Keeping the outside units of air conditioners clean from dust, debris and leaves helps the system to operate with greater efficiency. Trimming landscaping to allow proper airflow helps to prevent future problems.
Before beginning any work on an air conditioning system, the owner should ensure power to both the inside and outside units is off at the electrical panel. Most units use 220 volts of electricity, which can be fatal to humans.
Grass and weeds tend to grow around the unit and require trimming. Any vines that grow around the unit require removal.
Air conditioning coil cleaning products are available at most refrigeration stores. These products help to remove oxidation that causes the system to lose efficiency. They include instructions for application and flushing of the product without damaging the condenser.
A soft brush helps to remove debris that collect between the fins. If any of the fins are bent, the owner should straighten them with a fin comb from the appliance store. The fins are made of aluminum and easy to damage, so it is essential to use caution.
The compressor pad should be level. If a carpenter's level indicates settling, the owner should lift it with a pry bar and place gravel under the low end to keep it level.