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 perfectly. The air will be more comfortable too. Usually, it is best to clean it once every spring. Below are the steps to look out for.

  1. 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.
  1. 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 air flow.

  • 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.
  1. 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 under 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.
  1. 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.
  • This should be handled by a certified technician and don’t try to DIY it.
  1. 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.
  1. Soak and Clean

These evaporator coils can be cleaned in the 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 a fine comb from when running down, the foam is cleaned 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.
  1. Dry and Reassemble the Unit

Once the cleaning is done, let it dry. For the water-free foam, you can simply let it be after applying.

  • Reassemble the unit part by part.
  • If you had kept the screws properly you shouldn’t find it difficult.
  • Turn on the AC to let the water-free foam to condensate away now.


  • In the case of air conditioners where the fan stays fixed and cannot be removed, 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.