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Homeowner shares simple solution to hidden problem that's causing your AC unit to struggle: 'This is something you should be doing regularly'

"My AC hasn't been working well, especially during hotter summer months."

"My AC hasn't been working well, especially during hotter summer months."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Amid the recent increase in soaring temperatures, we all need a way to cool down. One of the most obvious tools for the job is an air conditioner, but if your system is struggling to pump out cold air, it might just need a quick clean.

TikToker Rick (@ricks2cents) shares his quick and easy way to resolve this common problem with external AC condensers, by simply using your garden hose ("not a pressure washer," as Rick says). 

@ricks2cents How to Super Charge Your AC Unit!!!! | How to Fix AC Unit Not Blowing Cold Air | AC Hack #ricks2cents #rickramirez #ac #acfix #acfixed #acfixing #acfixins #achack #fixyourac #fixityourself #diy #diyac ♬ original sound - Ricks2Cents.com

The scoop

If you have a central air conditioning system at home or for your business, you'll likely have an external air condenser that's exposed to the elements. These are built to work outdoors, but sometimes they get clogged, which can reduce the efficiency of your unit. 

It may not always be noticeable, but soil, sand, dust, and lawn debris can easily get into the densely packed layer of fins surrounding the condenser. This can reduce airflow and cause your system to work harder than necessary.

As Rick explains in the video, this hack using a simple spray of water from your garden hose to clear much of that out can usually help get your system back on track without necessarily needing to get out a cloth and clean it by hand. "This is something you should be doing regularly," he says. 

There are many guides online for different techniques, including clearing out any leaves by hand first and spraying at different angles. But if the issue doesn't seem to be one of simply clogged fins, you may want to contact an HVAC professional.

How it's helping

According to the Department of Energy: "Heating and cooling your home uses more energy than any other system in your home. Typically, 43% of a home utility bill goes to heating and cooling. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling from 20% to 50%."

While weatherizing your home is of prime importance, routine maintenance is also essential to keeping your AC in good working order. In addition to checking the outdoor condenser unit, you should always check indoor filters to see if they need replacing and make sure your vents aren't obstructed.

Simply cleaning air conditioner filters can lower your home's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

What everyone's saying

Many commenters had follow-up questions about the process. 

🗣️ What of these benefits would most effectively motivate you to use fewer plastic-packaged cleaning products?

🔘 Freeing up shelf space ✨

🔘 Avoiding toxins and microplastics ☠️

🔘 Saving money 💰

🔘 Not interested 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

"I don't have a working hose connection though which sucks. How can I clean mine without the hose? My AC hasn't been working well especially during hotter Summer months," one inquired. 

The solution? Just use a 5 gallon bucket of water.

Rick also shared an answer to another common question: "​​A few people messaged should you turn it off or disconnect the power? The answer is no, keep it on. It will not hurt your AC unit." These outdoor units are designed to be plugged in when it rains, after all. 

If you prefer a more natural approach to cooling, try adding a layer of plants on top of your home, known as a green roof. Plants can help cool their surroundings naturally. Plus, you'll save on electricity bills.

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