How Can I Clean My HVAC Coils?

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Components that are out of reach inside the system cabinet or air handler enclosure are often ignored or neglected when it is time to do an annual repair operation on your HVAC system. 

The evaporator coils in your air conditioner are one of these crucial elements. When the AC coils get dirty, the system loses efficiency and output, which can lead to system failure or injury.

Before you begin cleaning your AC coils, you should have a clear understanding of how your air conditioner works and the significance of the evaporator coils. 

Why are HVAC Coils Important? 

The primary purpose of the evaporator coil is to absorb heat from your home’s indoor air. The condenser coils also known as the fan coils expel the concentrated heat into the air surrounding the outdoor device while the evaporator coils do their work.

Both coils are usually made of copper and are encased by a series of aluminum fins that aid in heat transfer. Condenser coils are found in the outside cabinet of your HVAC system, while evaporator coils are found inside your home in the indoor air handling unit.

Evaporator coils are critical to the efficiency of your AC system’s cooling mechanism since they provide the requisite cooling to produce the cold air that keeps the indoor air of your home or business comfortable, even in the hottest of temperatures. 

They also aid in the dehumidification provided by your HVAC system. When the coils cool, water condenses on them and is then filtered from the indoor air. The water is stored in the drain pan and securely discharged from the system.

When the condenser and evaporator coils get contaminated, the following issues arise:

  • Coil ice build-up
  • The machine will be subjected to further wear and tear 
  • Heat transfer is reduced due to a reduction in cooling capability.
  • Increased energy use
  • Temperatures and operational pressures that are higher 

How to Clean Your Coils

Having access to your AC coils is clearly the first step in cleaning them. The evaporator coils are located behind the removable access panel within your indoor handling structure. 


Before you do something else, make sure the air conditioner is turned off at the thermostat. To be safe, you might want to turn off your circuit breaker. 


Then, undo the panel by removing the screws or fasteners, make sure to set the panel and screws aside so they don’t get lost.


After that, clean your AC evaporator coils using one of the following methods:


1. Blast the dirt away with compressed air!


You’ll want to blow compressed air over the coil in the reverse direction of the natural airflow. Often, use a constant airflow around the coil, wear eye cover, and clear up the dirt and debris when it becomes dislodged with a shop vac.



2. Scrub with a soft brush

This can be a good way to get rid of small quantities of debris from coils while still giving you greater control over the vibration and cleaning areas. You’ll wipe the dirt away with the brush directly on the coils, scrubbing if possible for harder-to-remove dirt. You can use a soft brush to clean the fins, as rough bristles or wire brushes will harm them.


3. Let it sit and foam with commercial cleaners


When it comes to washing the evaporator tubes, you’ll have a variety of cleaners to choose from. When you’ve decided on a cleaner brand, follow the manufacturer’s directions. 


Allow the cleaner to settle and bubble until the foam and debris have dissipated. Reapply if required (or according to the instructions) until the coils are clean and free of accumulation.


4. Don’t forget good old detergent and water


Works time and time again! If you don’t want to use a commercial cleaner, a gentle detergent and water will disinfect the coils almost as well. In a spray bottle or garden sprayer, combine a clear detergent and warm water. 


Allow a few minutes for the solvent to sink in and loosen the soil and residue on the evaporator coils. Reapply as desired after wiping away any loosened substance with a soft brush or rag.


5. Steam Cleaner or Pressure Washer

You can need to use heavy-duty cleaning chemicals and appliances, such as a steam cleaner or pressure washer if your evaporator coils are deeply soiled. It may also suggest that you need to disassemble more of your AC device than just clean it, such as removing the coil, cutting the refrigerant wires, and then reassembling it.



Have You Been Searching for an HVAC Repair Service You Can Trust?

Congratulations, you’ve found it! Superior Mechanical Services, Inc. began in 1948 as a family-owned business with a vision to provide value-minded service with a down-to-earth approach to customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As the premier Commercial and Residential HVAC repair company for Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton, Superior Mechanical can do it all, from heating and air conditioning services to boiler services, to plumbing services. Our AC repair technicians are certified professionals who will ensure every part of your project is done right using a careful checklist to guide and test each step. At the end of your appointment, we’ll show you how to get the most out of your system and give you tips on maintenance so it lasts for years to come. Contact us today for amazing service tomorrow!

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