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Air con compressor cleaning

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Steve1960
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Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:50 pm

Had our air con serviced yesterday and the contractor said the outside compressor fins need cleaning as they are pretty clogged up. His suggestion was to wait until we have a heavy downpour of rain and wash down the intake fins with water. Of course that would be my job as I can hardly book an appointment for him to come when it rains!

So I was thinking of less messy options. Soft brush vacuum clean and then steam clean with dust sheets down? I could probably get away with that without waiting until it rains or trying to ask the people in the 23 floors below to close their windows and not hang clothes out to dry for a couple of hours.

How do people get their compressors cleaned in HDB blocks?

bgd
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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby bgd » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:52 pm

They get the maid to do it ;-)

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 1:02 pm

LMAO

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Primrose Hill » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 1:55 pm

tarzan

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby maneo » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 4:32 pm

bgd wrote:They get the maid to do it ;-)

Cute.

Getting real, no one should be out there if the compressors are on the typical ledge with no railing.
Even professionals must have safety gear to work in high locations.

So, how were you thinking of doing this?

Have you checked with the building management for suggestions?
If they don't have any good ideas, and if you can get out there safely, you could spray the fins with some cleaning solution (nothing aggressive) just before an impending downpour to make it easier to clean.

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby x9200 » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 6:09 pm

Is it really designed to take a steady pour of water lateral from its radiator side? I know these units go outdoor but it could be a different case when water pours mostly from above.
Basically, I have the same problem but my units on the ledge are reasonably accessible from the yard.

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Re: RE: Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 7:18 pm

x9200 wrote:Is it really designed to take a steady pour of water lateral from its radiator side? I know these units go outdoor but it could be a different case when water pours mostly from above.
Basically, I have the same problem but my units on the ledge are reasonably accessible from the yard.

Outdoor units / compressor are meant to be washed, per my apprentice notes.

Unless something changed in the manufacturing process

I suspect a contractor short of certified staff to go on the ledge, or lady, rather than saying no, he can't do it, is giving suggestions.

The primary capacitor and gas bleed valves are in the outdoor unit.

And the more dirty the outdoor is, the more inefficient it is in hear exchanging.

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby x9200 » Tue, 29 Sep 2015 7:41 pm


Steve1960
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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 30 Sep 2015 7:35 am

maneo wrote:
Getting real, no one should be out there if the compressors are on the typical ledge with no railing.
Even professionals must have safety gear to work in high locations.

So, how were you thinking of doing this?

Have you checked with the building management for suggestions?
If they don't have any good ideas, and if you can get out there safely, you could spray the fins with some cleaning solution (nothing aggressive) just before an impending downpour to make it easier to clean.


Well the compressor is on the typical small balcony with a railing and I go out there quite regularly to clean up the stuff people above throw out of their windows. So I don't have great concerns about getting out there and being safe.

Your suggestion would not work as the compressor is largely protected from rain by the small balcony above but thanks anyway.

Building management in this case I guess is the HDB. Maybe I should ask their advice.

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 30 Sep 2015 7:40 am

x9200 wrote:Is it really designed to take a steady pour of water lateral from its radiator side? I know these units go outdoor but it could be a different case when water pours mostly from above.
Basically, I have the same problem but my units on the ledge are reasonably accessible from the yard.


Advice from our air con guy is to direct the water flow from above at a slight angle and wash top to bottom. Personally I would think the best way to clean the compressor air intake fins would be to remove the cover and wash from the inside out forcing the dirt out of the fins rather than potentially deeper into them. Of course he couldn't suggest I do that and clearly does not want to do it himself!

Yes everything I read on the Internet suggests it is OK to steadily pour water on the intake fins. If there are any concerns it is more related to the force if water, steam, brushing or whatever damaging the delicate fins.

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby x9200 » Wed, 30 Sep 2015 7:59 am

Yep, agree. I would too expect the dirt profile is thicker from outside so showering from outside pushes the dirt deeper and longer way, but I am not going to take the risk of playing with it on the 25th floor unsecured ledge especially in the pouring rain.

One point to emphasize and already mentioned by maneo - be careful what sort of detergents (if any) are used. These are aluminium fins, perhaps coated but even if, it would be a very thin coating, and aluminium is not resistant to even weak alkaline solutions and stronger acids.

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 30 Sep 2015 8:33 am

x9200 wrote:Yep, agree. I would too expect the dirt profile is thicker from outside so showering from outside pushes the dirt deeper and longer way, but I am not going to take the risk of playing with it on the 25th floor unsecured ledge especially in the pouring rain.

One point to emphasize and already mentioned by maneo - be careful what sort of detergents (if any) are used. These are aluminium fins, perhaps coated but even if, it would be a very thin coating, and aluminium is not resistant to even weak alkaline solutions and stronger acids.


Yes thanks, it was not my intention to use any chemicals and our air con guy didn't suggest it either. My focus was more on the mess rather than safety. As I say the balcony has a sturdy rail, I have been out there many times cleaning up and it doesn't get wet when it rains.

I just thought blowing steam through the fins with some sheets on the ground would be way less messy that using water plus I already own a steam cleaner. Of course I don't want to damage the fins with high temperature high pressure steam either!

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Re: RE: Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby ecureilx » Wed, 30 Sep 2015 10:04 am

Steve1960 wrote:
Advice from our air con guy is to direct the water flow from above at a slight angle and wash top to bottom. Personally I would think the best way to clean the compressor air intake fins would be to remove the cover and wash from the inside out forcing the dirt out of the fins rather than potentially deeper into them. Of course he couldn't suggest I do that and clearly does not want to do it himself!

Yes everything I read on the Internet suggests it is OK to steadily pour water on the intake fins. If there are any concerns it is more related to the force if water, steam, brushing or whatever damaging the delicate fins.


Washing from inside out won't work unless you totally dismantle the unit.

And I still have scars from the condenser fins.

Just vacuum and wash while finding another aircon fellow who will do a complete clean, if needed

However despite all cleaning you can never clean it 100%, especially the fan blades. And there will aluminium erosion on the cooling fins, hence the recommendation to change every 5 years or so to newer energy saving types.

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Re: RE: Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 30 Sep 2015 10:24 am

ecureilx wrote:
Washing from inside out won't work unless you totally dismantle the unit.

And I still have scars from the condenser fins.

Just vacuum and wash while finding another aircon fellow who will do a complete clean, if needed

However despite all cleaning you can never clean it 100%, especially the fan blades. And there will aluminium erosion on the cooling fins, hence the recommendation to change every 5 years or so to newer energy saving types.


This unit is only 2 years old so should be good for a few years yet. I am going with vacuum and steam clean to reduce the fallout below. I will let you know what happens.

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Re: Air con compressor cleaning

Postby maneo » Thu, 01 Oct 2015 4:42 pm

Steve1960 wrote:
maneo wrote:Have you checked with the building management for suggestions?
If they don't have any good ideas, and if you can get out there safely, you could spray the fins with some cleaning solution (nothing aggressive) just before an impending downpour to make it easier to clean.

Well the compressor is on the typical small balcony with a railing and I go out there quite regularly to clean up the stuff people above throw out of their windows. So I don't have great concerns about getting out there and being safe.

Your suggestion would not work as the compressor is largely protected from rain by the small balcony above but thanks anyway.

Building management in this case I guess is the HDB. Maybe I should ask their advice.

Was not suggesting you rely on the rain to clean the fins.
Thought that "waiting until it rains" was so the people in the "23 floors below" would close their windows and take their clothes in before you start spraying your unit.
However, this should not be an issue if your balcony has a proper drain and a ledge to keep the dirty water from spilling over.

Steve1960 wrote:
x9200 wrote:Yep, agree. I would too expect the dirt profile is thicker from outside so showering from outside pushes the dirt deeper and longer way, but I am not going to take the risk of playing with it on the 25th floor unsecured ledge especially in the pouring rain.

One point to emphasize and already mentioned by maneo - be careful what sort of detergents (if any) are used. These are aluminium fins, perhaps coated but even if, it would be a very thin coating, and aluminium is not resistant to even weak alkaline solutions and stronger acids.

Yes thanks, it was not my intention to use any chemicals and our air con guy didn't suggest it either. My focus was more on the mess rather than safety. As I say the balcony has a sturdy rail, I have been out there many times cleaning up and it doesn't get wet when it rains.

I just thought blowing steam through the fins with some sheets on the ground would be way less messy that using water plus I already own a steam cleaner. Of course I don't want to damage the fins with high temperature high pressure steam either!

The surfactants in gentle, water soluble cleaning solutions make it easier for water to "latch on" to the dirt and for it to drain off without leaving a dirt stain all over.
Just don't let it sit on the fins too long; you only need to get the dirt wet just before you spray.

It really shouldn't matter that you are spraying from the outside.
Other than the fan, there really shouldn't be anything "inside" to worry about.
A cleaning solution should help the dirty water flow down and over to the drain.

Keep the spray pressure low and the angle close to parallel with the fins.
The fins are delicate and work best at transferring heat when they are not bent or damaged.

By the way, last set of compressors I cleaned using a hand sprayer.
It was a little tedious, more so because I had to keep refilling the sprayer from a bucket of water, but the compressors were just way too far from any threaded faucet to use a hose.


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