How to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

The cleanliness of the coils determines the performance of your AC. If clean, the machine can run efficiently as the air can flow smoothly. In the long run, always keeping your coils clean may also prolong the life of your AC.

Coil cleaning is a crucial part of AC maintenance. Over time, coils can become clogged with dirt and dust, which can impede airflow and decrease efficiency. In some cases, dirty coils can even cause the AC unit to overheat and shut down prematurely.

But due to their location, you might be wondering how to reach and clean your AC coils. So here is our complete guide on how to clean AC coils.

How to Reach Your AC Coils

Clean Air Conditioner Coils

There are coils in both indoor and outdoor units. Both should have an access panel that you can open using a screwdriver. If you still have the manual, you might find instructions on how to expose the coils to clean them.

How to Clean the Coils

There are many methods for cleaning your AC coils. Each one uses different tools, but all are equally effective. You can choose the one you find most convenient. Here are the recommended methods:

1. Brush

A brush with metal bristles can damage the fins on the coil, so make sure to use a medium bristle. Try scrubbing for a little longer when you find a speck of dirt hard to remove. If that doesn’t work, try using other methods, but never use a metal or rough bristle.

2. Air Compressor

Blowing your AC coils with compressed air is a good idea if you have the tool for it. Start the process from the cleaner side and work your way to the dirtier one. Remember not to point your air compressor into the ductwork system. For tough dirt, put your air compressor closer to the side of the dirt for more pressure.

Don’t forget to clean your AC coils regularly! Blowing them with compressed air is a great way to keep them clean and free of dirt and debris. Start by blowing the cleaner side of the coils, then work your way to the dirtier side. Remember to not point the air compressor directly into the ductwork system, and for tough dirt, put the air compressor closer to the side of the dirt for more pressure. Regular cleaning will help keep your AC system running smoothly and efficiently.

3. Regular Detergent

If you want to wash it wet, a mild, regular detergent could be the easiest option. Just mix it with warm water and pour it into a hand-spray bottle. Next, spray the solution on the AC coils and leave it for a few minutes. The solution will bind the dirt so you can wipe it off using a soft cloth. You can re-spray several times for stubborn dirt until it is eventually bound and then wipe it off. If you want to wash it dry, first use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove all the dirt from the coils. You can then use a coil cleaning spray or simply a compressed air duster to dislodge any remaining dirt. Either way, make sure that the coils are completely dry before using the AC unit again.

4. Special Cleaner

Instead of using your daily detergent, you can find a special cleaner manufactured for AC coil cleaning. To use the cleaner, spray it on the coils, and you will see foam building up. The foam will bind the dirt and drain itself away. For harder-to-remove dirt, you can reapply the spray foam.

It is also essential that you clean the area around the coils. This includes any debris accumulated on the fins or coils themselves. Gently brush away any dirt or debris with a soft brush, taking care not to damage the delicate fins. You can then vacuum up any remaining dirt and debris.

5. Heavy-Duty Cleaner

If the dirt on your coils is too hard to remove using the mentioned home techniques, you need professional help. A certified HVAC service company has more advanced equipment and more potent chemicals to deal with your AC. However, this won’t usually be the case if you regularly clean up your AC coils.

How Often Should You Do It?

There is no specific rule for how often you should clean air conditioner coils. This depends on how fast the dirt accumulates on your coils. If your coils get dirty quickly, you might need to clean them every three months. But if it is relatively clean, doing it once every 6-12 months might be acceptable.

It is important to keep the coils clean because it helps the air conditioner run more efficiently. A dirty coil makes the unit work harder, leading to higher energy bills and premature wear and tear on the unit.

It is vital to keep your AC clean, including the coils. However, if you do not wish to clean it yourself or do not have the time, you can hire an HVAC company to deal with this matter for you.

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