#1 Reason for Central Air Conditioning Not Cooling Properly

Common Air Conditioner Problems

Hey guys, Jay here with Word of Advice TV. I know this is kind of an old topic already, but I feel like I have to bring it up at least one more time, and that is one of the most common air conditioner problems—especially where I live. This last July, it was cottonwood season, and you betcha when it’s cottonwood season, the outside unit gets really dirty. So, one of the main reasons why the air conditioner stops working or stops cooling as well as it used to is simply because it gets all plugged up on the outside.

Cleaning the Outside Unit

So, I’m just going to show you what you can do to get that to work normally again or, at least, if you’re not sure what it is, this is definitely a first easy step to take to see if that’s your problem. All you need to clean your outside unit is just some hose and water.

Optimally, you do want to clean it from the inside out, but you could also spray it from the outside in, and that gets the job done too. I just want to point out that sometimes even when the unit looks clean, it’s actually all dirty inside between the fins. So on the outside, it may look clean, but it may be dirty still. If you’re having problems with your unit—even if it looks clean but you haven’t washed it for a while—I would recommend still washing it.

Removing the Top and Washing the Fins

Let’s go ahead and take this top off and then wash it from the inside out; I’ll show you an example of that. Now, before you proceed, definitely turn the power off. You don’t want the fan to turn on as you’re trying to do this, so it’s either a disconnect or a breaker, or just turn it off at your thermostat.

But, we’ll turn that off right here, and now we can take this and flip it out. Usually, I like to just put it on its backside and let it hang out like this. Then, after you’re done, you can simply put it back.

As you can see, the condenser fins on the coil aren’t too dirty. I’ve seen way worse than that sometimes—there’s like up to an inch of accumulation of different kinds of stuff, like cottonwood, dirt, dust, and whatever else leaves that get sucked in there because the unit is sucking in the air from the sides and then ejecting it out from the top.

So, we want to get all that washed up and cleaned up. Just one thing I want to point out: if you look at these fins right here, it’s just made of really thin sheets of metal. You don’t want to use too much pressure in your water—if you have a power washer, definitely don’t use it on your unit, as these fins will get bent up. I prefer to use my finger without a nozzle because a lot of nozzles have pressure that’s a little too strong and can bend these fins. On some units, these fins are flimsier than others.

Don’t Overdo It

Another thing I want to say is: you don’t have to get too excited about cleaning the coil. You want to wash it down good, if possible inside and out, but if there’s a little bit of stuff remaining, that’s okay. As long as you got most of it cleaned, you should be good.

I also go to many houses with a ton of bushes all around their unit. By code, you should have at least two feet of clearance on all sides of the unit—from the top and all the sides. So, if you have a bunch of bushes all around your unit, they’re all getting sucked up into it. I would recommend trimming all around it so that your unit can breathe well.

And that’s that! I’m going to go ahead and put this fan back on, and this unit is going to run like a champ. By the way, whenever you’re hosing the unit down, don’t be spraying the motor too much. Even though it’s a sealed motor, you don’t want water to get inside of there; otherwise, there is potential that it can start to rust. So try not to spray the motor if it’s in there, and you don’t have to let it dry before you turn the unit back on.


Well, that is all I had for this video. Thank you so much for watching. I hope you found it useful and got some good information out of it. If you still have some questions about cleaning, please let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to mash that like button on the way out, and I will see you next time.

And if you’re still here, let me leave you with a puzzle. If you’re able to solve this, well, consider me impressed! This puzzle was pretty hard; I thought I had it for sure, but I didn’t. I’ll leave it up for about 30 seconds; if you need more time, just pause the video. The answer will be in the description. Good luck!

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