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How to Clean Your AC's Evaporator Coils

Closeup of an evaporator coil sitting on a concrete slab

Understanding how to clean your AC's evaporator coils is essential for maintaining your cooling system's efficiency and extending its lifespan. While cleaning the evaporator coils can be time-consuming, it doesn't necessarily require professional expertise. Knowing how to properly clean these coils can significantly improve your air conditioner's performance and reduce cooling costs.

The evaporator coils are crucial for absorbing heat from the air in your home, making them a key component of your AC system. Keeping these coils clean ensures optimal operation and cost-effective cooling. This guide will cover the following topics:

By learning how to clean the evaporator coils yourself, you can enhance your AC's performance and prevent potential issues down the line.

Need help with an AC cleaning and inspection? Contact George Brazil Heating & Cooling

As Phoenix's most trusted HVAC company, we'll fix your AC unit in one visit. Plus, our work is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Evaporator Coils Explained

Evaporator coils are a crucial component of your air conditioning system, responsible for cooling the air by absorbing heat from inside your home. These coils are typically made of copper or aluminum tubing that's filled with refrigerant, which helps in the heat exchange process. Clean evaporator coils work better and longer than those with dirt and debris inhibiting heat exchange. Coils covered in dirt have to provide more cooling to offset the insulating properties of the dirt coverage.

Signs Your Evaporator Coils Need Cleaning

There are lots of things that could indicate a problem with your evaporator coils. Some of the most common issues that tell you to give the evaporator a thorough cleaning include:

  1. Reduced Cooling Efficiency: If your AC unit is working harder and longer and your home isn't as cool as usual, no matter what temperature you set on the thermostat, it's a sign that your evaporator coils might be dirty.
  2. Increased Energy Bills: Longer cooling cycles mean your AC unit is working harder and using more power to produce cooling for your home. All of that translates into higher energy use.
  3. Icing Over: If your coils start to turn into a mini-iceberg, it's a sign that poor heat exchange performance is due to dirty coils. The dirt in the coils is what's freezing in most cases, so getting rid of it is the first step in fixing the problem.
  4. Musty Odors: Dirty evaporator coils can create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, leading to unpleasant odors circulating through your home when the AC is running.

Preparation and Safety Tips Before Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your evaporator coils, it's essential to take some safety precautions and gather the necessary tools. First, find the power shut-off for your AC unit. You don't want to be working on it with the power on. Next, ensure you have all the cleaning supplies you'll need to thoroughly scrub the unit. You'll need a soft brush, fin comb, coil cleaner solution, a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, and safety gear.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning the Evaporator Coils

Below is a guide on how to clean your evaporator coils.

  1. Access the Coils: Locate the evaporator coils and remove any access panels or covers to the coils.
  2. Inspect for Damage: Before cleaning, look at the coils for signs of damage, such as bent fins or corrosion. Bent fins can be straightened using the fin comb.
  3. Apply Coil Cleaner: Spray the coil cleaner solution onto the coils. Let it sit as directed on the packaging.
  4. Brush and Vacuum: Use the soft brush to gently scrub the coils and dislodge dirt and debris. Be careful not to bend the fins. Grab your vacuum with a brush attachment to remove the dirt and debris. Some coil cleaners may require rinsing with water when you're done. If rinsing, use a gentle spray of water to avoid bending the fins.
  5. Let Dry: Coils must air dry completely before you put the panel or cover back in place.
  6. Restore Power: Once everything is reassembled, turn the power back on and test the system.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Buildup

Regular, professional maintenance is the best way to prevent issues with your evaporator coils or your entire AC unit. At George Brazil Heating & Cooling, our techs perform comprehensive maintenance, including cleanings. We'll also inspect your unit and perform any needed safety testing.

To help keep your unit in good repair between maintenance visits, be sure to keep up with air filter changes and keep the area around your AC clean and clear.

Need help with your AC? Call George Brazil!

At George Brazil Heating & Cooling, we've been diagnosing air conditioning issues since 1955. We'll determine what's causing your cooling system to struggle and set it right. Check out our 2,000+ 5-star reviews for a better idea of our service.

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