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Maintaining Your AC Coils Cleaning Guide (Big Tip: Use A Coil Cleaner!)

Maintaining your A/C coils with the right coil cleaner and cleaning guidelines helps your air conditioning unit to function well.

An air conditioner's evaporator and condenser coil acquire dirt after using it for several months and even years. If the filter is cleaned regularly, the evaporator coil becomes less prone to becoming dirty. Then, the evaporator coil will resume collecting dirt over time. This dirt interrupts airflow and covers the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. Examine your evaporator coil annually and clean it as necessary to avoid this problem.

If the external environment is dusty or there is greenery around, outdoor condenser coils can become exceedingly unclean. The condenser coil is visible, and you can detect if dirt has accumulated on its fins.

You should keep debris and dirt away from the condenser unit. These small particles might come from the AC’s dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower. Allow airflow around the condenser by cleaning the coil area, removing trash, and pruning foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters).

WHAT ARE A/C COILS?

The heat transfers from the air within your home to the outside air using AC coils. That's why it's a very important AC component.

There are two types of coils in your air conditioner: evaporator and condenser coils. Any problem with either of them could trigger your HVAC system to fail and cease working. During the heat transmission process, they cooperate.

Evaporator Coils

In the interior air handler, evaporator coils are U-shaped pipes constructed of copper, aluminium, or steel. The coils are hidden under fins, which are thin metal strips. During the cooling process, the evaporator coils take heat from your home.

The evaporator coil is positioned in the indoor unit of a mini-split air conditioner while it is installed in the air handler of a central system. Before accessing the evaporator coils, the refrigerant flowing through the system is cooled to a low temperature. Warm air is taken into your HVAC unit and fanned over cool evaporator coils, which drain the heat and cool the air down. The cool air is blown back inside by fans behind the evaporator coil, lowering your home's temperature.

These coils are often composed of copper, but steel or aluminium can also be used. Copper is the ideal material because it has a higher thermal conductivity, is better to work with, and requires little maintenance.

Maintain your coils, though, since dirt and dust can accumulate over time and diminish their performance. This dust accumulation can clog the condensation drain, causing refrigerant leakage. While the air filter protects it, regular cleaning will help maintain your evaporator coils in top shape.

Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are found inside the outdoor air conditioning cabinet. They're composed of metal and have the appearance of little tubes. The condenser coils are responsible for releasing the heat absorbed by the evaporator coils externally.

The condenser coil, the polar opposite of the evaporator, extracts heat from the coolant and discharges it into the atmosphere. You can locate it in your air conditioner's outdoor unit.

You might feel hot air flowing out of the outside unit of your ac unit if you stand outside it. It's the heat emitted by the condenser when converting a hot vapour to a hot liquid refrigerant. With a fan moving heat away, the evaporator coil practically functions opposite the condenser.

HOW DOES IT GET DIRTY?

Moisture, dust, and other contaminants collect on the surface of your coils over time. Excess dirt can build up on the evaporator coils if you haven't washed your AC filters in a while, causing serious harm. Your air conditioner would use more energy, resulting in higher utility bills. Replacing your air filters might help you save anywhere from 5% to 15% on your energy bills.

If the exterior environment is dirty or if you have plants planted around your outdoor unit to hide it, the condenser coils can become contaminated. Falling leaf leaves might jam the coils of your condenser.

CLEANING YOUR AC COILS GUIDE

Cleaning the oil in your air conditioner may appear overwhelming, but it's quite simple. First, switch off and detach your air conditioner from the power supply. After that, disconnect the coil access panel to gain access to the coils. Remove any filth, dust, or debris with a brush or an AC oil cleaning. Make certain to explore all of the nooks and crannies. Reconnect the access panel and switch on your air conditioner after cleaning the coils.

Finding Your AC Coils

Accessing Evaporator Coils

  • You must remove the access panel to access the coils in your indoor unit.
  • Find the location of the access panel in your air conditioner's handbook.
  • Remove the panel's sealing tape.
  • Loosen any screws or fasteners connected to the access panel after that.
  • To gain access to the coils, remove the panel cover.
  • A V-shaped frame with two panels of coils coated with aluminium fins will be seen.

Accessing Condenser Coils

  • Start by removing the condenser cover after turning off your unit.
  • You can find a cage inside the device.
  • Remove the screws from the cage's bottom.
  • After removing the cage, the fins and AC coils will be visible.

Things You'll Need:

Most of these items are in your home. However, you may need to invest in a fin comb, coil comb, and coil cleaning detergent. Before you begin, make sure you have the following items in your possession:

  • Coil comb
  • Fin comb
  • Gloves
  • Coil Cleaner
  • Clean Cloth
  • Cleaning brush
  • Protective eyewear

USE A COIL CLEANER TO MAINTAIN YOUR AC COILS THE RIGHT WAY

Many chemical cleaners on the market are specifically developed for DIY AC coil maintenance. Foaming cleansers are commonly accessible because they effectively loosen dirt and debris from coils. It would be best to avoid acidic coil cleaners on copper coils.

What is coil cleaner?

An aircon coil cleaner cleans the soils, filth, and oxidation film accumulated on the coils and fins of air conditioners, humidifiers, condensers, and heat exchange devices. Air circulates more freely, and the systems work and cool more efficiently when coils and fins are clean. It enhances the cooling system's overall performance while also lowering electrical expenses. Regular use of central air conditioning systems and window or portable units will help them work at their best.

What is in coil cleaner?

In coil cleansers, potassium or sodium hydroxide are commonly utilised as active agents. They are cleaned using similar etching and hydrogen gas as the acid cleaning method. Even though they do not brighten metal as much as HF or ABF, they are safer for personnel because exposure does not necessitate professional first aid. When these materials come into contact with aluminium in high concentrations, they create hydrogen gas, resulting in thick foam. Acids are less effective than alkalines at removing oily contamination.

Alkalines, like acid-based treatments, can be used in high concentrations on badly contaminated air-cooled condensers to clean, foam, and brighten aluminium. You can use these items for light-duty cleaning to enhance the alkalinity (pH) of cleaning solutions in a highly diluted form. There'll be no etching of aluminium and, as a result, no hydrogen gas or foaming action at high dilution. Potassium hydroxide is the greatest choice for coil cleaning since it is the cheapest of the two alkaline hydroxides described above, potassium and sodium.

Because sodium is the cheapest and least soluble of the two alkaline hydroxides listed above, potassium hydroxide is the best choice. Because potassium hydroxide is more soluble, it rinses off coils more easily, lowering the risk of equipment damage.

How to use air conditioner foaming coil cleaner?

  1. Read all of the instructions before using the AC coil cleaner.
  2. As needed, apply the AC coil cleaner and wait for it to bubble up and break up the dust. Allow for 5-10 minutes of resting time.
  3. If necessary, reapply.
  4. If the cleaner's label says to wash off foam, use a garden hose set to low pressure. You could use a rinse-free cleanser on indoor coils.
  5. Do not switch on your air conditioning unit just after washing the coils. Allow 30 to 60 minutes for the device to dry.

OTHER EFFECTIVE WAYS TO CLEAN YOUR A/C COILS

Use a Brush

Using a brush is a simple solution when dealing with dust that has gathered due to the regular use of an air conditioner. A simple brush will suffice, but a special coil brush is recommended if you want a more thorough clean.

  • Look for any evidence of layers of dust, leaves, or spider webs on the coils' external surface.
  • Brush the coils lightly with the brush and sweep the dust.
  • Carry on in this manner until all traces have been eliminated.
  • Please clean it up between the coil fins with a coil comb. Please do not force the comb through any areas that don't pass freely; you can easily tear the thin fins.
  • If you see any bent fins, use a fin comb to straighten them gently. Straighten it by running it parallel to the fin line.
  • When you're through, clean the area surrounding the device thoroughly.

Note: If you use a brush with stiff bristles, you risk damaging your AC coils' fragile fins.

Using a Compressed Air

The compressed air approach can be used to remove light dust accumulations. Condenser coils should be cleaned using this manner. When used on evaporator coils, it might cause dust to blow into your home. This method is recommended if you don't want to take the device apart to clean the coils.

  • Direct compressed air in the opposite direction of airflow.
  • Place the nozzle close to the side that requires additional cleaning and guides the air.
  • Maintain a steady flow to ensure that the dust is removed smoothly and that the coils are not damaged.
  • If much pressure is needed, blow at a 90-degree angle or straight at the fins, so they don't flex.
  • Blowing air into your ductwork is bad since it might choke them up and cause more problems. Take a look at this guide to air duct cleaning and maintenance.
  • Place the cover back and clean the area around your outside unit once you're done.
  • To prevent dust or leaves from falling inside your unit, place a piece of plywood on top of it.

Note: You avoid getting dust in your eyes. Make sure to wear protective eyewear.

Use a Homemade Coil Cleaner

If you don't want to use expensive cleaners, a simple AC coil cleaning that you may manufacture at home is an option.

  • For condenser coils, you can use a garden hose to rinse them. In a spray bottle, combine a detergent and warm water.
  • Allow the cleaner to sit for a few minutes after spraying evenly over the coils.
  • Then, using a cloth, wipe away all of the filth. 
  • Before turning on the unit, wait 30-60 minutes for it to dry.

Call a Professional for Heavy Duty Cleaning

Consider heavy-duty cleaners like pressure washing or steam cleaning if your AC coils are encrusted in filth that won't come off with conventional methods. Be cautious, as the enormous pressure generated by these methods has the potential to break the coil fins and inflict serious damage. If you have never utilised these techniques previously or are not confident enough to handle them yourself, contact an HVAC specialist.

How Often Should You Clean Aircon Coils

But how often should your air conditioner coils be cleaned? A decent rule of thumb is to clean the dust and debris from your AC coils every two months. Please follow this regimen in addition to your annual AC tune-ups.

Several factors influence the frequency of AC coil cleaning:

  • You should clean your air conditioner more frequently if it is used frequently.
  • You may have to clean your coils more often if you live in a polluted area.
  • How often you change your AC filters affects how often you wash your HVAC coils.

CLEAN YOUR AC COILS!

Cleaning the coils on your air conditioner is crucial to keeping your HVAC system in good working order. It will help your air conditioner function more effectively while extending its life. Plus, you'll save money on future costly repairs or replacements. You may ea3sily do this work over the weekend if you follow the basic cleaning methods provided in the blog! It's now time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

If you're looking for great ac cleaning kits with a good coil cleaner, you can find one here at HVAC Shop in Australia. Our customer support will be willing to assist you in all of your HVAC needs.