Air conditioners mounted on your windowsill often have grille-style fins on either corner of the AC that serve to seal off the window. Unfortunately, these fins do not fully seal the window off. Plus, your AC unit is also built with gaps that allow air from the outside to come in. These gaps are often exploited by pesky bugs to gain access to your household. Flies, mosquitos, and other insects can wreak havoc in your household. They can bite but, more importantly, they can spread diseases, such as yellow and dengue fever and Lyme disease.
To prevent bugs from coming through your AC unit, here are 12 things you can do.
Make Sure It’s Installed Properly
An incorrectly installed air conditioner might leave gaps that insects can use to enter your home. The unit should be firmly nested on the windowsill. A properly installed AC unit will have a slight incline away from the structure when you’re viewing it from the outside. Check all corners, including the sides and top and bottom, to make sure there is no space in between the window and the AC unit.
Check the Condition of Your AC Filter
Your AC unit’s filters should be checked regularly. They play a vital role in airflow that passes through the AC. Filters clogged with dirt and debris or damaged with slits and holes can lead to operational inefficiency and higher utility costs over time. A well-maintained filter not only cuts down your utility costs but also the bugs that enter your premises through the AC unit.
Seal the Gap on Your Window Sash
For unlocked double-hung windows, there is unnoticeable space between the sash of the lower panel and the glass of the upper panel. This space can be used as a gateway for bugs, rodents, and other small enough critters that happen to visit or live in your backyard. You can seal the gap with foam air insulation strips or transparent duct tape to make the job less visible.
Seal the Vinyl Side Panels
Sadly, the vinyl side panels that you use to cover the gap between the window and the AC unit oftentimes do not completely seal off the space. While it helps keep as much of the cool air inside for as long as possible, the slits still leave enough space for bugs to come in. Similar to sealing your window sash gap, you can also apply foam tape to the sides of your window to better seal the panels. If you had to unscrew the panel, secure it back using the same set of screws when you’re done. Make sure to keep the screws tight to press the panel as firmly as possible against the foam.
Practice Good Landscaping Habits
Landscaping is a contributing factor to AC upkeep, particularly for its condenser unit. Foliage or yard equipment that’s placed too close to your condenser may end up blocking the condenser unit, forcing it to work harder to maintain desirable temperatures. Your condenser needs space to breathe, so make sure you plant trees or install fences at least two feet away from it. Tree branches that are too low should also be trimmed immediately. Foliage that’s too close to your condenser serves as a potential home for insects to thrive in, and its proximity to your condenser means they can easily move into your home.
Switch to a Rock Garden
If regularly cleaning up shrubbery is something you cannot commit to, a longer-term solution that involves less maintenance is to install a rock garden. These gardens are becoming increasingly popular as they are easy to maintain and resistant to extreme weather conditions. In the context of keeping bugs away from your condenser, rock gardens also do a fairly good job of deterring pests from nesting around the area.
Keep the Surroundings Clear of Debris
In addition to strategic landscaping, you should also clear the space of any debris, including leaves, rocks, twigs, grass clippings, and household waste. Don’t forget to scoop out the debris that’s accumulated in your household’s gutters and downspouts. Clearing these common watering holes for pests can minimize bug infestation stemming from your AC unit. It also helps maintain unobstructed and seamless airflow so your AC doesn’t have to overwork itself.
Avoid Water Leaks
Pests, especially cockroaches, are always searching for water. And they aren’t very picky about it, too. Any pool of water is inviting to pests, including roaches and mosquitos. These can be perfect breeding grounds for them. If you suspect water leaks in your AC unit, make sure to patch them up ASAP. If you use a garden hose regularly, make sure the spigot closes all the way and isn’t dripping on your backyard or front porch all day.
Spray the Surroundings With a Repellant
There are whole shelves devoted to this product category, so you have a lot of choices when it comes to which bug repellant to go with. DEET and picaridin formulas are the most common options on the market, and each formula has its own pros and cons that you’ll want to research up on. You can also try homemade insect repellant recipes that include equal portions of apple cider vinegar and water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray around the condenser unit’s perimeter. Be careful not to spray on any electrical wiring, outlets, and parts.
Lay Traps Around
In addition to bug repellant, you can also add traps, bug zappers, and citronella candles both in the areas surrounding the interior and exterior portion of the AC unit. If they manage to avoid the traps laid out near the condenser unit, they can get caught by the traps laid close to the evaporator side of the AC unit.
Use Window Screen/Film
Cover the vents with window screens. You can purchase a roll of screen at your local home improvement store for $10. Roughly 90% of the bugs that get in usually use the interior vents, so make sure you securely tape the opening with some window screen.
If you can’t find where the bugs are coming from or passing through in your AC unit, consult with an expert HVAC company, like Liberty Comfort Systems, for a more complete picture of the situation. It’s best to let a certified and experienced technician work on the system to avoid damaging any of the mechanical parts, including the condenser and evaporator coils.
Liberty Comfort Systems offers professional cooling and heating services to residential and commercial customers in Anoka, MN, and the surrounding neighborhoods. For many years now, we’ve been helping people maximize the lifespan of their heating and cooling equipment through professional installations, repairs, and maintenance checks. We also offer maintenance agreements, duct cleaning, and indoor air quality improvements. Contact one of our representatives today to get a better idea of what we do and what we offer!