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How to Keep Birds Off of Your Air Conditioner

How to Keep Birds Off of Your Air Conditioner

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Birds may be beautiful to look at, but they can cause a plethora of issues with various outdoor items. If you have an air conditioner, either the outdoor or window variety, birds can become a real problematic point.

The simple fact of the matter is that, especially during the summer months, your air conditioner is one of those essentials that we just can’t do without. If you think that birds are posing a problem for your air conditioner unit, a few things to be aware of are discussed below.

Why Are Birds Bad for the Air Conditioner?

First and foremost, bird droppings that get either in or around the air conditioner can potentially accumulate and impact the air quality that the air conditioner circulates. When those droppings dry, they have particles in them that get sucked into the fresh air that the air conditioner circulates.

These airborne particles can even wind up introducing things such as candidiasis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, and E.coli infection – all very dangerous, serious health concerns – into the air of your home or the room where the window air conditioner is.

At the same time, those particles that get released from the droppings can also potentially choke up your air filters. This will only happen if bird droppings happen on a regular basis and are not handled before they get a chance to build up.

If that weren’t enough, birds can actually do substantial damage to the compressor of your air conditioning unit as well. The nesting materials – debris and twigs – can prevent the fan blades from being able to move freely, damaging the compressor in the process.

When the compressor is damaged, it can mean one of two things: serious repairs are necessary, or you’ll have to replace the unit entirely. Either way, that means additional costs that could have been avoided.

With window air conditioning units, there is insulation between the unit itself and the wall. That insulation is to keep the heat out and the cool air in.

When birds frequent your air conditioning unit, they can peck the covering off of the pipes that carry refrigerant to the unit. Not only that, when the insulation is gone, energy losses will only increase. This means that you’ll need to use more energy for less efficiency.

Think that’s the end of it? Not even close. Feathers, the debris from their nests, and droppings can all accumulate, eventually getting into the drain pans and evaporator coils.

When those two components are made ineffective, it puts into question the potential ability of your air conditioner to do its job.

Finally, when birds build their nests in your air conditioner, they use all sorts of materials. Twigs, straws, feathers, and even the dried droppings are all highly flammable.

Different components in the air conditioner can carry an electrical current in them, creating the potential risk of fire. With window units, there is the possibility that a short circuit could start a fire with no one around to even realize it’s happening.

Getting Rid of Birds Nesting in Your Air Conditioner

The first thing that you need to do if you notice birds nesting on or near your air conditioner is to remove any of the materials. To further discourage them from congregating near the air conditioner, take away any potential attractions: feeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths.

Getting rid of the birds will only be more difficult if they have a reason to continue to visit your yard.

With the nesting materials cleared away, implement a few fake predators in the area. Going with something such as an inflatable or plastic snake or owl is always a great idea and should discourage them from coming back.

Wipe down the air conditioning unit using a cleaning product that has a very strong smell. Vinegar or bleach is great for this purpose specifically.

Even if the fake predators don’t discourage the birds from returning, they should smell your cleaner and be discouraged from hanging out on the air conditioner.

During the spring and summer, it is a good idea to turn the air conditioning unit’s fan on and run it constantly. The purpose of this is to discourage birds from nesting during the times of the year where they most often do so.

Having a running unit means they are far less likely to nest there.

When you’ve adequately removed any nests, applied cleaners, and feel confident that the birds are no longer active on the air conditioner, you can take the additional step of limiting access.

Use either wire mesh or netting to create a barrier around the air conditioning unit so that they can no longer gain access to build their nests.

Keeping Birds Out of a Window Air Conditioning Unit

While outdoor air conditioners present their own set of challenges, there are an entirely different set of issues that you may face having a window air conditioner.

Droppings and nesting are likewise a major issue when it comes to birds, but there is also the possibility that they could be nesting in any gaps between the air conditioner and the wall.

Check those areas first to see if the birds have access. If they do, remove any nesting materials that may be inside and then cover the hole up so that they no longer have access.

You can do this with mesh or by securing a piece of plywood or cardboard over the hole so that they can’t land on it. Even if they manage to get to the angled side of the board, they should just slide right off.

You can also opt for bird wiring or mesh to cover the entirety of the unit. This method should create less of a protrusion on the outside of the building while remaining effective at keeping them away from your air conditioner unit.

Birds being nearby is somewhat manageable; being able to build nests can make things particularly difficult.

Yet another method for keeping birds away from your window air condition unit is to use distractions. Birds generally do not like shiny objects or (as mentioned above) predators.

Try hanging a couple of CDs from a wire; the reflection of the sun off the silver should work to scare the birds away.

It may also be worth placing fake owls on the unit itself. If you don’t want to cover the unit with mesh wiring, having fake predators in the area could be enough to dissuade your annoying guests from making their presence known.

Final Thoughts

Whatever method you choose, it is important to keep birds from making themselves at home in and around your air conditioner. The damage that they can cause to the unit is extensive and could result in seriously expensive repairs or the need for an entirely new unit.

Additionally, their droppings could lead to the spreading of disease that could compromise the air quality in your home and could even lead to certain health issues.

Take the necessary steps to prevent them from showing up and you can use your air conditioner with the peace of mind in knowing that you and your air conditioner are safe from their presence.


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