Why You Should Clean Your Condenser Coil (If it’s Dirty)

condenser diagram

Failing to keep the condenser coil clean on your outside air conditioning unit is typically going to result in one of three unpleasant options:

  1. Expensive air conditioning repairs
  2. Having to replace your air conditioner
  3. Wasting money on higher energy bills

Your condenser is the part of your air conditioning system that sits out side, usually it’s on the ground. The condenser coil is the outer surface of the unit, and you can see the coil through the fins in the metal housing that protects the it.

Dirty Condenser Coils Will Cause Expensive Repairs

bye bye money leishman

Your air conditioner (the condenser) is constantly exposed to dust, dirt, and all sorts of debris because it sits outside exposed to the elements.

When you condenser coil gets dirty it can cause your AC system to freeze over or ‘ice up.’ The inside of your evaporative coil becomes choked with ice buildup, and will no longer be able to cool your home. You’ll notice that the air coming out of your vents isn’t cold anymore, and the airflow will eventually be reduced to a trickle. When a dirty condenser coil causes your system to freeze over like this, it can seriously damage the compressor inside your air conditioning unit (the condenser).

If you’re ever unfortunate enough to have to replace your compressor, you can expect to spend $2,500 – $3,500 in order to have any of the highly-respected, reputable hating and air repair companies in Denver replace it for you.

What if your compressor is still under warranty? Most manufacturers warranty the compressors in their AC units for anywhere from 5 – 10 years. However… every manufacturer has the same language in their warranty documents, and they will not honor warranty claims for parts that failed due to neglect. Not cleaning a dirty condenser coil definitely counts as neglecting to maintain the unit, and the manufacturer will not warranty the bad compressor, no matter which brand of AC unit you have.

So you have the compressor replaced, guess what? Now you’re still going to need to have the condenser coil cleaned anyway. If not, you won’t have any sort of warranty on that expensive new compressor you just installed.

Either way, you’re going to have to clean your condenser coil when it gets dirty. The only question is do you want to have the coil cleaned before or after it causes thousands of dollars worth of damage to your air conditioner.

Dirty Condenser Coil Cleaning vs. New AC Unit

money toilet paper

Let’s say you neglected cleaning your dirty condenser coil, and it ruins the compressor in your AC unit. If your AC unit happens to be more than 7 or 8 years old, you’ll most likely be better off replacing your air conditioning system instead of just the compressor. There’s only one situation where it might make sense to spend $2,500 – $3,500 repairing an older AC unit, and that’s if you happen to be selling your house.

In every other situation, installing a new air conditioning system (the condenser, evaporative coil, and refrigerant lines) is the most sensible option. So how much is this going to cost you? Assuming you want your new air conditioner installed by one of the well-known, reputable HVAC companies in Denver, you can expect to spend anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $10,000 depending on the size of your home, the SEER rating of the AC unit you install, and which one of Denver’s reputable HVAC companies you choose to install it.

Having to replace your air conditioner 6 or 7 years earlier than you should is a steep price to pay for not cleaning your dirty condenser coil, but that’s what can happen.

Dirty Condenser Coils Burn Money On Utilities

blown away high bills

Once your condenser coil gets coated with dust, your whole HVAC system has to work a lot harder to maintain temperature levels inside your home. When your system is forced to work harder, it uses more energy than it normally would. Your AC unit will run considerably longer and more frequently than it should, which results in higher utility bills. The extra money you would end up wasting on higher utility bills can often more than pay for the cost of having your condenser coil cleaned.


Some companies will try to convince you to clean your condenser coil even if it isn’t really dirty. If you focus on hiring one of the more professional air duct cleaning companies in Denver, you won’t have to worry about this. Companies that don’t engage in bait & switch pricing for their air duct cleaning service are much more trustworthy when they make recommendations.

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