Normally people wouldn’t do that, but it is not too difficult either.
If you can manage to regularly clean your condenser coils, then not just the AC will consume lesser energy, but also work perfectlyThe air will be more comfortable tooUsually, it is best to clean it once every springBelow are the steps to look out for.
Access the Condenser Coils
Before you can pry open the AC’s housing and do stuff, you need to know exactly how to get inside the box and access the condenser coils. It can break a thing or two if you are not careful enough.
- First, never attempt to work on an AC without disconnecting the power.
- For window and split types, they can just be disconnected from the power supply. Others have a power on/off switch right near the box.
- Especially, window units are easier to clean by taking them out of the window because their layout is different than central and outdoor units.
- Take it to an outdoor area before you begin cleaning, not inside your bedroom.
For Outdoor Units, Clean the Surrounding Area
For the outdoor units, it is important that you clean the complete nearby surrounding from dirt or dust. Usually, over time, foliage and tree leaves or even bird droppings make way and fill up around it blocking the airflow.
- Clean the area about 2 feet from the AC unit.
- Trim the foliage, remove the leaves and other things and make it clean.
- When working on the debris, wear safety gloves first.
Get a Screwdriver and Start Removing The Covers
You cannot access the evaporator coils without getting into the box, so instead get a screwdriver set. You have to pry open the box at times even after removing the screws. Just have to pull the lid then, and the external casing should come off easily.
- First, get the fan assembly removed along with the casing, and clean it directly with water.
- To clean the air conditioning unit, you will need 50:50 water and bleach.
- Check for the drain lines and clean them before using the above solution.
- This is usually at the bottom and looks like a hole in the pan. Also, make sure it isn’t blocked or clogged with debris.
- Pour the above solution to clean the pipes. You may also use algae tablets to prevent the growth of algae in them.
Clean the Outdoor Unit and Check Oil Drips
Before getting in the internals, you should also make sure the outdoor unit or the casket is cleaned of any left debris like a spider web, leaves, twigs, and dust. You can use a vacuum to do this too.
- Cleaning this also means looking for signs of oil drips.
- Even though most compressors and motors are maintenance-free, still look for signs of black dark patches near the bottom.
- A certified technician should do this process, don’t try to DIY.
Clean the Coils with a Garden Hose
Now it’s time to actually clean the evaporator coils. This is nothing to worry about and can be done with a garden hose and running tap water. No special arrangements are required.
- Use an unpowered garden hose because using a power washer will apply forced water and can bend the pipes too.
- Spray the water right over the coils generously and there not need to worry about anything here.
- Spray generously to remove any leftover dirt and prepare it for the spray cleaner.
- If the fan is still attached, do not wash it with water directly with the hose; gently use a wet cloth to clean it nicely.
- You can use foam cleaner for outdoor and indoor units too. Apply this to the coils when they are still wet by spraying them completely with this coil foam cleaner.
- Keep it till it foams completely after the application.
Soak and Clean
You can clean these evaporator coils at home easily. Just soak the above foam cleaner for like 10 minutes or so. Watch that the coils are completely submerged in the foam. If it begins to drip, always apply more foam on the coils.
- Let the soaking stay on for like 10 to 15 minutes and keep them submerged all the time.
- You can use a comb to clean the fins. Usually, they get bend, but by using a fine comb from when running down, you will clean the foam nicely.
- There are fin combs that air conditioner repair guys use which can also unbend the fins, including cleaning the debris and dust.
- Bring your water hose from the garden and give it a nice cleaning under running water.
- As the foam comes off it will take with it the grime and dirt and make the coils look shiny and clean.
Dry and Reassemble the Unit
Once you clean the unit, let it dry. For the water-free foam, you can simply let it be after applying.
- Reassemble the unit part by part.
- If you have kept the screws properly you shouldn’t find it difficult.
- Turn on the AC to let the water-free foam to condensate away now.
Other Ways of Cleaning the A/C Evaporator Coils
How to Clean the A/C Evaporator Coils with a Compressed Air?
You can use compressed air in blowing the evaporator coil to clean the A/C with light accumulations of dirt. To do this, follow the steps below:
- Focus the compressed air in the opposite direction of regular airflow, start with the cleaner portion to the dirtier part.
- In case of stubborn A/C, position the air nozzle at the bottom side of the debris.
- Direct the nozzle at a 90-degree angle into the fins if you will use high-pressure air. This will keep the fins from damaging.
- Make sure there is consistent airflow across the coil. This will get rid of the buildup without forcing the fins and makes it harder to remove.
- Avoid blowing dirt, debris, and dust in the ductwork system or in the spaces where the A/C is located. Do not forget to wear eye protection to keep the dirt out of your eyes. If needed, you can use a shop vacuum cleaner to gather the dirt as it is dislodged.
How to Clean the A/C Evaporator Coils with a Brush?
- Minor accumulations of dirt in the evaporator coils can be easily cleaned using a brush. This process does not require any liquid or chemicals. You can control the pressure needed to clean the coils and fins.
- Open the A/C to expose the coils.
- Brush away the dirt accumulated on the coils.
- Apply some pressure on hard-to-remove dirt.
- Do not use wire brushes or brush with hard-bristle as it may damage the fins.
How to Clean A/C Evaporator Coils with Commercials Cleansers?
You can search online for the best brand of commercial cleaners that you can use in cleaning the evaporator coils. Many of them are foaming type that can easily drain away in the A/C’s drainage system. Ask your local HVAC contractor for a recommended cleanser that is effective for your air conditioning unit. When using these commercial cleaners, you must follow the instructions properly.
- Spray the cleanser into the coils as instructed.
- Let the foaming action take place and wait for the foam and dirt to drain away.
- Repeat the spraying of the cleanser until you thoroughly cleaned the accumulated dirt in the coils.
For Heavy-Duty Cleaning of A/C Evaporator Coils
- Heavily soiled coils require heavy-duty cleaning or chemicals and equipment like steam cleaner or pressure washer.
- The process may include changes to your A/C system, like removing the coil, restoring the vacuum in the refrigerant lines, cutting and reattachment the refrigerant lines, and refilling the system with refrigerant.
- If the dirt affects the A/C function, have a professional cleaning and maintenance expert check on it to provide the best cleaning process. The HVAC professional can do the job well and is equipped with the right tool, material, and training to clean the coil and restore the system function without damaging the coils and other parts.
- In the case of air conditioners where the fan stays fixed and you cannot remove it, avoid washing or cleaning it directly with running water.
- Trying to tighten the knobs for stopping oil drip can also make it worse.
Water-free foam cleaners will condensate when the AC s turned on.