How to Clean Leaves Out of an Air Conditioner

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Updated February 10, 2023

While everybody loves the beautiful fall leaves that come with changing seasons, nobody loves the buildup of leaves that can happen in your AC system. Because of fallen leaves, even the best air conditioners require regular cleaning to keep them in working condition. So, let’s look at how to clean leaves out of an air conditioner, which is crucial to keeping your unit clean and the air quality high.


  • Regularly perform maintenance tasks on your outdoor unit to keep it in good condition. This will also help with efficiency and airflow.
  • Hiring professional services is never a bad idea regarding your AC system, especially for more complex jobs.
  • To maintain your outdoor unit, you must remove debris and clean off the fins. This only takes a few minutes.

Cleaning Leaves From Your Air Conditioner

You should have a maintenance plan for your condenser unit. Whether cleaning compressor coils or clearing loose debris, it’s a crucial part of having one. And outdoor maintenance isn’t the only necessary type. For example, knowing how to clean air conditioner vents or even something as simple as how to control your AC from a mobile device goes a long way.

Insider Tip

You can use a cleaning agent to speed up the cleaning process on the fins of your outdoor air conditioning unit.

You might also need to know how to clean mold from air conditioner vents or how to clean central air evaporator coils. And, if your air conditioner is past the point of no return, you’ll need to know how to dispose of an air conditioner, which is a little trickier than you might think.

In the meantime, getting your condenser unit into tip-top shape should take priority.


Make sure the power to the system is completely turned off. If you can, turn the power off at the breaker box.


Next, free your air conditioner from debris, like leaves or grass clippings. You should use gloves to do this and deposit the debris into a large bag for disposal.


Now, it’s time to clean the condenser fins. These help keep any additional debris from getting into the floor of your condenser. You can use a garden hose to clean off the dirt particles gently.


If the condenser fins are extremely grimy, try using a cleaning spray and a soft brush to remove any built-up dirt.


The last step is to clean the surrounding area. Ensure two feet of space around your condenser. You should have proper airflow and improve energy efficiency.


If you don’t clean the leaves from your AC unit, it will impair its ability to dispel heat, which can lead to damage.

STAT: It is projected that the revenue of electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply in Germany will amount to approximately 447.22 billion U.S. Dollars by 2025. (source)

How to Clean Leaves Out of An Air Conditioner FAQs

How do I clean condenser coils?

Cleaning your condenser coils is a great way to ensure you don’t run into costly air conditioner repairs in the future. We recommend hiring an air conditioning service to help with this task. Alternatively, you could read our article on how to clean AC evaporator coils.

How do I clean an air filter?

Cleaning a filter is relatively easy. Just follow the manufacturer's directions to clean a reusable filter, which usually involves vacuuming it or washing it with soap and water, then letting it dry before reinstalling it. If it’s a disposable filter, you just need to pop it out and install a new air conditioner filter.

Why should I clean my outdoor air conditioning units?

There are a ton of reasons to keep up with preventative maintenance:

  • It lowers energy costs while increasing its efficiency.
  • It increases the AC’s lifespan.
  • It improves the air quality in your home.
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