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AC Coil Cleaning Guide

AC Coil Cleaning Guide

Air conditioners are made from a variety of different parts and pieces. However, few parts and pieces are as important as the coils. Without them, the system couldn’t produce cold air at all. 

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Unfortunately, these coils encounter problems if they get too dirty. This can cause them to work less effectively or create other issues. 

If this happens, AC coil cleaning is necessary. Understanding this and how to go about coil cleaning is key to keeping your air conditioner working. 

What Is an Air Conditioning Coil?

An air conditioner has two potential coils on it. These are the condenser coils and the evaporator coils. 

The condenser coil is located outside the condenser. This large metal box usually sits outside homes with large AC systems. The coil allows heat to escape outside so the air conditioner can provide cool air.

The evaporator coils are located inside. These coils get very cold. Then, the air conditioner passes air over the coils, cooling the air. This is the cool air you feel leaving the vents in the systems. 

Signs of Dirty AC Coils

1. Reduced cooling

When an AC coil is dirty, it causes the entire air conditioner to work less effectively. The dust effectively forms a barrier that disrupts the ability of the coils to either cool the air around them or dissipate heat. In either case, the system won’t cool as well as normal. 

2. AC runs for longer periods

A symptom of reduced cooling is that the air conditioner runs for longer periods. This is because the system has to run longer to accomplish the same level of cooling. So, if you notice that the AC kicks on and stays on for longer periods of time, it may be dirty. 

3. Frost or ice buildup

When a coil is dirty, the dirt can block air flow to the coils. If this happens, frost or ice can start to appear around the coils. These will cause more problems if left for too long, which can lead to more AC repairs being necessary. 

4. Poor airflow

When an AC unit is dirty, the dirt can also limit airflow in general. This causes several problems, but all of them result in the system being less effective than it should be. 

5. Smells

If something is dirty, there is always a chance that it will start to smell. This is particularly true in AC units, which can potentially provide a ripe environment for mold and mildew to grow. If this happens, you may even need indoor air quality testing in addition to AC maintenance. 

6. Increased energy bills

The decrease in efficiency caused by dirty coils can sometimes be difficult to notice. However, the one place where it is clear is in your energy bills. The drop in efficiency will cause the unit to need more power to function appropriately. This will increase your energy bills and, in doing so, provide you with another sign that something is wrong. 

How an AC Coil Gets Dirty

  • Dust: Dust is a common source of dirt on any AC coil. Since dust is essentially everywhere, both inside and outside, it can get everywhere. Eventually, it builds up to a point where it creates a problem. 
  • Pollen: This is a concern when it comes to condenser coils, which are located outside. During the warmer months, particularly in spring, pollen constantly floats around in the air. This allows it to build up just like dust does. 
  • Outdoor debris: Nearly anything can fall onto or near a condenser coil because these coils are outside. Falling leaves and spider webs are commonly found on these coils because of this. However, more serious issues, like animals making a nest near the coils, can occur as well. 

How to Clean AC Coils

If you know how to clean your AC coils, working on them on your own is possible. This makes it easier to maintain your air conditioner

With Compressed Air

One of the easiest ways to clean AC coils is with a blast of compressed air. This is usually enough to clear away a light coating of dust, pollen, or other debris. However, it won’t remove more stubborn buildups. 

A source of compressed air, like a can of air, is needed to clean with compressed air. This can then blow air through the coil in the opposite direction. While this happens, care should be exercised to avoid damaging the fins. 

With Detergent

Cleaning coils with detergent starts with making a mix of mild detergent and water. This is then put into a spray bottle and sprayed onto the coils. You can let this solution sit on the coils for a while and then clean them off again with water. 

With a Commercial Cleaner

Cleaning coils with a commercial AC coil cleaner starts by brushing off any major debris from the coil. This can be done by hand or with a light brush. Then, the commercial cleaner can be applied to the coils. This should be done according to the instructions listed on the cleaner, as some require different cleaning methods. This process usually ends with cleaning the coils with water to wash away the cleaner and any remaining debris. We highly recommend you hire a professional to do this to ensure no damage is done to the coils.

With an AC Tune Up

If you don’t want to clean your AC unit or spend too long researching how to clean AC coils yourself, you will need professional HVAC coil cleaning. You can do this by contacting a local HVAC professional and having them work on the unit. For example, you can schedule online now for an appointment with the professionals at Hurley & David.

Professional AC Coil Cleaning

Professional AC coil cleaning is one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean evaporator and condenser coils. Doing so ensures that the job is done effectively. You may not be able to fully clean your air conditioner’s coils on your own, but a professional will. 

You can also pair an AC coil cleaning with other HVAC activities. For example, air purifier installation will put in air purifiers to improve your indoor air quality. You may even want the company to take a full look at your AC system to see if any other issues need to be addressed at some point. 

The actual process that professionals use to clean AC units is a lot like the process of cleaning the coils on your own. However, it uses more advanced equipment that will get the job done more effectively and with less inconvenience. For example, they may use more intense cleaners on the coils and industrial vacuums to clear out debris surrounding them. 

A professional AC tune-up like this ranges in price. The cost will depend on your location, the company you work with, and other factors. In general, it can range anywhere from $50 to $400. 

Choose Us For Coil Cleaning

AC coil cleaning is an essential part of owning an air conditioner. Without proper cleaning, the AC system will eventually start to become less efficient, less effective, and use more of your home’s electricity. However, with proper cleaning, these problems can be reversed. 

It is possible to clean AC coils on your own. However, letting a professional take care of the issue is safer. Hurley & David will be able to clean your AC unit and have it running like new in no time.