Everyone in the apartment or rental industry has dealt with this. You receive a call from a resident stating that no matter what they do, it wont get cool in their apartment. You check it out and sure enough, the thermostat is turned own to 60 degrees, the air handler is working overtime and only blowing room temp air. You check the A-coil and it's frozen solid.
Weather you are in the apartment industry or not, cleaning your condenser coils is a great way to ensure that your air conditioner is running as efficiently as it can.
Go ahead and check the furnace filter and replace it if necessary - your in the apartment, just get it done. With better airflow, the system will work better.
Now go outside and check the condenser unit. If it looks like it's wearing a sweater then you probably found your problem. If the fins are so covered with debris that they cannot transfer heat then the coolant cannot do it's job.
Here is how to deal with the problem!
2. Use a soft brush or coil comb to remove the lint, leaves and trash from the coils. I like to use a toilet brush - they are cheap and cover more area than a coil comb.
3. Use a coil clean to spray down the coils. Coil cleaner can be purchased in concentrated form from and HVAC supply warehouse or by the singe use can from your local hardware store.
4. Allow the cleaner to sit (READ THE DIRECTIONS) and then rinse off using a hose of a bucket of water. Some coil cleaners will damage the fins if left on too long while others claim they can be left on and need no rinsing. I prefer to rinse no matter what the can says.
5. Replace the outer cover and turn the unit back on. NOTE: make sure to completely thaw out the A-coil before running the system again. It wont work while it covered in ice!
If everything else is working properly, you should have a cool running unit (that is, when the iceberg now residing in the air handler finally thaws out).
If your air handler is working and your condenser coils are clean but the system still does not work well, you may have a dirty A-coil or possibly be low on Freon. We'll deal with these issues later.