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Straightening Bent Cooling Fins on Central Air Conditioners

Central Air Conditoner Maintenance

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For safety reasons, please turn off the power to the air conditioner by turning off a circuit breaker, fuse, or disconnect feeding it. Having a condenser come on in the middle of cleaning could be fatal.

Bent cooling fins on a central air conditioner's condensing coil can restrict air flow and lower the efficiency of the unit. Learn how straightening them can save you money.

Although your central air conditioner will still run with bent cooling fins, they can restrict air flow. These fins can be straightened with a fin comb. This comb has four different fin tooth widths that allow you to control the fin spacing. The reason for these different sizes is for you, the consumer, to be able to match the comb width up with the fin width.

In order to access the outer fins, you’ll need to remove the outer side cage from the condenser. To do this remove the outer screw that hold the cage in place and set it aside.

Before running the fin comb through the bent fins, run the comb through an area of the fins that are not bent to select the proper comb spacing. Now, gently pull the comb through the fins in order to straighten the bent cooling fins. Once the outside coils are straight, check the inner cooling fins. It is unlikely they are bent, but I have seen the bent from time to time. The outer fins suffer damage from flying debris from lawn mowers and other flying objects that strike the outer cage.

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