How To Clean Your AC Evaporator Coils

If your AC system isn’t blowing cold air like it used to, dirty evaporator coils could be the culprit. The evaporator coils are responsible for absorbing heat from the air as it circulates through your home. When dust, debris and grime builds up on these coils, it reduces their ability to cool – making your AC work harder with less effective air flow.

Luckily, cleaning evaporator coils is an easy and affordable DIY project that can improve AC performance and efficiency. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn the key steps to clean dirty evaporator coils properly.

What You Need:

  • Coil cleaner spray
  • Soft brush attachment for vacuum
  • Flashlight
  • Drop cloths or sheets
  • Gloves & safety goggles

Step 1: Turn Off AC Power Supply Before doing any work on your AC system, switch off power to the unit. This could require flipping the breaker at the circuit panel or unplugging window units.

Step 2. Remove Outer Vent Cover
Take off the vent cover so you can access the evaporator coil fins inside the unit. This may require unscrewing a few bolts or panels depending on the housing setup.

Step 3. Examine Fins for Debris & Grime
Grab a flashlight and glance inside the coils. Look for a dusty, dirty buildup coating the thin evaporator fins. Note any clogs or obstructions between fins.

Step 4. Lay Out Drop Cloths
Place sheets or drop cloths below the coils to catch drips and debris. This protects surfaces under the AC unit.

Step 5. Spray Coil Cleaning Solution Apply a foaming coil cleaner along the fins and surfaces of the evaporator coil. Avoid contact with skin by wearing gloves. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes.

Step 6. Brush & Rinse Coils Use a soft brush vacuum attachment to gently sweep between and along fins to dislodge dirt. Then rinse thoroughly with water.

Step 7. Sanitize & Deodorize For a deeper clean, spray coils with an AC disinfectant or sanitizing solution after brushing. Let sit briefly then rinse again with water. This kills mold and bacteria while eliminating odors that blow through the vents.

Step 8. Dry Coils & Reassemble Allow evaporator coils to dry completely before turning AC power back on. Replace any housing panels and vent covers removed earlier.

Following this simple AC maintenance will allow your cooling system to run more efficiently this season. Contact an HVAC technician if coils require chemical cleans or deeper servicing. Properly cleaned evaporator coils can significantly improve air flow and energy savings each time you crank the AC.

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