How to Prevent Pests Around Outdoor HVAC Condenser UnitsService Champions
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How to Prevent Pests Around Outdoor HVAC Condenser

April 24th, 2018

Rodents, insects, pests, and pets can cause a lot of damage to outdoor condenser units. From the corrosive effects of urine to critters getting trapped within the system, your best bet is to prevent them from coming near the unit in the first place.

By taking the time to pest-proof your outdoor condenser unit, you can prevent damage to wiring and other expensive system components. And let’s not even think about some poor creature getting caught in the unit when you turn it on.

7 Ways to Prevent Pests Around Outdoor Condenser

1. Inspect Outdoor Unit

Every month, conduct a quick inspection of your outdoor unit. Look for any indications of prior pest presence such as chewed wires, ant mounds, urine, or feces. Contact an HVAC or pest control specialist if you find any signs of pest damage.

If there is pooling around your HVAC unit, look for ways to improve drainage to reduce moisture. You may need to fix the grading around your unit. If the water table is too high, you need to elevate the unit.

2. Construct a Barrier

While you probably don’t consider your dog a “pest,” their urine can be extremely damaging to your condenser unit. The corrosive effects of dog urine can lead to very expensive repairs. Either you will have to replace the condensing coil/unit or you will suffer efficiency and performance consequences.

You can help keep dogs and other animals from urinating on your condenser unit by constructing a barrier, however, you must be careful. The trick is to prevent animals from getting close enough to pee on it while also allowing enough airflow for the unit to perform efficiently.

One way to do this is with a fence or trellis rather than a wall. Make sure plenty of air can pass through your barrier. There should be a minimum 24-inch clearance around the entire unit. Make sure there is enough room for your HVAC technician to conduct maintenance and repairs. To be safe, don’t block more than two sides.

3. Clean Outdoor Unit

To help maintain your outdoor HVAC unit and prevent pests from gathering:

  • Make sure the area around your outdoor condenser unit is free and clear of any grass clippings, old leaves and other debris.
  • Remove any piles of wood, trash, or other pest-attracting materials from around your unit.
  • Store trash cans away from your HVAC unit and home. Make sure all of your trash and recycling cans have tight-fitting lids.
  • Never stack anything on top of the unit.
  • Trim back overhanging branches.
  • Keep firewood as far away from the home as possible.
  • Check for any mulch, debris, leaves, compost piles, wood or other debris that is too close to the house. Try to maintain a 2-foot clearance around your foundation to keep pests away.
  • Clear away any nearby vegetation and clean the area of any excrement, which can attract insects and vermin.

Learn how to clean your outdoor condenser unit.

4. Consider Xeriscaping Around Condensation Unit

Instead of having a lot of grasses and plants around your unit which can block airflow and clog the coil, consider dry landscaping techniques (aka “xeriscaping”). Consider the following ground covering instead of grass, small stones, and dirt:

  • Decorative Stones
  • Bricks and Masonry
  • Granite
  • Clay
  • River Rocks

Click here to see 1000+ xeriscaping and rock garden ideas for inspiration. If you do plant around your condenser, make sure they grow up, not out. Xeriscaping around your outdoor HVAC unit is easy and inexpensive, you just have to make the time. 

5. Check Downspouts

A healthy, unclogged gutter and downspout system is essential for protecting you home from water damage and keeping pests away. At least twice a year, take the time to clean your gutters or call a professional to do it for you.

If your downspouts are not properly draining water away from your home, consider installing downspout extenders. Point the downspouts toward a low point or sewer drain.

6. Schedule Professional AC Maintenance

Schedule spring AC maintenance every year before you start relying on your cooling system full-time. Sign up for an HVAC Maintenance Plan to make sure you never forget the important home maintenance task of bi-annual HVAC tune-ups.

7. Avoid Leaky AC Units

Water is one of the main attractions for pests. To ensure your air conditioner is not the source of the moisture, follow these tips:

  • Schedule professional spring AC maintenance
  • Ask your technician if the condensate drain will be cleared
  • Regularly change your air filter (every 30-60 days)
  • Seal and insulate your air ducts

If you do notice leaks or signs of water damage around your HVAC system, contact Service Champions before more damage occurs.

Service Champions is known for trustworthy, on-time heating and air conditioning service throughout the East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to Contact the Champions.

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