A Homeowner's Guide to Cleaning A/C Evaporator CoilsWhen it comes to your air conditioner’s evaporator coils, cleanliness is crucial. Over time, the evaporator coils can get coated with dust, grime and mold. This will reduce A/C efficiency and performance, and also potentially threaten your health.

Cleaning Evaporator Coils Is Important

First, let’s take a look at how an A/C cools your home. Using the principle of refrigeration, a standard split-system central air conditioner has an indoor air handler, containing a fan, evaporator and evaporator coils, and an outside condenser/compressor unit, containing a fan, compressor and condensing coils. As a solution of refrigerant transitions from a liquid to a gas in the inside unit, the refrigerant in the evaporator coil extracts heat energy from the indoor air, which creates cool air. The refrigerant carries that heat energy outside where it’s released into the outdoor air, via the compressor and condensing coil.

Both coils need to be clean in order to accomplish the vital heat-exchange process. If that release and extraction of heat energy is impeded by dirty coils, the system will have to work harder and longer to cool your home. Efficiency will plummet, your bills will rise, and your A/C will be prone to more breakdowns. Dirty coils also interfere with the dehumidification function of your A/C.

Cleaning A/C Evaporator Coils

If you’re handy, you can try cleaning the evaporator coils. A variety of methods are available, though a combination of blowing and brushing works well.

Compressed air can be blown across the coils, from the cleaner to the dirtier side. If you’re using high-pressure air, spray at an angle that won’t damage the fins. Consistent airflow across the coil will remove buildup without blowing it farther into the fins. Brush cleaning is also an effective way to clean evaporator coils, though don’t try to force the issue or use a hard-wire brush that might damage fins or coils.

If that sounds daunting, don’t despair – cleaning A/C evaporator coils is a standard part of professional A/C maintenance. Contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal to schedule your spring A/C tune-up. We provide quality service to northwest Arkansas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about evaporator coils and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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