Knowing how and when to clean the evaporator coils on your air conditioner can increase the comfort of your home and save money into the bargain. Read more to learn how you can increase the efficiency of your home air conditioning unit.
Understanding Your Air Conditioner
it is a common misconception the refrigerant that circulates in the evaporator coil adds coolness to the air. In reality, it extracts energy. When heat energy is removed from the air, all that is left behind is coolness. Anything interfering with the heat transfer degrades the efficiency of your A/C and will result in higher energy bills. Further, unclean coils can be the cause of coil icing, eventually causing the entire coil to freeze, shutting down the AC system. As the evaporator coil is installed in your systems airstream, it becomes very attractive to contaminants and dust. The evaporator coil should be inspected on an annual basis. but sometimes if there is enough dirt the inside coil surfaces can be affected.
Cleaning Evaporator Coil Steps
- Obtain some commercial no-rinse coil cleaner. Usually, it is in a spray can whose contents are applied to the surfaces of the coil.
- Look inside the attic or the closet for the air handler unit.
- Switch off the power to the air handler at the circuit breaker or main switch.
- Locate the coil access panel and remove the metal reflective tape that seals the seams.
- Extract the screws securing the coil access panel to the air handler.
- The configuration of the evaporator coil is in an A-Frame design with two sides. Check the surface of the coil for dirt and dust as well as mold. If you see mold it needs to be treated by an HVAC contractor who can use biocides in your cooling systems.
- Use the spray on all the exposed surfaces of the coil. Give the cleaner enough time to soak in so it then drips down into the condensate drain pan located underneath the air handler.
- Examine the drain pan as the cleaner is soaking the coil. Search for any presence of algae or mold growth. Minor algae or mold can be treated with a 50/50 combination of water and bleach.
- Take some water and pour it down the condensate drain tube leading away from the drain pan. This will confirm the tube is open and draining correctly. If it appears there is a blockage, for example, if water is standing in the drain pan, contact your HVAC contractor to clear the blockage.
- Once the coil cleaner has dropped away from the coils, perform an examination of the coil surfaces searching for any areas in need of another application of cleaner.
- Finally, take the metal access cover and reinstall it, making sure the screws are well tightened. Use some tape around the access cover seams. Turn on the system to restore power to the air handler and to generate condensation on the coils to provide extra rinsing.
It is worth remembering the best prevention for dirty coils is to get a high-quality system air filter and change it on a regular basis. During the cooling season, you may want to change it once per month.