Routine maintenance is a must when you have an air conditioner or HVAC unit. In addition to annual or bi-annual inspection by a professional, your ac unit requires the replacement or cleaning of parts every one to three months, and sometimes only as needed.
Air filters need to be replaced every 1-3 months depending on how dirty they are. The more you use your air conditioner, the more likely you will have a dirty filter that needs changing more often. Vents need to be dusted as needed to keep from blocking airflow. Even internal components need regular care, like the evaporator coil. Poor airflow or cooling can be the result of a dirty evaporator coil. Evaporator coils are what cool the air, and whatever particles do not get caught in the air filters can end up stuck in the evaporator coils.
Evaporator coils are located inside the indoor handler unit, but before you attempt to access them, be sure to turn off your air conditioner and the air handler (safety first!) The air conditioner can be unplugged or turned off via the circuit breaker. The air handler should have an on-off switch near-by, or like the ac unit, shut off from the breaker.
Once power is not reaching the handler, you can open the panel to access the coils. Once the main access panel has been removed, you will see the evaporator coils (an A-framed device taking up most of the space you uncovered). You may notice rust around the coils. This is from condensation when it cools the air. There is another panel, triangle in shape, in the center of the coils. This panel covers the inside of the coils, where you will be cleaning; remove this panel. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the coils or air handler.
Once removed, you can begin cleaning the coils. Nu-Calgon Evap-Powr-C is a cleaning solution that can be used safely on the coils. To avoid making a mess or having any of the cleaning solution drip into other parts of the handler, place towels down along the inside and outside of the A-frame. Mix and spray the solution on the coils and use a brush, a 14in. bench brush is ideal, and a fin-straightening tool (great for removing difficult clumps); you will need to pick one that matches your fins thread-per-inch ratio to clean the surface of the coils.
Keep a bucket of clean water to rinse the brush nearby, and start with spraying the cleaning solution along the coils. Gently, with short brush strokes, rub the brush up and down the coils; do not go in the direction of the fins as this can bend them and block airflow. Rinse the brush often so that the dirt and debris are removed and not just moved up and down along the coils. Once you have brushed along the whole of the coils, spray the solution again to remove dust, dirt, or other debris that was loosened but not removed fully by the brush.
Once cleaning is complete, close everything back up and enjoy a job well done.
Cleaning your evaporator coils is a delicate and lengthy process. If you feel that cleaning your evaporator coils is too long or difficult of a project, contact us to schedule a cleaning today!