How to Clean AC Coils: 5 Tips

A well-functioning air conditioner is something that many of us cannot live without. When the long hot days of summer hit, there’s nothing more refreshing than stepping into a room and being hit by a wall of cold air.

Like all appliances, an air conditioner requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition and ensure it is performing at its best. Our previous article on cleaning your air conditioner provides some insights but today we’d like to focus on one key component: AC coils.

If you are wondering how to clean AC coils yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Our guide provides you with a range of information so that you will know how to clean AC coils inside and outside. Our 5 tips are particularly useful and will help you to keep your air conditioner in optimum condition.

Types of AC Coils

Before we jump into the maintenance requirements of AC coils, it is important to understand the different types of AC coils. Knowing this information will help you to understand how to clean AC coils outside and how to clean AC coils inside. It will also help you to determine the appropriate cleaning method to use for your specific AC coil.

Indoor Unit

Each unit of an air conditioner has a coil that is vital to the functioning of the air conditioner. One of these is located in the indoor unit, which is the actual air conditioner that we see blowing out the air inside of a home.

Furnace and Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil, also known as the cooling coil, can be found on the side of the furnace. The role of this coil is to take the heat from inside, moving it to the blower fan which cools it down. The cool air is then put back in the house to lower the overall temperature.

Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit is home to the condenser coil. This coil is responsible for getting rid of hot air. Typically created with copper tubing, this coil helps to moderate the air temperature by transferring air.

Why Do AC Coils Need to be Cleaned?

AC coils are an essential component of any air conditioner. Unfortunately the positioning of the coils means that dust and debris gather on their surface. There are a range of reasons why these coils need to be kept clean and dirt-free:

To Minimize Stress On the System

When AC coils become too dirty, the compressors and fans have to work harder to maintain a cool temperature within your home. It also increases the operating temperature meaning the system is working under increasing pressure. This places stress on the entire system which can lead to greater wear and tear.

The longer you ignore dirty coils, the more maintenance and repairs your air conditioner is likely to need. If you don’t know how to clean AC coils in-house, it is worth engaging a professional to conduct a service on your machine and assess its condition. American Home Water can help with air conditioners in Phoenix.

To Optimize Its Ability to Regulate Temperature

As dirt and debris collects over time, it can impact the coils ability to move air. This means that it will impact your air conditioner’s ability to transfer heat out and cool air in. Your house is likely to become quite humid as your air conditioner will be unable to effectively regulate the inside temperature. If you want your air conditioner to keep your home cool, it’s important to ensure your AC coils stay clean.

To Minimize the Cost of Cooling

The harder your air conditioner has to work, the more electricity it has to use. Dirty coils put the air conditioning system under a lot of pressure, meaning it has to work harder to maintain a cool temperature. If you want to minimize your power bills, keep your AC coils clean and the machine in good working order. This way it will run efficiently and need less electricity to operate.

5 Tips for Cleaning AC Coils

Get a Maintenance Check On Your AC Coils Once a Year

It is difficult to determine exactly how often to clean AC coils yourself. After all, there is no exact answer. The dirtiness of your coils will depend on how often you use your air conditioner, and this will determine how regularly they need cleaning.

That being said, it is important to get an annual maintenance check from a professional to test and clean your system. This is best done before summer when your air conditioner will go through a period of heavy use.

Always Check the Specifications of Your Particular AC

If you’re learning how to clean AC coils in-house, always begin by checking the specifications of your specific air conditioning model. Some machines require specific cleaning methods to keep them in the best condition. You also don’t want to ruin your machine or one of your coils by cleaning it the wrong way.

Clear Away Surface Debris

Before using any special techniques, remove the dirt and debris you can from the surface of your coils. This can be done with your hand or you might use a coil cleaning brush that is specifically designed for this purpose. Either way, removing this debris will help you to better see the condition of the coil. Just removing this material will likely help the coil to operate more efficiently although a more in-depth clean is also likely required.

Use a Method Suited to Your Machine and the Coil

Different coils require different attention. For instance, if you’re wondering how to clean a coil outside, compressed air treatment followed by cleaning chemicals is probably your best bet. Indoor coils, on the other hand, often need to be accessed through an outer casing and therefore may need to be cleaned using a different approach. There is a range of cleaners available although a household detergent can also be effective. It really depends on the type of coil and the model of the machine. Always read the manual before starting any cleaning process.

Engage a Professional When Necessary

An air conditioner is a decent investment and one that is often vital to your family’s comfort during summer. If you are unsure about the cleaning process or general maintenance, it is better to be safe than sorry. Call a professional to assess your machine and conduct the required cleaning. You don’t want to cause unnecessary damage that will cost you in the long run.

Now that we’ve run through the process of how to clean AC coils, you should feel a little more prepared to keep your air conditioner in optimum condition. While it may seem like a tedious task, cleaning your air conditioner will help it to operate more effectively and save you money on repairs in the long run. Always remember to engage a professional to help clean and maintain your machine if you are feeling out of your depth. They know what they are doing and will be able to ensure your air conditioner is able to keep your home cool throughout the entire summer. You’ll be glad to have a working machine when the heat hits!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to clean AC coils?

If you hire someone to clean your AC coils, it might cost between $100 and $400. Truth be told, however, you won’t need to spend this kind of money if you clean your coils regularly on your own using the tips we’ve provided above.

Why do AC coils freeze?

AC coils can freeze for a number of reasons. One common culprit is a refrigerant leak but you may also be dealing with a faulty fan, thermostat, poor airflow, or dirty coils. The latter culprit is the easiest to address with regular cleaning.

What are AC coils?

There are two types of AC coils – evaporator and condenser. The former absorbs heat while the latter pressurizes refrigerant and expels the heat removed from inside your home.

Where are AC coils located?

Your air conditioner’s condenser coils are the exterior-most part of the unit. The evaporator coil is a large triangular-shaped component that lies inside the unit.

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