Your air conditioner provides cool air by using a refrigerant that essentially absorbs heat from the air and then transports it to the airspace outside of your property. The refrigerant or coolant continually carries out this process of heat removal until the temperature indoors reaches the temperature you have selected on your thermostat.
There are two coils within your AC system that are essential for this process and each are involved in independent stages of the cooling cycle. One is named the evaporator coil (that traps heat inside your home) and the other is referred to as the condenser coil (that releases that heat into the outside environment).
Carrying out a regular service on your AC system is essential to maintain your systems efficiency and a major part of this process involves maintaining and cleaning the coils. Dirty coils can lead to various issues including increased energy use, impaired heat absorption; increased temperatures in your property, as well as frost build-up.
How to Care for Your Coils
As mentioned, the job of the ac coils is to trap the heat inside your home and release it the outside air in order to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. They also have another role, which is to dehumidify your home as water condenses on them and removes moisture from the air within your home.
Over time your coils can naturally become dirty as the air that hits them naturally carries dust, pollen, and other residues. Dirty air filters in your system can also aggravate this issue, often meaning they need to be cleaned more often, so always ensure that your filters are clean and if not replaced regularly.
You ought to clean your coils at least once a month; however, in reality, this will largely depend on your particular system and in some cases they may need to be cleaned more often. You will know this with time as you get familiar with your AC.
First things first, you will need to gain access to the system in order to clean the each of the coils. Since all systems vary in their configuration, you will usually need to read the user manual unless you have previously carried out maintenance on your ac.
Before you begin unscrewing the access panel always ensure your system is turned off. Only then can you carry out the process safely.
Using Compressed Air
One of the easiest and most effective ways to clean the coils is to use a professional style ac coil cleaner that uses compressed air. This air will mean you don’t even have to touch the fragile coils or attempt to get to hard to reach areas since the pressure of the air will very easily remove dirt residues.
Using a Brush
For more stubborn build-up, you may find that pressurized air is not cutting it, in which case you can try using a brush. This will allow you to apply more pressure to areas with more stubborn spots. Ensure you are using a brush with soft bristles since you really don’t want to damage your coils; this means avoiding steel and wire brushes.
Professional Cleaning Products
In some cases, professional HVAC cleaning products may be required to remove stubborn dirt from your ac coils. These are typically foam formulas that gently remove the residues and the one that is most appropriate for your system will typically depend on a range of factors.
For this reason, it’s always best to seek the advice of a local HVAC service person if you are finding that the other cleaning options are not working for you. This is the safest way to ensure you are cleaning your system without damaging it.
Ensuring that your air conditioners coils are well maintained and free from dirt is essential for the long-term health and efficiency of your system. Dirty coils can not only lead to a drop in the efficiency of your system but can also lead to increased energy bills and frost build up during the winter months.
In order to clean your coils effectively and safely always ensure you read your system’s manufacturer guidelines and if required seek the advice of a local HVAC technician.
Editorial Note: Last week, a website visitor commented on an article about HVAC Care for Pet Owners and offered a comment that we should also clean our coils. I invited that visitor to submit a “how to” post for us to share on DIY Home & Garden. This is that post. Thank you for sending this valuable information Heat Talk team! I literally had no clue that I should be doing this!