How to Clean AC Coils

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Updated September 22, 2022

The easiest way to ruin the best air conditioners is failing to perform routine and essential maintenance tasks. Central AC units often require exorbitant amounts of cash to repair, but preemptive action saves time and money. You can also save even more money if you take on misting your unit regularly. You can learn more about how AC misters work if you’re unfamiliar with the topic. Below, we’ll show you how to clean central air conditioner evaporator coils, which are necessary for any properly functioning unit.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Clean air conditioner coils maximize your AC system’s cooling power, energy efficiency, and longevity.
  • The evaporator coils are located in the indoor unit either above or below the blower.
  • To clean, brush the dust and debris from the evaporator fins, spray with a commercial cleaner, and rinse.

If you want to read more on these essential maintenance measures, checkout or resource explaining how to check for freon leaks in your central air conditioner.

Insider Tip

A foaming cleanser is best for cleaning a condenser coil because the foam helps pull dirt and debris out of the places you can’t reach.

How to Clean Central Air Evaporator Coils

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Time Required: 30 minutes
  • Total Steps: 8
  • Tools Needed: Bristled Brush, Screwdriver, Drill

Evaporator coils are located in the indoor part of your unit, inside the blower. The evaporator coils hold liquid refrigerant, which removes heat and moisture from the air that passes through them. Unfortunately, when the coils become dirty, it restricts the airflow, reduces efficiency, increases energy consumption, and puts unwanted stress on the entire machine. Regular maintenance through regular cleaning can help maintain AC evaporator coils and ensure more consistent performance out of air conditioning units.

Evaporator coils aren’t the only required preventive maintenance. You should also know how to clean the air conditioner vents to avoid unwanted damage. It’s also crucial to clean the outdoor unit every spring, which is why we have articles explaining how to clean the leaves out of an air conditioner.

STEP 1

Turn off the Ac unit at the circuit breaker.

STEP 2

Using a screwdriver or drill, remove the outer housing and access panel to expose the coils.

STEP 3

Inspect to see if you have dirty coils. Sometimes, you may need a flashlight for a better look. Keep in mind that you’re looking for any debris, hair, or dust matted onto the radiator fins.

STEP 4

Place a piece of cardboard or newspaper below the coils to collect any falling debris.

Warning

If you are a pet owner, remember that a pet’s hair can get caught in the evaporator coil and fins, which restricts the airflow.

STEP 5

Brush the loose debris off the dirty evaporator coil fins.

STEP 6

Spray your condenser coil cleaner onto the fins. Once thoroughly sprayed with the condenser coil cleaner, let sit for 5-10 minutes.

STEP 7

Fill a spray bottle or garden sprayer with clean water. Then, rinse the commercial cleaner from the coils.

STEP 8

Check for any bent aluminum fins. If you find any, use a fin comb to straighten them back out.

STAT: A dirty condenser unit can reduce AC efficiency by up to 40%. (source)

How to Clean Central Air Evaporator Coils FAQs

How do you clean the air conditioner air filter?

Most central air conditioning systems have non-reusable filters. To fix, remove the old one, throw it out, and replace it with a clean filter.

What is the cost of replacing AC evaporator coils?

The cost to replace evaporator coils depends on the model and ranges from $600 to $2,000.

Is it wrong to spray water on your outdoor unit?

Spraying water on your AC's outdoor cabinet will not cause issues. Instead, HVAC professionals recommend spraying off any dirt, leaves, or debris.
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