Air Conditioner Coil Cleaning – What You Need to Know
Timely maintenance and cleaning of the many different parts, components, and subsystems of your conditioning unit is important. Cleaning and maintenance ensure that any fault is found out early, the least energy is spending towards operating the system, and the life of the air conditioning unit and its parts is long. An important component of the air conditioning units are its coils, and their good health is quite crucial for efficient cooling.
The Coils of the Air Conditioning Unit/System
Air conditioners contain a coolant or refrigerant that absorbs the heat from a room with air, and carries this heat outdoors to release it in the atmosphere. For cooling at all the times, the refrigerant of the system circulates continuously. The air conditioner coils include the evaporator coils and the condenser coils, and these make an important part of the cooling process. The AC evaporator coil is present in the system where the refrigerant absorbs the heat of the room and is placed where cold air emanates. Located within the air handler (or close to it) and besides the blower fan, the evaporator coil is made using Aluminum, Steel, or Copper as these metals are good conductors of heat.
The job of the condenser coil is to release the heat from room to the outside atmosphere and surroundings. The condenser coils are placed in the outdoor unit and hence they are more susceptible to wear and tear. Damage due to dirt, soot, weather, and other pollutants can be substantial.
How Dirt and Pollutants Cause Loss to You and Your AC
As we can understand, coils (including the AC evaporator coil) are very important for proper functioning of the air conditioner. Dirt, grime, and other pollutants and substances are detrimental to the health of the coils and consequently the system. Even a minor accumulation of soil or grime on the coils may reduce the efficiency of cooling by around 5%. Hence if you are not cleaning your coils regularly, you are paying excessive electricity bills without any reason. Dirt may act as an insulator and does not allow air to contact with the coils effectively. It thus causes a loss in cooling at all the times once accumulated. In other cases, dirt may corrode the tubes of the condenser unit. Consequently, the refrigerant may leak and cracks and holes may occur in the tubes and parts. All of these ill effects also put a strain on the compressor and reduce its life.
DIY and Professional Cleaning of the Coils
You may care for your air conditioner and clean it at regular intervals on your own as well. The evaporator coils of the system are located in the indoor unit of an air conditioner, just behind the assess panel that is placed in the front of the air conditioner. Before proceeding, ensure that the air conditioner is turned off and you may also turn off the circuit breaker for extra safety. You can now remove the fasteners and screws and start your cleaning process.
You can use the compressor for cleaning the coils and other parts of your system if the dirt buildup is not excessively large. To do this, you just need to direct the flow of compressed air appropriately. While doing the cleaning, ensure to wear your safety glasses and also remove all the dirt and grime that become dislodged. A soft brush can also be used for removing lesser buildups of dirt and grime that have been accumulated on the coils, tubes, or other parts of the air conditioner. Some people also prefer the mild detergent and water combination (the mixture is filled into sprays like a garden spray) for cleaning the dirt. After spraying the solution, wait for a few minutes and then wipe the dirt away. Other commercial cleaners are or also available and you can shop for them online and offline.
In the grime buildup is excessively large and heavy, you would like to go for methods including pressure washing or steam cleaning. In these cases, the AC should be disassembled to a greater degree and you may also have to cut the refrigerant lines. Reassembly can be done later on.
Heavy duty cleaning can be done by the professionals only as it may require more expertise as well as resources. Remember that your AC unit should be serviced regularly and should have a good filter at all the times to produce efficient cooling at the least cost.