3 Ways To Clean Dirty Or Icy Coils For A More Efficient AC

Construction & Contractors Blog

Central air conditioners have an interior portion called an air handler that contains evaporator coils. The cooling process starts outside with gas refrigerant, which is converted to liquid then sent inside to the evaporator coils. The coils change the refrigerant back to gas and that process causes the coils to become cold, which is what cools the air for your home. Dirty or icy coils can interfere with that cooling process.

If your air conditioner has recently become less efficient at cooling your home, check the evaporator coils inside your air handler. There are a few different ways to clean the coils depending on the problem and its cause. Remember to always turn off all electricity to the unit before performing any maintenance. And call in an air conditioning service technician if you need assistance.

Icy Coils: Defrost and Check Refrigerant

Evaporator coils typically don't freeze due to a proper balance of warm air flow, provided by a blower fan, and high refrigerant levels moving through the coils. If some aspect of that balance shifts, your coils can start to freeze over.

Mild ice buildups can be caused by something as simple as not changing the unit's air filter. Change the filter then let the unit run on fan-only mode until the ice melts. Run the air conditioner on its cooling setting and test to see if the melted ice has fixed your efficiency problem.

Severe or recurrent ice buildups can indicate a problem with the refrigerant levels. You will need to call in an air conditioning repair technician, such as Borter Heating & Air Conditioning Co, to fix this problem as refrigerant chemicals need a professional hand. Using the wrong type of refrigerant or the wrong amount could completely ruin your system.

Dirty Coils: Compressed Air and Foaming Cleanser

Evaporator coils accumulate dirt due to normal functions. You need to add checking the coils for dirt to your regular appliance maintenance routine. If you find dirt, there are a couple of ways you can clean the coils without causing any damage.

First, try to get off as much dirt as possible using compressed air. Slowly and carefully work the nozzle end of the air across the surface of the coils. Once you have gotten off as much dirt as you can, follow the air up with a steel brush. Use a light hand to avoid harming the coils.

If there is stubborn dirt still left behind, go to the hardware store and purchase a no-rinse foaming cleanser that states the product is safe for use on air conditioning coils. Apply the cleanser as directed.

Once the coils are clean, run your air conditioner again and check to see if the efficiency has improved. If your air is still too warm, contact an HVAC technician for a formal diagnosis.

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21 August 2015

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