AC Coil Cleaning – What You Should Know
Unquestionably, the simplest and least expensive approach to increase the effectiveness, toughness, and lifetime of your air conditioner is to clean its coils. Additionally, it reduces operating and repair expenses while improving indoor comfort. These advantages make AC coil cleaning a duty you have to complete every year without fail. Cleaning the coils requires some initial learning, but subsequent cleanings go much more quickly and smoothly.
1. What is AC coil?
As a crucial part of an air conditioner, AC coils are in charge of transferring heat from the air within your home to the outside air. Because filthy coils can’t transmit heat as effectively, your air conditioner will have to work more to chill your home. This can affect the lifespan of your AC unit in addition to increasing energy costs. It’s critical to regularly clean the coils in order to prevent these issues.
Evaporator and condenser coils are the two different types of coils in your air conditioner. In order for heat to transfer, they cooperate with one another. Your HVAC system could malfunction due to any problem with either of them.
>> Read more: Air conditioning system
1.1. Evaporator Coils
The evaporator coils are U-shaped copper, aluminum, or steel tubes found in the indoor air handler. The coils are positioned beneath fins, which are thin metal strips. The heat from your house is absorbed by the evaporator coils throughout the cooling process.
1.2. Condenser Coils
The condenser coils are placed within your outdoor AC cabinet. They have the appearance of tiny tubes and are constructed of metal. In order to discharge the heat that the evaporator coils have trapped outside, condenser coils are used.
2. Importance of AC Coil Cleaning
AC coils are an essential part of the air conditioning process since they absorb and release heat. The dehumidification process also requires the use of evaporator coils. In addition to absorbing heat, they also take in extra moisture from the air, which is then drained away through the drainage system.
When the coils are dirty, these processes are less effective. A layer of dust and debris that forms over the coils affects the heat exchange. Ignoring coil maintenance puts your unit at risk for expensive repairs and shortened AC life.
Maintaining the long-term health of your HVAC system includes cleaning the AC coils. Additionally, it enhances indoor air quality, lowers energy expenses, and increases the longevity of your appliance.
3. How Do AC Coils Get Dirty?
On the surface of your coils, moisture, dust, and other impurities build up over time. Excessive dirt can begin to accumulate on the evaporator coils if you haven’t cleaned your AC filters in a while and could cause serious harm. More energy would be used by your air conditioner, increasing your expenses. Changing your air filters might help you save 5% to 15% more on energy.
If the exterior environment is unclean or if you have plants planted nearby to hide your outdoor unit, your condenser coils may become dirty. Condenser coils might become clogged by leaves that have fallen into the unit.
>> Read more: Overview of the Ventilation System
4. Issues Resulting from Dirty AC Coils
Several problems that dirty AC coils might bring about can have a significant impact on how well your air conditioner functions. The following are the main issues with dirty air conditioning coils:
4.1. Reduced Cooling Capacity
It is your outdoor unit’s job to move the heat outside. However, when your AC coils are clogged with debris, heat transfer is impeded. You will start to notice a drop in your AC’s cooling capacity when this occurs.
4.2. High Energy Consumption
It is very challenging for your device to operate effectively when the coils are covered in trash. As a result, your air conditioner will have to work more and longer to reach the temperature settings that you want. Your system uses more energy than usual as a result, which raises your energy expenses.
4.3. Ice Buildup on Coils
The coils stop working correctly as more and more dirt builds up on them. Warm air does not reach the refrigerant because of the material obstructing the HVAC airflow. The refrigerant gets overly cold as a result of this. Any condensation that forms on the coils then freezes, resulting in ice buildup. Regular AC maintenance is strongly advised to avoid this issue.
4.4. Wear and Tear
Your AC coils could get entirely blocked if you neglect to clean them. The entire system is therefore stressed as a result of the compressor operating at a high temperature. The pricey expense of replacing a compressor can be reduced by performing routine maintenance checks and cleanings on a regular basis.
4.5. Decreased levels of comfort
The removal of unwelcome heat and humidity from your home by the AC coils creates a suitable indoor climate. Your comfort is impacted when coil efficiency declines because your air conditioner has a harder time maintaining the humidity and temperature you choose in your space.
>> Read more: Commercial HVAC system
5. How often should AC coils be cleaned?
Typically, every two months you should clean the dust and debris off of your AC coils. You should perform this procedure in addition to your yearly AC tune-ups. But how often should AC coils be cleaned?
There are various factors that determine how frequently AC coils need to be cleaned.
- You should up the cleaning frequency when your AC usage is unusually high.
- If you live in a region with high pollution levels, you will need to clean your coils more frequently
- The frequency of AC filter replacement affects how often you need to clean the coils.
6. How to Clean AC Coils?
Although cleaning the AC oil may appear difficult, it is actually rather simple and quick. Your AC unit should first be turned off and disconnected from the power supply. To reach the coils, first remove the coil access panel. To get rid of any dirt, dust, or debris, use a brush or an AC oil cleaner. Make sure to explore every crevice and corner. Reattach the access panel and switch on your air conditioner after cleaning the coils.
6.1. Cleaning AC Coils With a Brush
When you are only dealing with dust that has gathered due to the regular usage of an air conditioner, using a brush is a simple solution. A straightforward brush will work, but if you want a thorough cleaning, a specialized soil brush is a better option.
- Look for any signs of leaves, layers of dust, or spider webs on the coils’ exterior surface.
- Sweep the dust from the coils after lightly brushing them.
- That should be done repeatedly until all traces are gone.
- To clean the space between the coil fins, use a coil comb. Avoid forcing the comb where it cannot readily pass through since you risk tearing the delicate fins.
- Use a fin comb to carefully straighten any bent fins you see. For straightening, run it parallel to the fin line.
- When finished, thoroughly clean the area surrounding the appliance.
Reminder: Because your AC coils have sensitive fins that could be harmed, refrain from using brushes with rough bristles.
6.2. AC Coil Cleaning Using Compressed Air
You might employ the compressed air method for little dust accumulation. Condenser coils should never be cleaned using this technique. Dust may drift into your home if you use it on evaporator coils. This procedure is preferred to remove the unit from its location without cleaning the coils.
- Direct compressed air moves in the opposite direction of the current of air.
- Place the nozzle near the side that requires more cleaning, and direct the air there.
- Maintain a steady flow to ensure seamless dust removal and avoid harm to the coils.
- If high pressure is required, blow straight at the fins or at a 90-degree angle to prevent bending.
- Do not blow air into your ductwork as this might clog the ducts and lead to additional issues. Check out this guide to maintaining and cleaning your AC ducts.
- When finished, firmly reinstall the cover and clean the area surrounding your outside unit.
- To prevent dirt or leaves from getting inside your appliance, you can lay a piece of plywood on top of it.
6.3. Cleaning AC Coils Using Commercial Cleaners
There are many chemical cleaners on the market that were created specifically for DIY AC coil cleaning. Since they may quickly dislodge the dirt and debris on the coils, foaming cleaners are commonly available. Avoid using acidic cleansers on copper coils.
- Please read the entire set of instructions before using the detergent.
- When necessary, mist the AC coil cleaner over the coils and wait for it to foam and disperse the accumulated dust. Wait 5 to 10 minutes before using.
- If necessary, reapply.
- Use a garden hose set to low pressure if the cleaner’s packaging says to rinse off foam. You can use a rinse-free cleaner on indoor coils.
- Do not immediately start your air conditioner after cleaning the coils. Give the appliance 30 to 60 minutes to dry.
It’s a relatively cheap insurance policy when you consider all the things that could go wrong with your air conditioner if you overlook AC coil cleaning. The truth is that frequent preventative maintenance, energy savings, decreased repair costs, and a longer system lifespan more than cover the cost of cleaning the AC coils.