5 Ways to Clean Your Air Conditioner (AC) Coils

5 Ways to Clean Your Air Conditioner (AC) Coils

The coils in your central air conditioning system are engineered to transfer heat energy from the interior of your home to the outdoors. The refrigerant in the coils extracts excess heat from the air before to maintain a livable temperature in your house. However, it is not abnormal for a layer of dirt and dust to collect on the air conditioner evaporator and condenser coils during the summer season.

Once the coils become covered in dirt and contaminants, the refrigerant in the coils will be unable to remove heat from the incoming air. This will negatively impact the heat transfer process and interior temperature of your living space. To prevent damage to your compressor, the coils in your air conditioner need to be cleaned at least one time a year. We have compiled a list of 5 methods that can be used to clean your air conditioner coils.

How to Clean Your Air Conditioning Coils

To clean the coils in your air conditioner, you will need to be familiar with how to access them. The evaporator coils are located near the blower motor behind a maintenance cabinet. Prior to removing the panel of the cabinet, you will need to deactivate your air conditioner at the thermostat or circuit breaker. Next, use the correct tools to detach the screws and remove the maintenance door on the cabinet.

Soap

Apply Detergent & Warm Water

Use a mixture of soap or detergent to clean dirt, hair, and pet dander on the evaporator coils in your air conditioner. Blend the detergent with warm water in a bucket or spray bottle to create the cleaning solution. Next, you will need to start cleaning the AC coils by applying or spraying the detergent onto the exterior of the evaporator coils.

Leave the detergent on the coils for a total of 5 minutes or less to break up the dirt and contaminants. Next, use a paper towel, rag, or brush to remove the dirt on the evaporator coils. Depending on the amount of dirt on your coils, you may need to apply one or more coatings of detergent to remove the dirt.

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Use Strong Chemicals & A Pressure Washer

If your evaporator coils are covered in a heavy amount of dirt and debris, you may be required to use strong chemicals and a pressure washer to remove the contaminants from the coils. Once the build up of dirt on the evaporator coils becomes severe, it may become necessary to disassemble the refrigerant lines and coils to remove the debris in your system. Do not attempt to remove parts and pipes in your central air conditioner without a licensed technician. A certified technician has the correct parts, equipment, components, and supplies required to clean the AC coils and restore the circulation of cold air in your house.

Air Conditioner

Use a Foaming Cleaning Agent

The condenser coils in your air conditioner can be cleaned with a foam cleaning agent. Spray a decent amount of condenser coil cleaner on the coils to remove dirt and debris. Once the foam cleaner is applied, it will start to expand to extract the debris and contaminants on the condenser coils.

It will take a total of 5 to 10 minutes for the foam agent to clean the dirt and debris on the AC coils. Give the foam cleaning agent a couple of minutes to loosen the dirt on the coils prior to removing it. Next, use a water hose to rinse the foam cleaner off the fins of your central air conditioner. Position the water hose at a straight angle to the condenser coils and fins to ensure they do not bend. Use the water hose to spray the fins at the top of your air conditioner and work your way to the bottom of the system. To protect your skin and eyes, you will need to use gloves and protective goggles to apply and remove the foam cleaner from the condenser coils.

Utilize Pressurized Air

When the collection of dirt on your coils is not severe, pressurized air can be used to clean debris and contaminants on your evaporator coils. You will need to point the pressurized air in the reverse direction of the standard air flow on the coils to remove the thin layer of dirt and debris. Once the contaminants are removed from the coils, use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the dust and dirt that has become displaced in your system.

Air Conditioner

Apply a Brush

If you are afraid of applying chemicals to your coils, you can utilize a soft brush to clean small amounts of dirt on your evaporator coils. Using a brush allows you to control the total amount of pressure that is being applied to the fragile coils in your air conditioning system. In addition, you can use a brush to access hard to reach areas in your coils that are covered in dirt and debris.

Apply the brush directly to the evaporator coils to loosen dirt. If the build up of dirt on the coils is severe, you may be required to scrub to remove the contaminants. Do not use a wire brush or a brush with stiff bristles to clean the coils in your air conditioner. The evaporator coils are fragile and can be easily cracked or damaged.

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Types of Problems Caused By Dirty Evaporator & Condenser Coils

When the condenser and evaporator coils in your central air conditioner are dirty, your system will need to consume excess energy to disperse cold air to each room in your home. In addition, dirty air conditioner coils can cause various types of problems such as an overheated compressor, frozen evaporator coils, high electric bills, and long cooling cycles. If the coils in your system are covered in debris, the effectiveness of the cooling cycles will be affected.  

What Are The Differences Between Evaporator Coils & Condenser Coils?

The condenser coils are located in the outdoor unit and are designed to discharge heat energy from your house to the outdoors. On the other hand, the evaporator coils are located near the blower motor on the interior of your home. The evaporator coils extract heat and humidity from the air before it reaches the living space through your supply vents.

Air Conditioner

How Do the Condenser & Evaporator Coils Become Dirty?

It only takes a small amount of dirt to reduce the cooling capacity of your central air conditioner. There are a large number of ways the coils can become dirty throughout the summer months. As your air conditioner operates, the evaporator coils in the air handler unit can become covered with pet dander, dust, insects, chemical disinfectants, human air, and dirt. In addition, a build up of pollen, minerals, dirt, exhaust fumes, and grass can negatively impact the performance of your condenser coils.

Central Air Conditioning Repair & Installation Services

If you need help cleaning the evaporator coils or condenser coils in your central air conditioning system, give our team of certified technicians a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 to schedule an appointment. We offer air conditioning repair and installation services in areas of Illinois such as Elmburst, Downers Grove, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, Aurora, and Naperville. Do you need help diagnosing a problem with your heating system? Our technicians offer furnace repair and replacement services in your area. Our team has been offering reliable HVAC services to residents since 1923. 

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