Have Bent A/C Condenser Fins? Here's How To Fix Them

Unlike a typical central A/C system, most window-mounted A/C units have the condenser coil partially or completely exposed at the rear of the unit. While this helps the coil expel heat, it also leaves it vulnerable to damage whenever the unit is handled. A badly-placed hand can easily bend the fragile aluminum fins lining the coil. This could compromise your A/C's cooling performance.

If you regularly install and remove your window A/C unit before and after each summer, you'll want to know how to repair any accidental damage done to the coil fins and restore your A/C's performance.

Break Out the Fin Comb

Straightening out bent coil fins with a flathead screwdriver or a putty knife can be time-consuming and dangerous. What you'll need instead is a fin comb, a tool specifically designed to repair bent coil fins.

A typical fin comb usually has multiple heads that correspond to the particular fin spacing on your A/C unit. These heads may be numbered according to how many fins per inch there are on the coil. For example, a fin comb marked with "8" means it'll work with coils that have 8 fins per inch.

To use the fin comb, find the correct comb head for your condenser coil. Insert the fingers on the fin comb between the fins above the damaged area. Next, pull the fin comb down the length of the coil with a slow, gentle motion. The fins should straighten out as you pull the comb downwards. Repeat these steps until all of the bent fins have been straightened. 

Protecting Your A/C from Future Damage

The best way to protect your window-mounted A/C unit's condenser coil fins from further damage is to take a hands-off approach. Whenever you're installing or removing your unit, you should keep your hands along the edges of the window A/C chassis and away from the middle of the unit. It's usually a good idea to have a partner help install or remove the unit, since you won't have to worry about fumbling the heavy unit and subsequently damaging the exposed fins while preventing the unit from falling out of the window.

Another way you can protect your window A/C's coil fins is by installing a metal grate over the exposed portion of the window A/C chassis. This way, you'll be able to move the unit without worrying about your hands or fingers coming into contact with the delicate coil fins.

For more information and assistance, talk with professional heating and air conditioning specialists.