How to do Air Conditioner Manintenance

Just as your car requires regular maintenance to run smoothly and properly, your A/C also requires regular care.

Proactively taking care of your air conditioner not only extends the life of your unit but can also save you a substantial amount of money on repair and replacement costs.

Something as simple as changing the air filter in your unit can prolong its efficiency and improve the air quality in your home.

You already know maintenance is very important for air conditioner operation, then how can we do air conditioner maintenance?

You can follow us to check your air conditioner through the following steps:

  1. Check all the exposed  parts, like ductwork, air vents, drain pipe, and controller,  no wear on the outdoor electrical wiring, or the refrigerant lines;
  2. Clean evaporator coils and filters

After some period of operation, the evaporator coils and filters will get dirty, then the air conditioner efficiency can drop, its performance will decrease, and damage or breakdowns can occur. Here’s some basic information on AC function and the importance of evaporator coils, plus some instructions on cleaning AC evaporator coils!

Evaporator coils are found inside the indoor air handler unit, while condenser coils are contained in the outdoor cabinet.

When evaporator coils get dirty, their performance is significantly reduced. Air blowing across the coils can contain dust, pollen, and other particulates. Since the coils are usually damp from the dehumidification process, it’s easy for contaminants to stick to them.

Dirty air filters in the system, or the lack of filters entirely, can increase the amount of material that makes contact with the evaporator coil. In just a short amount of time, enough material can accumulate on the coils to affect their performance.

When evaporator coils and condenser coils get dirty, there can be problems such as:

  • Reduced heat transfer
  • Decreased cooling capacity
  • Increased energy consumption
  • Increased operating pressures and temperatures
  • Increased wear on the system, can lead to component damage, system malfunctions, and reduced life expectancy
  • The buildup of ice on coils

In general, you can expect an air conditioner with dirty coils to use almost 40% more energy than one with clean coils. The cooling function can be reduced by 30% or more.

Here are some useful steps for cleaning AC evaporator coils, based on the type and extent of cleaning performed. These steps can also be used to clean the compressor coils in the outside cabinet.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils: The Basics

Evaporator coils should be checked and cleaned as needed. If the coils are prone to collecting dirt and debris easily, monthly cleaning may be required. Otherwise, you may need to clean them every three months during the cooling season or annually during regularly scheduled preventive maintenance.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils: Getting Access

Your indoor air handling unit should have an access panel that can be removed to expose the evaporator coil. If necessary, check your AC owner’s manual to locate the access panel and evaporator coil.

  • Turn the air conditioner off at the thermostat.
  • Remove the screws or other fasteners to loosen the access panel.
  • Place the panel and screws aside, so they won’t get lost or separated.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils Using Compressed Air

Light accumulations of dirt and other material can often be removed using compressed air to blow them loose from the evaporator coil.

  1. Direct compressed air across the coil in the opposite direction of normal airflow, from the cleaner to the dirtier side.
  2. For more stubborn pieces, place the air nozzle close to the bottom side of the debris.
  3. If using high-pressure air, direct it either at a 90-degree angle or directly through the fins. This will prevent damage to the fins.
  4. Maintain consistent airflow across the coil. This will dislodge buildup without forcing it further into the fins and making it more difficult to remove.
  5. Avoid blowing dust, dirt, and debris into the ductwork system or into your home’s living spaces. Wear eye protection to keep the material out of your eyes. If necessary, use a shop vacuum cleaner to collect material as it’s dislodged.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils Using a Brush

Brush cleaning can be an effective technique for removing minor accumulations of dirt from evaporator coils. Brush cleaning allows you to avoid the use of liquids or chemicals and gives you greater control over the pressure applied to the coils and fins.

  1. Apply the brush to the coils and sweep dirt accumulations away.
  2. Scrub with the brush to break loose, harder-to-remove material.
  3. Avoid using wire brushes or hard-bristle brushes since they may damage the fins.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils Using Commercial Cleaners

Several brands of commercial cleaners are available for cleaning evaporator coils. Most are foaming type that breaks down and drains away into the unit’s drainage system.

Consult with your trusted local HVAC contractor for suggestions on which cleaner would work best for your situation.

  1. Follow instructions and precautions that accompany the product.
  2. Spray the cleaner on the coils as directed.
  3. Allow the foaming action to occur and wait until the foam and debris drain away.
  4. Reapply the cleaner until the coils are clean and free of buildup.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils Using Mild Detergents and Water

In place of a commercial cleaner, you can use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the coils.

  1. Mix warm water and a simple detergent in a spray bottle, hand sprayer, or garden sprayer.
  2. Apply the water and detergent solution to the evaporator coils.
  3. Give the solution a few seconds to a few minutes to soak in and loosen debris. Reapply as needed.
  4. Wipe away the loose material with a soft cloth or brush.

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils: Heavy-Duty Cleaning

Heavily soiled evaporator coils may require strong chemicals or heavy-duty cleaning techniques and equipment such as a pressure washer or steam cleaner.

The process could also require revisions to your AC system, such as removing the coil, cutting and reattachment of refrigerant lines, restoring the vacuum in the refrigerant lines, and recharging/refilling the system with refrigerant.

If your AC evaporator coils are heavily soiled or dirty enough to affect air conditioner function, you should schedule a professional cleaning and maintenance appointment with your local HVAC contractor.

Your HVAC technician can properly assess the job and will have the correct equipment, training, and material to clean your evaporator coil and restore cooling system function without damaging the coils, fins, or other components.

3. Clean Condenser coils

Condensers are usually installed outside, which are usually dirtier than evaporator coils, however, they are less cleaned due to their installation place.

Some outdoor units are installed on the wall, some units are installed on the roof or balcony or on flat ground.  If the outdoor units are installed on walls, it is difficult to get access to the condenser coils, and some condenser units maybe never been cleaned.

If you can get access to the condenser coil, we highly recommend you clean the condenser coil, it will surely improve the heat exchange efficiency and save much energy.

You can remove the condensing fan and motor from the top first,  then wash the condenser coil using a similar method to the evaporator coil.

For more information, you can check on this site.


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