogs urinating on the condenser. Dogs instinctively attempt to cover the scent of other dogs, and condensing units are a frequent, unfortunate target of this. When dog urine gets onto the fins and into the condenser system, it causes severe corrosion and eats away at the metal causing irreparable damage. Keep this in mind the next time you are walking your dog to minimize risk of damage to yours or your neighbor’s A/C systems. 

While condenser fins becoming closed or damaged is a common occurrence and is at times unavoidable, there are options to decrease the risk of condenser coil fin damage. One option is to place a well-ventilated border around your unit such as a small fence. This allows air to escape, while keeping at bay leaves, debris, people, and pets. Once your condensing unit or evaporator fins become closed however, it’s important to have this repaired quickly, to minimize the extra work that your unit is doing. 

At SPECS Refrigeration, we offer coil combing services where our technicians use a thin plastic comb to delicately straighten out these aluminum fins without scratching or damaging the inner machinery and helping ease the stress on your system. Due to their delicate nature, there is a point where your condenser or evaporator coil fins become too damaged to repair. When this happens, SPECS Refrigeration is always available to help you with replacement. 

SPECS is a licensed dealer for Trane, the leading name in residential and commercial HVAC manufacturing. Our technicians have years of experience performing service, repair, and installation of commercial and residential HVAC systems of all kinds. If your unit is in a bind, call SPECS and we’ll keep you cool this summer!

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