How To Fix An AC Condenser

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Updated September 10, 2022

When it comes to keeping the best air conditioners running smoothly, you have to know the details of each part. This necessity is why we’ll show you a guide on what to know about repairing an air conditioner condenser. And given there are many essential parts to a central air unit, we have other articles with tips about repairing an air conditioner fan motor and replacing the air conditioner condenser fan motor.


  • Knowing when to repair your AC condenser can save thousands of dollars if you do it immediately rather than wait.
  • Check your AC unit frequently for any debris or dirt buildup around the outdoor unit.
  • The condenser unit is a vital part of a central air conditioner that processes the refrigerant. Schedule regular maintenance to make sure the condenser stays in good working order.

How to Know When to Repair Your AC Condenser

The condenser is one of the critical elements of an air conditioner unit, even some of the highly-rated ventless portable air conditioners. The compressor takes the refrigerant and converts it into gas. The condenser coils take the gas and pass it through a collection of cooling coils and copper tubing, turning the gas into a liquid, then passing through the AC unit to cool the house.

Insider Tip

If possible, make sure the condenser is in an area that is shaded. This increases the unit’s cooling power.

So, given that the condenser is one of the key elements in an air conditioning unit, it is crucial to know when to make repairs. The difference between repairing and replacing an AC condenser can be thousands of dollars. This tremendous cost is why you must know the signs that indicate when a condenser needs some fixing up rather than total replacement.

How Old is Your AC Unit?

One way to gauge whether you should consider replacement or repair is to know the age of your AC unit. If it is less than ten years old, ‌look to repair it rather than replace it. You may also be interested in learning about portable AC unit repair.

Cleaning a Dirty Condenser

Given that the condenser is part of the outside unit, there can be a lot of debris, dirt, and unwelcome matter that affects that specific part of the machine. Signs of a dirty condenser include when the AC is pumping out air that isn’t as cool as usual.

To fix a dirty condenser, first, clear any brush or debris away from the unit’s exterior. Then remove the exterior panel and check inside to see if you have dirty coils. If they are, perform basic cleaning by spraying warm water and detergent. Let it soak for five minutes, then brush them off and repeat until clean.

Clogged AC Condenser

You can tell that your condenser is clogged if you hear strange noises, see liquid refrigerant leaks, or notice a significant reduction in the cooling process. To unclog this, you will need to call a professional to use a wet vac to remove the gunk or debris clogging your air conditioning unit.


If you decide to clean your own AC coils, be very gentle. They are delicate and can easily be bent.


How long should AC coils last?

Outdoor condenser coils should last you anywhere from one to two decades.

How much does an AC condenser cost?

When parts and labor costs are included, you can expect the total cost of condenser replacement to come in around $3,000-$5,000.

Do you tip an AC repair guy?

Typically, tipping an AC service worker isn’t expected. Still, if they go beyond expectation or are working in any extreme conditions, there is no reason not to avoid paying extra.

STAT: Replacing your dirty air filter can save up to 15% on your AC’s energy consumption. (source)

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