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How to Clean HVAC Coils
Annual preventive maintenance of the HVAC system includes checking vital system components that are inside the system cabinet or enclosure, including the HVAC coils. When the evaporator coils become faulty from dirt, the AC’s efficiency may reduce, the performance will drop, and the system may breakdown. In this article, you will find information on how to clean the HVAC coils.
The basics of cleaning the HVAC coils
The coils should be examined and cleaned as required. If the coils are susceptible to gathering dirt or debris, homeowners need to perform monthly cleaning. Else, cleaning can be done every three months in the cooling season and yearly during routine preventive maintenance.
There should be an access panel on the indoor air conditioning unit to reach the evaporator coil. Usually, the AC owner's manual should have information on how to locate the access panel and coils. Before starting, make sure to:
- Turn off the air conditioner at the thermostat
- Take off screws or fasteners to unlock the access panel
- Store the panel and screws carefully in the same place
Cleaning the coils with compressed air
It is possible to remove the small buildup of dirt and other debris from the coils by blowing them with compressed air. To use, aim the compressed air across the coil, opposite the direction of regular airflow, moving from the cleaner to the dirty area. For more persistent dirt, move the air nozzle closer to the bottom part of the debris.
When using high-pressure air, aim it at a 90-degree angle or straight through the fins to prevent damages. Keep the airflow consistent across the coil to dislodge the accumulation without pushing them further inwards and making it harder to clean.
Cleaning with a brush
A brush is an efficient way to clean minor dirt buildup on the HVAC coils. It prevents having to use liquids or chemicals and allows better user control on the force applied to the coils. Brush the coils to clean dirt or scrub to loosen tough debris. Wire or hard-bristle brushes are not advisable since they may cause damages to the fins.
Cleaning with commercial cleaners
Commercial cleaners are available for cleaning HVAC coils. They are mostly foaming materials that disintegrate easily and drains into the drainage area of the HVAC system. An HVAC professional can recommend the best cleaner for the system. The products usually come with instructions and precautions on using the product.
Spray the cleaner on the coils. Let the foaming process occur and wait for the foam and the debris to drain away. Reapply the product until the coils are completely clean. If a commercial cleaner is not available, a mild detergent mixed with warm water can also work. Simply wipe the debris off with a brush or soft cloth.
If the HVAC coils are too dirty and interfering with the AC's function, you should hire your local HVAC contractor for professional cleaning and maintenance. They have the experience and tools to clean the coils and restore function without causing additional damages to other components of the HVAC system.
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