How Cottonwood Season Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

How Cottonwood Season Can Affect Your Air Conditioner


Your AC system is a key component of your home. It does everything from providing cool air during warm months to filtering the air supply for improved indoor air quality.

Unfortunately, various allergens—like cottonwood—put your comfort and indoor air quality at risk by restricting airflow in the outdoor AC unit. Want to know how you can prevent this build-up and safeguard your family’s health? Keep reading to find out.

How HVAC Systems Work

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems control and maintain indoor heating and cooling, humidity levels, and air quality. They use a combination of mechanical equipment and ductwork to distribute conditioned air throughout a building. A central unit heats or cools the air—which is circulated by a blower—and a network of ducts delivers the conditioned air to various rooms.

What Is Cottonwood?

Cottonwood refers to the white, fuzzy seeds produced by cottonwood trees, which disperse through the air in spring and summer. While seemingly harmless, cottonwood is a common allergen that triggers symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and congestion. Despite their small size, cottonwood seeds can cause considerable damage to your AC system, leading to significant and costly repairs.

How Does Cottonwood Impact Your AC System?

Cottonwood seeds have a significant impact on your AC system. When they stick to the outdoor unit’s coils and condenser coil, they can block airflow, overwork components, and increase monthly energy costs. This not only reduces comfort levels but also exacerbates allergies and respiratory problems by compromising indoor air quality.

Take a look below to learn more about the three main ways that cottonwood impacts your air conditioner.

3 Ways That Cottonwood Affects Your AC Unit

Overworked Components

When cottonwood seeds lodge in your outdoor AC unit, they create a blockage that restricts airflow. As a result, the system’s components are strained as they work harder to produce and circulate cool air. This ongoing strain accelerates the wear and tear on these components, leading to more frequent maintenance, repairs, and part replacements.

Warmer Air

When cottonwood accumulates in your outdoor AC unit, you may experience a noticeable decrease in comfort. The seeds obstruct the proper flow of air, limiting the amount of conditioned air that travels through the ductwork. This leads to reduced comfort levels for your family. The last thing you want in the middle of summer is for your AC system to fail, leaving you without adequate cooling when you need it the most.

Higher Energy Bills

When the AC unit is covered in a blanket of cottonwood, the compressor is forced to operate harder to meet the demand for cool air. Your energy usage increases, leading to higher monthly energy bills. Although the monthly increase may seem small, it accumulates over time, resulting in a considerable financial impact.

How To Remove Cottonwood From The Air Conditioner

Removing cottonwood from your outdoor AC unit is simple. All you need is a garden hose and a spray nozzle attachment.

  1. First, turn off the outdoor unit.
  2. Next, spray the outdoor unit with the hose held at an angle, starting at the top and working your way down. This allows for a quicker, more thorough clean. (Do not use a pressure washer, as the ac fins on the outdoor coil are delicate)
  3. Finally, turn the unit back on to check its performance.

These three simple steps will keep your air conditioner in tip-top shape for years to come.

How To Protect Your Outdoor AC Unit

The good news is that you can take simple steps to prevent cottonwood from getting stuck in your outdoor AC unit in the first place.

By being proactive and regularly cleaning your outdoor unit, you can remove any cottonwood that has already accumulated and prevent further buildup. With a clean and well-maintained outdoor unit, you can enjoy cool and consistent airflow throughout the entire summer season.

Don’t want to handle the cleaning yourself? Air-Rite Heating & Cooling’s HVAC experts have you covered. Just give us a call, then sit back and relax while we do the work.

Contact Naperville’s #1 HVAC Contractor

Want to improve your home’s indoor air quality and reduce your monthly energy bills this summer? Schedule a routine AC maintenance service with your local Air-Rite Heating & Cooling technician. Something as simple as replacing the air filter can make all the difference when it comes to your family’s health and safety.

When you need reliable HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation services, Air-Rite Heating & Cooling is the air conditioning company you can trust to get the job done right. Request a service today to get started.

See all articles →