Bird Nest in Air Conditioner: How It Affects Your Unit & 9 Ways to Keep Birds Away From Your AC
You notice that your air conditioner is not cooling like it used to. The airflow is weak, and you feel sick in an air-conditioned room. You tend to think it’s a maintenance issue and will go away by cleaning the air filters. Sometimes, you also hear chirping sounds from near your unit, but you don’t think much of it.
You make plans to check up on your AC on the weekend.
When you finally inspect it, you find something that you were not expecting at all. A bird nest in your air conditioner!
It’s completely normal for a bird to nest in your AC’s outer unit. Birds turn to warm and sheltered places to lay their eggs. Air conditioners provide shade, warmth, and protection from predators – making a perfect environment for birds to roost in your unit.
However, this arrangement is not suitable for you. It can cause various issues for your air conditioner that you would not want to deal with, especially when the temperature is already soaring.
To help you deal with the problems that arise when birds nest in AC, we have prepared this guide covering:
- How birds can affect your air conditioner & your indoor air quality
- How to remove a bird nest in an air conditioner
- 9 ways to keep birds away from your AC
How Birds Can Affect Your Air Conditioner & Your Indoor Air Quality
Bird nests use feathers, grass, twigs, and straws to make their nest which can cause a lot of mess. In addition, birds carry germs that can affect indoor air quality. Bird nests can even prevent your AC from functioning optimally. Chirping birds outside your room can also disturb your sleep.
1. Bird Nest in Air Conditioner Can Adversely Affect Indoor Air Quality
Birds’ feathers and dropping can get sucked into your air conditioner. They harbor dangerous bacteria, mites, ticks, and other pests. Birds also carry bugs to their nest, which can get inside your unit. Bugs also contain airborne germs.
2. Birds Can Damage the Insulation
When birds are living in your window AC, they can peck the insulation covering the refrigerant pipes. When insulation has holes due to pecking, it can result in decreased cooling.
If there are bird nests in the attic, they can also damage the ductwork. If you have insulated your attic with fiberglass, the fibers can then enter the ductwork and cause damage.
3. Bird Nest in Air Conditioner Can Clog Evaporator Coils & Air Filters
Birds’ feathers and droppings combined with dust and debris can clog the evaporator coils. Evaporator coils are involved in the cooling process. When they are clogged, they cannot release heat, resulting in decreased airflow.
You can check this guide for thorough cleaning of your AC coils.
Birds can also clog your air filters. Several issues can arise due to dirty air filters, such as decreased efficiency or AC not turning on. Moreover, dirty filters deliver low-quality air to your home.
4. Bird Nest Carries the Risk of Fire Hazard
The materials used by birds to make their nest, such as twigs, straws are highly combustible. In case of a short circuit, the nest can catch fire and damage your air conditioning unit. It can also injure birds. Moreover, the fire can also rapidly spread to other areas in your home.
5. Birds Can Interfere With the Functioning of AC Fan
The twigs and feathers can get stuck inside the fan blades and stop them from rotating properly. In addition, the outdoor unit will start making clicking noises due to the obstructions.
You can remove the outdoor unit cover to clean the fan thoroughly.
6. Bird Nest in Air Conditioner Can Cause Compressor Breakdown
Debris collected on your outdoor unit can cause issues for your compressor and can result in AC compressor breakdown. This leads to expensive repair or replacement.
Regular maintenance and professional inspection can prevent this problem.
How to Remove a Bird Nest in Air Conditioner
The ideal time to remove a nest is when a bird has just started creating it. Removing a few twigs and grass is easy, and you can eliminate any chance of birds’ nests creating havoc for your unit.
However, it is highly likely that you won’t notice a nest until it has been fully formed.
If you see eggs and birds inside a nest, do not attempt to remove it. Also, you might not be able to remove the nest with the egg inside it safely. In this case, you can contact a bird removal service or wait until the nesting period is over. Most species are protected against Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), so avoid using any force against birds.
If the nest has been abandoned after a nesting session, you can remove it on your own. But wait for a few days to make sure that the birds do not return.
For nest removal:
- Wear gloves to protect yourself from getting in contact with bacteria and other parasites.
- Lift the nest and clear the area, making sure that no nesting material remains in the area.
- Toss the nest in the bin and clean the area with a strong disinfectant.
- You are now set to take measures to prevent the birds from roosting in your AC again.
9 Ways to Keep Birds Away From Your AC
Here are some measures you can take to stop birds from nesting in your AC:
1. Use Fake Predators to Keep the Birds Away
Use plastic toys – snake or owl to mimic the predators. This can trick the birds into believing that there are predators and they won’t make a nest in your unit.
You can place the toys on the unit if possible or near the unit to ward off the birds.
There are reflective owl decoys especially made to scare the birds away. These decoys also emit sounds to confuse the birds.
2. Use Strong Cleaning Products or a Bird Repellent
Use a mixture of vinegar and water, or you can also use bleach to prevent birds from nesting in your AC. Take a piece of cloth and wipe down your air conditioner; this practice might serve the purpose well.
A store-bought bird repellent can also work to keep the birds away.
3. Limit the Birds’ Access to Your Unit
You can limit the birds’ access to the unit by installing a wire mesh or a grate around the unit. Another idea is to put your outdoor unit in a cage-like structure.
4. Install Bird Spikes
You can install bird spikes on the top part of your AC or wherever the birds sit. Birds will not be inclined to move towards your AC covered with spikes.
Children’s spiral toys can work in the same way. You will have to nail it to the ledge with a two-finger distance.
This method can also be used in areas such as chimneys and grills.
5. Remove Bird Baths & Feeder from Your Outdoor Area
In summer, homeowners place a water bowl for birds to drink and cool themselves by taking a dip. Some even install bird feeders in their gardens.
However, this generous act can sometimes cause you distress.
Birds make a nest where food and water are easily accessible. So when you provide them with these necessities, they are inclined to nest in your home.
To deter the birds from building a nest in your AC, you need to remove anything in your area that seems welcoming to them.
Remove bird feeders and baths, so they are not tempted to nest in your house. If you don’t want to remove them, you can relocate them to the other side of your house where air conditioners are not installed.
6. Use Shiny Objects
Birds do not like shiny objects, especially when sunlight reflects off them. So you can use old CDs, aluminum plates, or tin foil and hang them from the rope near your outdoor unit. This is a simple method to scare the birds away.
7. Keep Your AC Fan Running Non-Stop
When the birds are nesting during spring and summer, you can keep your AC fan running continuously. A running unit is likely to frighten birds, preventing them from making a nest in your air conditioner.
8. Seal the Gaps
Birds can also get cozy inside the hole drilled for connecting the outdoor and indoor units of mini-splits. Be sure to seal the area properly to avoid birds from nesting there.
Also, check the gaps in the window ACs. You can find small bird nests in window air conditioners. Use foam insulation to fill the gaps. You can also opt for foam strips. Cut the foam strips according to the size of the gap and use them to fill the space.
9. Place a Cardboard Box Over the Outdoor Unit
For this method, you would need a triangular cardboard box.
Fasten a cardboard box on the top of your outdoor unit to deter the birds away. Birds cannot sit at a 45-degree angle and would slip right off.
Bird nests can pose serious damage to your air conditioner, so it’s best to take timely steps to prevent birds from getting comfortable in your unit. We hope after reading this article you have plenty of ideas to protect your aircon.