How to Clean Your AC Condenser Coils

How to Clean Your AC Condenser Coils

Close up of a residential air conditioning unit

Understanding the functionality of each component of your air conditioner is probably not at the top of your priority list, but properly maintaining your system should be. Air conditioning systems aren’t cheap and skipping maintenance procedures could be the difference between having a system that requires costly, frequent repairs, and one that runs efficiently for the entirety of its lifespan.

One of the most crucial components of an air conditioning system is the condenser coils. Condenser coils are located within the outdoor component of the AC. Condenser coils work cooperatively with the evaporator coils to remove heat from your home during the hot summer months. Like most components of an air conditioner, condenser coils require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure that they are operating at peak efficiency. Fortunately, cleaning your AC system’s condenser coils is something that you can complete on your own in a few easy steps. Follow this how-to guide to cleaning your AC condenser coils:

Step 1: Locate and Inspect the Condenser Coils

When cleaning the condenser coils of your ac you will need access to the rear of the unit that is closest to the houses. Most central air units typically keep the coils behind a removal panel to protect them from the elements. If you are unsure where the condenser coils are located or how to remove the cover, reference your operator’s manual.

Once you have located the condenser coils, visually inspect the coils for any large debris such as leaves or clumps of dirt. Remove the debris by hand, and dust off the coils using a coil brush. This specialty cleaning tool can be purchased at most big-box hardware stores and features bristles with a stiffness that’s halfway between a hand broom and a wire brush. Lightly guide the brush parallel to the fins on the coils to avoid bending them.

Step 2: Correct Bent Fins

During step 2 did you notice any bent fins on your coils? Thanks to hail and other items bumping into the unit, the fins within the condenser can bend. If you notice bends, gently run the fin brush parallel to the fins to straighten them out. This will improve the performance of your ac unit by increasing the coils’ exposed surface area.

Step 3: Rinse AC Coils with Water

Most AC units use aluminum or copper coils, so they are safe to clean with water. Spray water from your garden hose on a low setting and rinse off unwanted debris from your AC condenser coils.

Step 4: Apply Condenser Coil Cleaner

Most coil cleaners can be used for both aluminum and copper coils, but it is best to read the instruction label of the cleaner to double-check. If the coils are copper, be sure to avoid acidic cleaners as they can cause corrosion. If the coils are aluminum a mixture of warm water and dish soap is safe to use. Use foaming HVAC coil cleaner for the best results. The foam lifts off all the unreachable dirt and grime embedded in between the fins. Let the cleaner soak for 5 to 10 minutes, according to the instructions on the can. If the cleaner label says to do so, rinse off the cleaner using a garden hose with high water pressure.

Contact Certified Heating and Air Conditioning

Most HVAC experts agree that cleaning your AC coils once a year is sufficient. To ensure maximum system efficiency during the warm months, clean your coils in the spring. Knowing how to clean your AC coils is an important factor in making sure that your AC is running efficiently and effectively when you need it most. Although the steps to cleaning your AC coils are outlined in this article, please contact Certified Heating and Air Conditioning if you have any questions about your system or our services. One of our trained technicians is always happy to help!

Works Cited:

  • https://www.sansone-ac.com/expert-tips/how-to-clean-your-air-conditioners-condenser-coils-in-5-easy-steps/
  • https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-ac-coils/
  • https://www.pvhvac.com/blog/the-right-way-to-clean-an-air-conditioners-outdoor-coil