Clean the A/C Coils for Best Efficiency

Posted On: July 07, 2013

A/C coils are a vital component in your air conditioning unit. Proper maintenance of the inside (evaporator) and outside (condenser) coils, can improve the efficiency and lengthen the lifespan of your entire system. Fortunately, keeping them clean enough to function properly is not difficult.

What are AC coils?

A typical central air conditioning system uses coils to absorb and expel heat. The indoor evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air blown over it by a fan. This heat absorption cools the air inside your home or business. The exterior condenser coil expels this heat into the outdoor air. Refrigerant running inside the coils is actually the agent of heat exchange.

Why clean your AC coils?

With air blowing over A/C coils, they slowly collect dust, pollen and other contaminants. Moisture in the air can help create a grimy coating on these coils that prevents them from absorbing and expelling heat properly. In addition, these substances become breeding grounds for fungus and bacteria. Cleaning your A/C coils saves money and supports your physical well-being.

How to clean the A/C coils

  • Proceed carefully. You do not want to damage the equipment.
  • Turn off the thermostat. You don’t want the machinery operating while you work.
  • Remove the access panels on your unit. You will need a socket wrench or screwdriver for this.
  • Inspect the coils. They will probably be dirty and a little rusty if the unit is older. Note any cracks because these may be signs of a leak. In such a case, you will need to hire a professional to deal with the leak and recharge your system with refrigerant.
  • Spray coil cleaner evenly over the coils. It will break down contaminants and rinse away as it liquefies. It should collect in the drain pan below and run down the drain.
  • Replace the access panels, tighten the screws and secure it with metal foil tape.

Regular cleaning is a good idea. Inspect your A/C coils frequently and clean them every spring before periods of heavy use begin. Make sure you schedule annual professional maintenance for your A/C regardless of whether you clean the coils yourself. To learn more about this process, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We have been proudly doing business in the Metro East area – including the communities of Edwardsville, Bethalto and Collinsville – since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about cleaning your A/C coils and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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