General

Cleaning Your AC Coils: A Little Known Maintenance Necessity

Summer is here, and it is time to think about cooling off. It’s the season of light clothing, swimming pools, and, of course, air conditioning.

Just like any other piece of equipment, your air conditioner needs to be maintained if it is going to function properly. One of the tasks that you need to perform is to clean your evaporator coils.

What are Evaporator Coils?

Evaporator coils are the actual heat exchangers in your air conditioner. They cool the air in your home, and transfer the warmer air outside. This is achieved through condensation, so the coils will collect and shed a small amount of water as a result. This is the water that drips out of the hose attached to your unit.

Depending upon the make of your air conditioner, you may have differently shaped coils. They come in three shapes: slab coils, A- and N- shaped coils. Slab coils are a single flat surface, while A and N coils are made up of two or three panels, and are arranged to resemble the letters in their name.

Why should they be cleaned?

During the course of normal use, your evaporator coils will collect dust and dirt from the air. This will eventually build up and clog the coils. By cleaning this built up dirt, you allow increased airflow, and this improves cooling. The end result is that your air conditioner will not need to work as hard to cool your home, and that translates into savings on your electric bill.

How do you clean them?

You should always clean your evaporator coils on a warm day, when you will be running the air conditioner. You will be using a self-rinsing cleaner, and the water that condenses while the unit is running will help to rinse off the cleaner faster.

Individual air conditioner units will have different designs, but the process of cleaning your coils will always involve the following steps:

1: Adjust your thermostat so that the air conditioner is not trying to cool, and make sure that all power to the air conditioner is turned off.

2: Remove the evaporator coil access panel. Check with your owner’s manual to help you identify this panel.

3: Check coils for rust and dirt. If you are keeping the coils cleaned, there shouldn’t be much dirt built up. It is normal to find a small amount of rust, because these are metal components that are in regular contact with water.

If you find that your coils are excessively rusty or dirty, they may need to be removed for a full cleaning. This can involve the removal of other structural components, so you will need to contact an HVAC technician if this happens!

4: Spray the evaporator coils with an even coat of no-rinse, foaming coil cleaner. This cleaner can be purchased at most department or hardware stores. When it is sprayed on, the cleaner will foam up, and then you should quickly see it start to rinse itself and drain away.

5: Make sure that the drainage hose is clear and clean, or you could run into problems with water filling the collection pan and spilling over.

6: Reattach the evaporator access panel, turn the power back on to the air conditioner, and run it to make sure that the collected water rinses the last of the cleaner off.

This is a simple maintenance chore that should be done twice per year, ideally in the spring and fall. Remember to keep your coils clean, and stay frosty!

AC Masters of Mesa, AZ was founded on the principle of providing Phoenix area residents and businesses the highest level of service at affordable rates.