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How do you clean an AC coil yourself?

Sep 7

You may depend heavily on an Air Conditioning Unit during the hottest parts of the year. AC condenser coils are what make the magic happen. The AC condenser coils in your favorite seasonal appliance absorb heat to cool the air. The cool refrigerant absorbs heat from the air as it passes through. This is the opposite of how your forced-air furnace works.


The machine will work more efficiently if the coils have a larger surface. Over time, dust and oil can build up and cover the coils. Similar to a blanket on your bed, this blanket will hinder heat transfer and make your AC less efficient and costlier.


The hardest thing about cleaning your air conditioner coils is to ensure you do it at least once yearly. It takes about 30 minutes to clean a coil. However, scheduling the entire process for at least an hour is better, so you don't rush through the task. These steps will show you how to clean your ac coils to increase the efficiency of your machine and prolong its life.

STEP 1: Locate and replace the AC coils.

Window AC units need to be accessed at the end of your house. Central air units usually have a removable panel that you must remove to clean the coils. If you are unsure, refer to your operator's manual. The specs diagram will show precisely where the coils are located and how to remove them. Trust the manufacturer's instructions if you are unsure. They made it, and they know how it can be taken apart.

STEP 2 - Inspect the condenser coils.

Check the coils for large debris such as leaves, spider webs or clouds. These can be removed by hand. Then, dust the coils with a coil brush. This speciality cleaning tool, also known as a soil brush, is available at large-box hardware stores and AC shops. It has stiff bristles halfway between a wire brush and a hand broom. To avoid damaging the coils, gently guide the brush parallel with the fins. This is not a deep scrub. This is a quick way to remove any hair and dust.

STEP 3 - Straighten bent fins using a fin brush.

Did you notice bent fins on your coils from Step 2? (Hint, bent fins can reflect light and give off a bright sheen on parts of the coils. You can straighten the fins by running a fin brush parallel to the fin line. This will increase the surface area of the coils and improve the performance of your AC unit.

You don't have to spend $15 on a fin brush or other specialized equipment. If this is the case, skip this step. The task of correcting bent fins is more than the job at hand. Clean the coils, and your machine will get an efficiency boost.

STEP 4 - Rinse the AC coils using water (optional).

AC coils are usually made of copper or aluminum and can be cleaned using water. You can clean the AC coils from any outdoor unit using water from your garden hose at a low setting.

Indoor units can be avoided by spraying or using compressed air. You also have the option to use a "no rinse" type of coil cleaner that is slightly more expensive.

STEP 5 - Clean the AC coil.

Coil cleaners can be used on copper and aluminum coils. However, it is essential to read the label before using any cleaner. Avoid acidic cleaners if the coils are copper. They can cause corrosion. A soapy mixture of household detergent can be used for aluminum coils.


Spray a foaming HVAC cleaner directly onto your coils. The cleaner should foam instantly, filling any spaces between the coils that have grime. The foaming will remove all the grime and dirt between the fins. The cleaner should be allowed to soak for 5-10 minutes according to the instructions.


STEP 6 - Rinse the A/C coil cleaner if necessary

Rinse the cleanser with your hose if the label states to. To thoroughly rinse the cleanser, you must use high water pressure and slow, backwards-and-forth movements. You can clean indoor units with rinse-free cleaner by simply starting to clean them. The condensate will then rinse the cleaner off on its own.


While some AC service companies may claim you need to service your AC coils twice or three times a year, experts agree that it is sufficient for most cases. Clean your AC coils in the spring before the heat of summer. This will ensure the best results.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to clean AC coils for your air conditioner to run efficiently and effectively is essential. These steps are only a guideline. For specific information about your AC unit, refer to the instruction manual. It takes less than an hour to clean coils. However, it is essential to have all the necessary tools and to complete the cleaning before temperatures rise. The best option is to hire professional AC services mesa az