Even though summer is technically a few weeks away, the weather may have you fooled. Temperatures all across the nation are rising which means it’s time to dust off your air conditioner and make sure it’s ready for its time in the sun (no pun intended). If it’s been a while since you’ve run your AC, you may want to ensure your unit and coils are cleaned before working your AC into overdrive this summer.
If you are not aware of how your AC works, it all relies on your AC condenser coils. The refrigerator unit in your air conditioner will absorb the heat and then convert it into cooler air. While the air passes over the refrigerant, the heat is filtered leaving cooler air to be passed through. If your air conditioner coils are caked with debris, oil, dirt, dust, or more, you could be forcing your AC unit to work harder than it has to. This in turn will make it run less efficiently and make your electric bill more expensive. Check out our step-by-step guide below and see how in just under an hour your can have clean, cool air permeating through your home to keep you and your family cool for the hottest season of the year!
Step 1 (Identify Your Unit’s AC Coils): As you get ready to begin the cleaning process, make sure you locate the area of your air conditioner unit that faces toward the outside of your home (if your unit is an indoor one). In that area should be a panel that can be removed by unscrewing the screws and revealing more of the coils. If you are unsure about how to safely remove the protective panel, consult the manufacturer’s manual to see how to safely remove the protective panel of the coils so they are exposed and not obstructed before you begin cleaning.
Step 2 (Examine Your Dirty Coils): According to Energy Saver, you should “check your coils each year and clean them as necessary”. Inspect each of the coils and remove heavy debris such as dirt, gunk, webs, or anything that you can by hand. Once you’ve removed any bulky debris from your coils, proceed to use a coil brush to dust off the finer bits of dust that may still be on your coils. It’s imperative to brush parallel to the fins on your coils. Make sure to gently brush the coils since applying pressure may bend the coils which you want to avoid. Once you’ve removed all the loose dust and debris from your coils, you’re ready for the next step.
Step 3 (Adjust Bent Coil Fins): As we addressed in the previous step, you want to avoid bent fins since this diminishes your air conditioner’s performance. If you did happen to notice any fins that may have been bent, we would recommend straightening those fins out by using tools such as an air conditioning fin comb. Doing this will expose more surface area of the coils and also boost your AC’s strength in performing its duty.
Step 4 (Rinse AC Coils With Water): Because most air conditioner coils are made from materials such as aluminum or copper, they can be safely cleaned by rinsing them with water. You can use your water hose on a lower setting to further remove any dust or debris the previous steps may not have gotten. If you do not have a garden hose, you can also use a spray bottle to give those coils a nice, soft rinse.
Step 5 (Administer AC Coil Cleaner): Your AC coils are probably made from either aluminum or copper, so make sure to read the label on your solution to see how it may interact with either of these materials. If you’re looking for a non-acidic solution, we recommend our N.A.C.C. (Non-Acid Coil Cleaner) which as you may have guessed, does not contain acid. Another superior option for cleaning your coils comes from our Coil Renew Coil Cleaner & Brightener. Both solutions work fantastic in cutting out grime, dirt, oil, grease, and other gunk.
Step 6 (Rinse-Off AC Coil Cleaner): Depending on the type of AC unit you have, you can either let the condensate rinse the AC cleaning solution off or you’ll have to manually rinse the solution off. Units such as an AC Air Handler can let the condensate rinse the solution off manually. If you have a box unit or your air conditioner is an outdoor unit that typically sits on a concrete slab, feel free to gently rinse off your solution so that your unit is running smoothly.
There you have it, now that you’ve gone through these six steps you should be enjoying the fruits of your labor and relaxing peacefully in front of cool air blasting from your air conditioner. This whole process should have taken less than an hour and is recommended to perform at least once a year. By keeping up with this process annually or as needed, your air conditioning unit should enjoy a long run of optimum performance and cooling your home for years to come.