Hello there, welcome to our step by step guide on how to clean AC evaporator coils inside the house.
Usually, dirt and grime will accumulate on your AC evaporator coil. And this will impede its proper functioning.
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The evaporator coil is a significant part of your air conditioning system, cooling, and heating if you have a heat pump. It is, therefore, vital to keep and maintain it clean and in good working condition.
We, therefore, give you a detailed step-by-step evaporator coil cleaning process.
Directions on How Clean AC Evaporator Coils Inside House
Cleaning AC evaporator coils is a simple AC maintenance activity that you should master. This will enormously enhance your air quality.
Follow the steps herein to clean your air conditioner evaporator coils if you are unsure.
First, start by collecting the following cleaning equipment:
- Protective eyewear,
- Can of compressed air,
- A nose and mouth mask,
- Nut driver, socket wrench and a screwdriver,
- A soft-bristle brush,
- Commercial or homemade cleaner or a mild detergent and a spray bottle,
- A handheld and cordless vacuum.
With these, you are ready to get started.
Step 1: Switch the Air Conditioner and the Indoor Air Handling Unit, then Find the Evaporator Coil
The first step would be to flip your thermostat to “off.” Cleaning your AC evaporator coils while it is on can be dangerous or a nuisance.
Then, you have to remove the panel from the air handling unit to gain access to the coils. Remember that this will vary from model to model. If you are unsure, please consult with your manufacturer’s handbook or give us a call at HVAC Santa Clarita.
However, for sure, there will be screws and fasteners that you will need to take off. Your screwdriver and other tools such as the nut driver and socket wrench will come in handy at this stage.
Also, some units have reflective metal foil or tape on the edges of the panel. Remove that too.
Tip: Keep all the parts you have removed together and in a place where you won’t lose any of them, including the screws.
Step 2: Identify the Dirty Evaporator Coils
Now that you have access to the internal parts, it is time to identify the evaporator coils that need cleaning.
You can spot them on the air intake side besides the fan coil or furnace outlet. If you’re not sure, look for U-shaped tubes made of steel, aluminum or steel. The coils are generally shaped into an upside-down V-frame of two panels lined with aluminum fins.
Step 3: Clear light build-ups using a can of compressed air
Using a can of compressed air, spray over the coils to get rid of the light build-up. Usually, this would get rid of all the loose particles. Move the can closer and spray from a straight 90-degree angle for stubborn or stuck particles.
Keep straying consistently to force out all the grime and debris.
Remember to blast all the contaminants through and into the ductwork system.
Also, remember to have protective gear for your eyes, mouth and nose. At the end of it all, vacuum all particles on the loose.
Step 4: Remove more stubborn grime and grease using a brush
The compressed air can not clear everything. After that process, you will notice that there is still grime and grease. This is where the brush comes in.
Use the brush to clean the build-up. While at it, ensure you brush off into the hard-to-reach areas. You can apply force accordingly as grease can be tough to remove. However, remember to be gentle while working with the fins. Pressing too hard on them can cause damage. Also, brushing across the fins can make them bend or fold.
Try to brush as much dirt off as possible at this stage. The more dirt you clean at this stage, the less work you will have in the coming stages.
Clean the brush for the next stage.
Step 5: Deep Clean the Remaining Contaminants Using a Cleaner
You can use a mild homemade or commercial cleaner to deep clean the remaining bits of grime. Have a cleaning solution in a spray bottle. Spritz the solution on the brush you cleaned on the previous step, and allow it a minute or two to let it settle in.
Then, gently scrub the gunk that is remaining on the coils. Use short strokes to avoid spreading debris and dirt.
Occasionally, rinse the brush in clean water, reapply the cleaner, and keep brushing until all the gunk is cleaned off. Once done, let the evaporator coils dry and go over them again with a fresh but wet rug.
Important: When shopping for a commercial cleaner, inspect the ingredients, formula, brand, and whether it is easy to apply before you pick it. Also, the cleaner has to be safe for you to use in your AC unit. Many commercial cleaners are harsh and would gradually destroy the components of your air conditioner. Choosing just anything may have you soon looking for an AC company to replace or repair your system.
Step 6: Put the HVAC tape on or metal foil back and return the access panel
The finishing step would be to return the HVAC tape and then reattach the access panel. This is as simple as reversing the first step. Ensure you firmly screw all the screws.
There you go! You have successfully cleaned the dirty evaporator coils. Now your system has optimal cooling capacity.
How to clean ac evaporator coils inside house: Why are Clean Evaporator Coils Important?
Why is cleaning AC evaporator coils essential for maintaining your air conditioning unit? Homeowners often worry about cleaning air filters and leave behind a dirty evaporator coil.
Dirty evaporator coils can be a massive problem for the entire air conditioner. This is why you need to have them clean at all times. Here are signs and symptoms that happen when you have dirty evaporator coils(1):
- Frost build-up on the surface of the evaporator coil.
- Increased pressure and temperatures on the coil itself and AC unit,
- AC unit’s inability to cool the house as correctly as before,
- Increased energy bills.
These problems happen even when there is a thin layer of grime on the evaporator coils. And the same applies to dirty outdoor condenser coils. This is why you need to learn how to clean AC condenser coils too.
What is the Purpose of Evaporator Coils?
To understand how severe a dirty evaporator coil can be, maybe we can look at its role in heating, ventilation and air conditioning your house.
The evaporator coil cools the refrigerant to enable it to absorb heat from the indoor air. Then the fan blows cool air over the evaporator coils and ensures it remains cool enough to transform liquid refrigerant into a vaporous state.
If the evaporator coil is coated in dust or grime, it will not be able to cool the refrigerant liquid as needed. This means that the heat in your house will not be absorbed as needed.
Your house will, therefore, not get cooled well. And, your AC will have to work extra and harder to cool your house. This means it will tear faster. If you avoid cleaning the evaporator coil in your regular AC maintenance, you will soon have to cater for AC installation or air conditioner fixing services.
Heavy Duty Cleaning of AC Evaporator coil
Cleaning your evaporator coil is a simple activity in less than an hour. However, sometimes, the best way for you could be to call for professional AC maintenance. This is even more important if it is your first time cleaning evaporator coils and you are unsure.
Call us for professional air conditioning services when:
- You find out your evaporator coil is filthy and heavily soiled and would benefit from heavy-duty cleaning services,
- It is difficult for you to locate the evaporator coils even after consulting your manufacturer’s manual,
- You would love to accompany the cleaning of the AC evaporator coil with general AC system maintenance.
How to Clean AC Evaporator Coils Inside House FAQs
We answer a few frequently asked questions on how to clean your evaporator coils. Read this so that you can learn how to clean them better.
How Often Should Evaporator Coils be cleaned?
We recommend that you clean your AC evaporator coils at least once a year. The best time to clean them is just before the cooling season starts(2).
What are the symptoms of a dirty evaporator coil?
You will know you have dirty evaporator coils when:
- Your air conditioner starts running for longer,
- AC unit starts losing cooling capability,
- Frost or ice develops on the coils,
Can I clean evaporator coils myself?
Yes, cleaning the coils is a simple DIY process. You can spray compressed air evenly on the dirty coils to get rid of finer dust particles. You can use a soft brush with a mild detergent for stubborn dust particles. Finish off by wiping it with a fresh dump cloth.
How do I clean evaporator coils without removing them?
Cleaning an AC evaporator is a simple DIY because you can do it without removing it. You can unscrew the access panel and put it aside to access the coils. Also, You can then clean it using compressed air through minor access points.
You do not have to concern yourself about disassembling the coils or removing them because you can thoroughly clean it while it is in place.
How do I access AC evaporator coils?
First, we recommend following your manufacturer’s manual as all models are different. However, somehow, you may have to remove a reflective tape and unscrew the access to the AC evaporator coils.
How long should I wait before turning on the AC unit after coil cleaning?
Usually, because there is no direct water pouring involved, it should not take long for you to have to turn your AC back on. After you wipe it clean with a damp rag, you can turn it on after 10-15 minutes.
How much does it cost to clean the evaporator coil?
The cost will depend on several factors. If you have it removed and then cleaned, it will be costlier than having it cleaned without removing it.
Usually, depending on different aspects, the cost can be anything from $300-to $900.
Does Cleaning AC coils help?
It is entirely worth it to clean AC evaporator coils. First, it will improve the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner. It will also lower your electricity bills and prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean AC Evaporator Coils Inside House
It is our time to call it a day for cleaning ac evaporator coils. At this juncture, we are glad that you can perform a quick DIY to keep your evaporator coils clean. A clean evaporator coil will help prevent system failures and improve the general performance of your air conditioning unit.
Feel free to contact us for your evaporator cleaning issues or include them in your AC maintenance package. We will be glad to give your AC unit a new performing power.
Contact us 24/7 for HVAC services!