Dirty evaporator coils can put a dent in the efficiency of your unit. Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning an HVAC evaporator coil.
While Nebraska isn’t well-known for scorching temperatures like the desert southwest, temperatures can reach the 90s during the summertime and sometimes top 100.
When temperatures soar, an HVAC system that cools properly is a must. Unfortunately, there are a number of issues that can arise with your system.
The good news is there are preventative maintenance steps you can take to ensure your system runs properly.
One of these steps is to clean the evaporator coils.
Why are evaporator coils important?
The evaporator coils capture heat from the air inside of your home. Condenser coils release that captured heat into the air through the outdoor cabinet.
The evaporator coils are part of the interior air handling unit. They’re extremely important to the overall performance of your AC system. They provide the cooling needed to create cold air to keep your building or home comfortable – even when temperatures soar.
In most cases, evaporator coils are made of copper and surrounded by aluminum fins to improve heat transfer. The evaporator coils also help with dehumidification. As the coils get cooler, the water condenses on them from the air inside your home.
What happens if evaporator coils become dirty?
Air blowing across the evaporator coils usually contains pollen, dust and other particulates. Because the coils are typically damp due to the dehumidification process, the contaminates easily stick to them.
Over time, enough material can accumulate on the coils to affect their overall performance.
If the evaporator and condenser coils become dirty, a number of problems can occur, including:
- Ice buildup on the coils
- Reduced heat transfer and cooling capacity
- Increased system wear, causing damage to the system
- Increased operating temperatures and pressures
- Increased energy consumption
But cleaning the evaporator coils will prevent those issues.
How to clean your evaporator coils
1) Get needed supplies
Gather the needed supplies. These include:
- Household bleach
- Large hand mirror
- Stiff brush
You also need to find the evaporator coils. You may have an AC with a sealed plenum. If so, you can’t clean the coils on your own. Schedule a visit with an HVAC Professional.
2) Gain access to coil
As long as your system isn’t sealed, you can begin to clean. You need to remove the access panel on your indoor air handling unit.
You should be able to see the evaporator coils. If you don’t, refer to your manual to find out where they are. Once you can access the coils, do the following:
- Turn your unit off at the thermostat
- Remove the fasteners
- Put the screws and panels in a location where they won’t be separated or lost
3) Clean with a stiff brush
When you can see the evaporator, you may be able to slide it out slightly.
Then use the stiff brush to clean the underside of your unit. Watch the brush as you clean with the hand mirror.
It’s also good to clean the tray beneath the evaporator. The tray carries condensation away. Put a tablespoon of bleach or a similar cleaner into the weep hole to prevent fungus growth.
If there’s a lot of moisture, there could be a blockage in the drain line. If this happens, use the wire to open it.
4) Use compressed air for cleaning
Another cleaning method is compressed air. It’s effective and simple. Take these steps:
- Direct the air across the coil (opposite the usual airflow)
- Move the nozzle closer for tougher dirt
- Keep a consistent flow of air across the coil
- Avoid blowing debris into the ducts
Call the pros for more help
These tips should help you successfully clean your system’s evaporator coils. However, if you’re leery about cleaning the coils yourself, call us at (402) 731-2727
Our team can help with any plumbing or HVAC issue you have. In the long run, we can help assure your home’s systems operate properly, year after year.