How to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

Air conditioners are marvels of modern technology, but like most devices, they need regular maintenance to keep them up and running. Cleaning the air conditioner coils is one of the easiest ways to keep your unit in tip-top condition without spending a lot of money on tools and service.

How to Clean AC Coils

Air conditioner condenser coils are where the heat from the air being cooled is absorbed and released to the outside air. Keeping them free of dirt and debris provides more surface area to absorb and release heat, which means your unit will cool more efficiently.

But first you’ll need a few things before you get started:

  • Screwdriver
  • Container for screws
  • Garden hose
  • Coil brush (sometimes called a soil brush)
  • Foaming coil cleaner
  • Fin brush (optional)

Step One: Get to the Coils

If you have central air conditioning, you’ll find the coils behind a removable panel. Use the screwdriver to remove the panel, putting the screws in a container, preferably with a lid.

Step Two: Remove Debris

Once the coils are exposed, visually inspect them for damage and large debris like cobwebs, leaves, twigs, and other dirt. You can easily remove these by hand and then use the coil brush to clean smaller dirt and debris from the coils. Simply guide the coil brush gently along the coils in a parallel direction.

Step Three (optional): Straighten the Fins

Coils can easily be damaged by debris causing them to become dented or bent. If you have a fin brush, you can run it along the coils just like you did with the coil brush to straighten the fins. This also increases the surface area of the condenser coils but is an optional part of your AC maintenance. If you don’t have the time or the tools, you can skip this step.

Step Four: Foam Cleaner

Spray the coils with the foam cleaner so that all of the coils are completely covered. The cleaner should foam up right away, hiding all of the coils from view. Read the instructions on your particular cleaner, but in most cases, you’ll have to let the foam sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step Five: Rinse

You’ll need the garden hose for this part, and this is mainly for those with an outside unit. Simply spray the unit with the hose to remove all of the cleaner. If your condenser coils are inside, you can use a “no-rinse” cleaner, although these are a little pricier than other cleaners.

To avoid unnecessary AC repair costs, you should clean the coils at least once a year. For other AC maintenance or if your unit isn’t working correctly, call Custom Air Systems today.