How To Clean AC Coils

how to clean ac coils

How to Clean AC Coils

Regular maintenance of your air conditioning system is crucial to ensure its efficiency and longevity. One essential part of this maintenance is cleaning the AC coils. At Green City Heating & Air, we want to help you keep your AC running smoothly, especially during the hot summer months in western Washington. Cleaning your air conditioning coil can be simple if you know what to do; that’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to clean air conditioner coils.

Cleaning Your Air Conditioning Coils Helps Your System Work Better

Your AC system has two types of coils: the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. These coils play a vital role in cooling your home. The evaporator coil is located in your inside unit(s) and helps cool the air into your space.  The condenser coil is in the outdoor unit.  Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on the coils, reducing your AC unit’s efficiency and increasing energy consumption. Regular cleaning can improve cooling efficiency and lower energy bills.  Your AC unit will have a longer lifespan if it is properly maintained, so it is valuable to clean your unit regularly.  Clean coils can also improve indoor air quality; dirty coils can blow dirt and debris into the home.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning AC Coils: Condenser & Evaporator Coils

Before you start, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Screwdriver
  • Soft brush
  • Coil cleaner (available at most hardware stores)
  • Garden hose with a spray nozzle
  • Protective gloves and eyewear

1. Turn Off the Power

Safety first! Turn off the power to your AC unit at the thermostat and the breaker box to prevent any electrical accidents.

2. Access the Coils

Evaporator Coils:

  • Located inside the indoor unit, typically above the furnace.
  • Remove the access panel using a screwdriver.

Condenser Coils:

  • Located in the outdoor unit.
  • Remove the protective grille or cover to access the coils.

3. Remove Loose Debris

Use a soft brush to gently remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the coils. Be careful not to bend the delicate fins on the coils.  If any of the parts appear bent or damaged, contact a professional HVAC technician for repairs.

4.  Apply Coil Cleaner Solution

Read and follow the instructions on your coil cleaner product. Generally, you will need to:

  1. Spray the coil cleaner evenly over the coils.
  2. Let the cleaner sit (usually 5-10 minutes) to loosen the dirt and grime.

5. Rinse the Coils

Use a garden hose with an attachment, and set the spray to a gentle settling. For the condenser coils, spray from the inside out to push debris away from the unit. Ensure all cleaner residue is washed away.

6. Let Dry

Allow the system to air dry for at least an hour.  Restoring power while the system is wet can cause electric shortages and other problems.

7. Reassemble and Restore Power

Once the coils are clean and dry, reattach any covers or grilles you removed. Restore power to your AC unit at the breaker box and thermostat.

8. Test the System

Turn on your AC system and check that it is running smoothly. Ensure that the airflow is strong and the cooling is effective.

9. Maintain a Clean System

To ensure your air conditioning unit is functioning properly, be sure to conduct cleaning and inspections regularly.  Unchecked units can build grime that will wear on your equipment, making it function poorly.  It is best practice to have a professional HVAC technician perform regular maintenance checks on your system to ensure all the parts are working as intended.  To keep your system clean longer, be sure to clean or replace your filters often.  For your outdoor unit, remove any yard or lawn debris from the area immediately surrounding the unit.  Prevent leaves, plant matter, and grass clippings from entering the system.

When to Call a Professional

While cleaning your AC coils is a task you can handle yourself, there are times when professional help is needed.  At Green City Heating & Air, we offer comprehensive HVAC services, including professional coil cleaning, maintenance, and repair. Serving western Washington, we are committed to keeping your home comfortable and your AC running efficiently. Contact us today to schedule a service appointment or for any of your heating and cooling needs.

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