If your air conditioner isn't cooling properly, it could be because of bent fins on the condenser coil. These fins are the thin metal pieces installed on every HVAC unit and they work similar to the ones in the radiator of vehicles. Though the unit can still operate, a bent fin will restrict air circulation and lower the air conditioner's efficiency. Here are some tips to repair a bent compressor fin.

Make Preparations

Buy a fin comb from hardware stores or HVAC dealers which should cost between $8 and $20. For a single air conditioner, buy a comb that corresponds with the number of fins per inch. An adjustable fin comb with a head that has handles to fit varying fin widths is suggested for multiple air conditioners. You will also need a screwdriver and safety gloves since the fins are very sharp.

If you are fixing a window air conditioner, unplug the unit. You will have to shut off the breaker or fuse that controls the unit when repairing a split system or central air to avoid shock. In some cases, the shut off will be near the equipment that looks like a light switch. If you can't find a breaker or fuse that controls the air, conditioner, turn off the main breaker to the house.

Gain Access to the Fins

Remove the housing which may be secured with screws. If it doesn't have screws, pull forward and press down at the same time to remove it. Otherwise, use a screwdriver to loosen the screws on the housing and the screw on the ground wire on a window unit.

Clean and Repair Fins

With safety gloves on, rotate the comb and place the comb fingers between the fins matching each comb to the fin size. After placing the comb fingers on the fins, give it a pull all the way down starting at the top of the fin working slowly. If you don't have a fin comb, use needle nose pliers.

Clean accumulated dirt between the fins with a vacuum cleaner and spray them gently with a garden hose to remove any remaining debris the vacuum couldn't reach. You may want to invest in a hail guard if you live in a hail-prone area to avoid future coil damage. Place the air conditioner cage back on the unit and test.

Keeping the air conditioner fins straight will ensure you unit works more efficiently. If your repairs failed to solve the problem, contact an air conditioning repair service