In order for your central air conditioner to efficiently deliver cool air throughout your home, it requires regular maintenance. Without a maintenance regime, the air conditioner will use more electricity to cool your home and may not do so effectively. Clean A/C evaporator coils are a key part of any air conditioner maintenance checklist. A professional A/C tune-up will include this step, though it can’t hurt for a handy homeowner to know how to clean A/C evaporator coils.
What Do Evaporator Coils Do?
Air conditioning relies on the unique heat-exchange capabilities of chemical refrigerant, which can evaporate into a gas relatively easily and then condense back into a liquid. In the evaporator coil, usually attached to the furnace plenum, the refrigerant extracts heat energy from the indoor air as the chemical transitions into a gas. This creates indoor cooling.
Dirty A/C Evaporator Coils
Over time, the cool, damp evaporator coils will attract a coating of dust and gunk, which may include mildew, mold and bacteria. These materials will impede the vital heat exchange that occurs when the refrigerant is extracting heat from the inside air. Anything that restricts that process will erode cooling efficiency and performance, and eventually lead to breakdowns in the compressor and other parts.
How to Clean A/C Evaporator Coils
- First turn off the A/C’s power at the breaker box.
- Open the cover of the evaporator coil.
- Take a shop vacuum and/or stiff wire brush to clean out the condensate drain pipe to make sure the A/C can expel the water that accumulates during air conditioning.
- Use a brush with stiff bristles (not wire) to remove gunk from the coil; use a clean cloth to wipe away whatever the brush isn’t removing. Spray the coil with a dedicated foaming agent made specifically for this chore.
Your best bet with any air conditioner maintenance (other than simple filter changes) is to have it done by a trained processional during an annual A/C maintenance tune-up. Call us at Aladdin’s Heating & Cooling to schedule your appointment today. We serve communities in Southeast Michigan, including Birmingham, Oak Park and Grosse Pointe.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Warren, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about evaporator coils and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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