Cleaning A/C Evaporator Coils

Spring: the time of year for afternoon strolls around the lake, making sure kids don’t track mud through the house, and performing seasonal maintenance on your home HVAC systems and appliances to prepare for the summer months ahead. One of those seasonal maintenance tasks is cleaning your air conditioner evaporator coils.

Dirt, grime, and mold accumulate on air conditioner coils as a result of regular use. Without regular cleanings, these accumulations will begin to obstruct airflow, reducing your unit’s efficiency and requiring your system to work harder. Over time, the cost of running your system will increase while its cooling capability steadily declines. Dirty coils will also reduce the lifespan of your air conditioning system and can contaminate your indoor air quality by expelling pollutants and allergens into your home.

Changing your filter regularly can help reduce the amount of contaminants that flow through your evaporator, preventing buildup. But it is still recommended that you clean your coils at least once a year, depending on how heavily you use your A/C and how consistent you are with changing your filters.

Cleaning your coils is certainly worth your while—it can improve the efficiency of your cooling system by 16% and isn’t difficult to do.

Follow these simple steps to clean your A/C evaporator coils:

  1. Turn off the A/C at the thermostat.
  2. Remove the access panel to your A/C unit to expose the coil.
  3. Use a compressed air can to blow accumulations of dirt and debris loose from the coil. Direct air in the opposite direction of normal airflow, from the cleaner side toward the dirtier side, to most effectively dislodge debris.
  4. Be careful to avoid blowing debris back into your duct system, and wear eye protection to keep contaminants out of your eyes.
  5. If it’s been over a year since you’ve cleaned your coils and there’s a lot of buildup, you may need to take extra measures. You can purchase commercial cleaning products that break down debris and drains directly into the unit’s built-in drainage system. Consult with your HVAC provider to choose an appropriate product for your unit.

Evaporator coils with extreme accumulation may require heavy-duty chemical cleaners or other equipment best handled by professionals. If this is the case for your system, get in touch with a trusted HVAC provider to schedule a professional air conditioning cleaning and maintenance service.

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