How to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

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Air conditioners often have two main coils that are responsible for handling the refrigerant, changing the coolant from a liquid to gas form, and vice versa. These are the condenser coils, located at the outdoor unit, and the evaporator coils, located in the indoor unit.

Effects of Unmaintained Air Conditioner Coils

When the AC coils are unmaintained, dust and grime can easily cover the AC coils, causing them to overwork, overheat, or freeze up. The dust can make its way into the air as well, and the air conditioner will tend to malfunction.

  • Overheating air conditioner;
  • Air conditioner is freezing up;
  • Weird smells or sounds coming from the indoor or outdoor units;
  • Broken air conditioner condenser coils;
  • Broken air conditioner evaporator coil;
  • Air conditioner is not blowing cold air;
  • Refrigerant leaks;
  • Short-cycling.

Cleaning Air Conditioner Coils: Two Ways

The main difference when it comes to cleaning the AC coils is the location of the condenser and evaporator coil. Condenser coils are meant to be exposed to weather, and can be cleaned using a liquid coil cleaner, and a garden hose. The evaporator coil is meant to stay indoors, and can be easily cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

Helpful Tip: Before you clean your AC coils, make sure your air conditioner is turned off, and is cut from its power source to prevent any accidents.

How to Clean the Evaporator Coils

Step 1: Open the Indoor Air Handling Unit

First, open the front panel of the indoor unit. Your user manual should show you the proper way of opening the front panel to access the air filter and the evaporator coil. Follow the instructions, being careful not to let the dust fly out into the room.

Step 2: Remove the Filter

Remove the air filter, and set it aside. Clean air filters separately. If you have reusable filters, you can wash these with a mild, soapy water solution made with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Let the filter dry before placing it back into the unit.

Step 3: Vacuum the Evaporator Coil

Once you've removed the filter, you should see the air conditioner fins, and the evaporator coil. Vacuum any loose dust from the evaporator coils to prevent them from flying into the room. Use the brush attachment of your evaporator coil to get the dust particles between the fins and the coils.

Step 4: Brush Out the Grime

Use a small brush, and brush out the grime from the evaporator coils. You can also use a no-rinse coil cleaner to make it easier for you to remove the grime from the air conditioning coils, and to sanitize it at the same time.

Step 5: Use Compressed Air

Use a can of compressed air to clean air conditioner coils. This will dislodge the grime from the AC coils, making it easier to vacuum up the loosened dust particles. Fit the thin straw nozzle between the AC coils to clean out the grime.

Step 6: Vacuum the Coils Clean

Finally, vacuum all the loosened grime away, and place the dry filter back into its original position. Close the front panel, and you can now restore the power to your unit. Wipe the indoor unit with a damp cloth for a complete clean.

Looking to clean aircon condenser? Check this guide.

How to Clean the Condenser Coils

Step 1: Open the Outdoor Unit Housing

Open the outdoor unit by unscrewing the bolts that hold it together. Remove the panels, and set them aside. Make sure to keep track of the different screws and bolts so you can place them back together later on.

Step 2: Clean the Condenser Fins

You should first notice the condenser fins. These are located by the condenser coils, and tend to catch dust first. Vacuum up the condenser fins, and use a fin comb to dislodge dirt from between the fins before you clean the condenser coils. You can also use a can of compressed air to remove the debris from the coil fins.

Step 3: Locate and Clean the Condenser Coils

Locate the condenser coil, which sits right by the fins. You can clean AC coils with a commercial AC coil cleaner, and a foaming coil cleaner is ideal for removing grime from the condenser coil. Apply the cleaner to the condenser coil, then use a brush to scrub it clean.

Step 4: Hose Down the Condenser Coils

Clean AC coils with a hose using the nozzle attachment. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to your AC unit, and use the garden hose to rinse out the condenser unit. This should flush out the debris from your air conditioning system.

Step 5: Let it Dry

Let everything dry before you piece it back together. We suggest doing the AC coil cleaning on a hot day to dry the unit faster. While AC coil cleaning can be done at home, you may have to handle sensitive components in your air conditioning system.

Having your AC unit cleaned professionally is the proper and surefire way to deep clean your AC system without damaging it, and our cleaning and maintenance services at Luce Aircon will make sure your unit maintains its good condition.

Send us a message, and find out how you can optimize your AC cleaning to prolong the useful life of your AC unit! 

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