Your AC is by no means a piece of cheap electronic equipment. Taking good care of it should be your priority so that you don’t have to bear costly repairs in the future. One crucial part of the air conditioner are the condenser coils. These are located in the outdoor unit of the AC. The condenser coils work together with the evaporator coil to remove heat and humidity from your home. A part as important as that deserves attention so that your home always has a pleasant temperature. Maintenance of the condenser coils in the form of regular cleaning is, therefore of utmost importance. You must be wondering, cleaning is fine, but what is the right way of doing it? So, here is a quick five-step guide that tells you how to clean AC condenser coils. But before that, let us answer a few questions that must have popped in your mind.
How Often Should The Condenser Coils Be Cleaned?
For your air conditioner to work efficiently, you should clean the condenser coils at least once a year or annually. Usually, the best time to do the cleaning is the beginning of the summer season. In fact, rather than just cleaning the coils, it is best to get proper maintenance of your AC unit done. You can contact your local AC technician or your local HVAC company for the maintenance.
How To Prevent Dirty Coils?
If you wish to keep your condenser coils clean, you need to make sure that the area around the condenser unit is free of trash, vegetation, leaves and such. If anything has fallen on the unit, clean it immediately rather than leaving it for a later date.
How To Clean AC Condenser Coils In 5 Easy Steps
1. Inspecting The Coils – First and foremost, you have to do a visual inspection of the coils to see if there is any visible damage. If there is some sort of damage, minor or major, you should seek professional help by placing a call to your local HVAC company.
2. Remove Dust And Debris – Since the condenser coils are in the outside unit of the AC, they tend to collect a lot of things like bits and pieces of paper, blades of grass, leaves and other unwanted particles. Using a coil brush or an unused paintbrush clean all the dust and debris that cling to the coils. Clogged coils hamper the efficiency of the air conditioner.
3. Straighten The Coil Fins – The fins on the condenser coils tend to bend due to external factors like hail, flying objects in high winds, etc. These bent fins need to be straightened. To do so, you need an adjustable fin comb. The fin comb is a small and malleable tool that even removes the deep-seated debris which the brush could not reach.
4. Clean The Coils – A coil cleaner is needed to clean the coils. You can either purchase it online or at your local hardware store. To begin with, take a hose and allow water to wet the coils. The water pressure should not be too high, medium pressure is fine. Now, generously spray coil cleaner over the coils using back and forth motion. The cleaner will start foaming and collecting all the dust and debris. This will help get rid of that debris which has become well settled in the coils. Let the coil cleaner work its magic for at least 10 minutes.
5. Wash The Cleaner – Once the coil cleaner has been allowed to sit for 10 minutes, it’s time to wash it away. Again, use a hose, with medium water pressure to clean. Hitting the fins straight on and gliding your hand in a back and forth manner rinse it away. Remember, the water pressure should not be high as it can damage the fins.
A Few Important Tips
Now that you know how to clean AC condenser coils, here are a few tips to keep in mind –
1. Always disconnect the air conditioner from the main power before cleaning the coils. You can do so by either flipping the circuit breaker to off position or by disconnecting the AC power supply plug from its socket.
2. Since the coil cleaner is a chemical concoction, it is better to wear sturdy rubber gloves. This way, even if the chemical spills on you, your skin will not get irritated.
3. Since cleaning involves water wear anti-skid boots or shoes. You don’t have to worry about slipping and getting hurt.
What If I Can’t Find Coil Cleaner?
If you can’t find a coil cleaner, there is an easy DIY solution you can make at home. It needs just two simple ingredients and of course, a spray bottle. What you basically need to make your own coil cleaner at home are –
Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake it well to make a homogenous solution. Generously spray the solution on the condenser coils to give them a good soaking. Let the solution sit on the coils for a couple of minutes and then using a rag, wipe it away. This solution is absolutely safe to use and does not harm any component of the AC. Although vinegar mixed with water is an effective cleaning agent, but sometimes it is unable to clean away all the unwanted matter accumulated on the coils. In such a case, you will need to buy an industrial-grade coil cleaner.
Prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, first and foremost, try to minimize the dust and debris that tend to collect around the condenser unit. The idea is to keep a radius of 2 feet around the condenser unit clean. Even then, get annual maintenance of your AC done in which the condenser coils will automatically be cleaned. If for some reason you cannot get the maintenance done, only then undertake to clean the coils yourself. Following the guide given above on “How to clean AC condenser coils”, you will be able to easily tackle the job yourself.