How Yard Work May Affect Your HVAC System

If you have a condensing unit for your home’s cooling system that sits directly on the ground, then doing yard work near it may negatively affect its overall efficiency. The condenser is where the condensing coil and fins are located, which are responsible for dissipating the heat that the refrigerant pulls from the home. Any damage or dirt on these coils will slow down its ability to cool the refrigerant, which increases cooling costs.

Some of the ways that yard work may specifically affect your air conditioner can be found here.

Lawn Mowing

When you cut the grass around your exterior condenser without a bag to catch the clippings, it may result in small bits of grass collecting on the coils and fins. Unless these are removed, they will reduce the cooling process.

String Trimming any Weeds

While it may be faster to use an electric or gas-powered weed eater to remove any weeds around your outside unit, this isn’t a good idea. Just like with mowing, this can result in small bits of grass and dirt collecting on the fins and coils. The best way to avoid this situation is to hand pull the weeds or to spray them with herbicides while they are still pretty small.

Leaf Blowing

If the leaf blower is too strong, it may send twigs and sticks flying into the coils of the condenser. Make sure to point the blower you are using away from the condenser, or rake the area near the unit instead of using the blower on it. There are come AC systems that drain all the condensation they create outside with a drainpipe. It is not unusual for landscaping debris to be blowing into the end of the pipe and block the water that is flowing from it while doing yard work.


Watering your yard won’t harm the condenser directly, but if there is overspray it may hit the condenser and cause damage. In addition to the mineral deposits that may form on the coil and fins, continued exposure to moisture or water may cause the condenser to rust.

Solutions for Landscaping Related Issues

There are several ways you can prevent the damage and issues explained above. These methods include:

  • Keep the clippings from sticking to your condenser by utilizing xeriscape around the unit. This landscaping method will use drought tolerant plants that won’t shed any leaves. You can also use crushed gravel or rock as ground cover.
  • It is also a good idea to place a tarp over the condenser while you are working close to it. This will prevent the debris from becoming lodged inside of the coils and fins and bending them.

The tips found here will help prevent damage to your exterior condenser when doing yard work. If you are concerned about this, you can also talk to the professionals who can provide you with even more advice.

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