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How to properly clean your a/c evaporating coil – Do it yourself

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Most people are quite dependent on the Heating, Ventilation and Cooling System (HVAC for short) in their residence or place of business. Heating in winter, cooling in summer and fresh air all year round are essential to your quality of life. To keep your HVAC in tip top shape, there are a few basic do it yourself maintenance techniques that are simple to learn and to carry out. One of these is how to clean your a/c evaporating coil … the right way. The evaporator, as it’s also called, is an essential part of a cooling system, causing refrigerant gas, in a liquid state, to absorb heat from the ambient air, evaporating as it does so. The hot air is then conducted outdoors, leaving the room cool and comfortable.

When to clean your evaporating coil

As an essential part of your cooling system, the evaporating coil should be cleaned on a regular basis. How often depends to a large extent on how heavily the system is used and the condition of the area where it is located, such as a room with carpeting, pets or other dust sources. If you notice that the a/c is working less efficiently or there is a large increase in your electricity bill, the source could well be an evaporating coil that needs a thorough cleaning. The good news is that you can perform this cleaning yourself, with knowledge of the proper equipment and techniques.

Get ready

If possible the best time to clean the evaporator is in the spring, just prior to the season of most intensive a/c use. Purchase a chemical cleaning solution that is especially made for air conditioning systems’ evaporating coils. There are various types, such as no rinse or high foaming action for particularly stubborn dirt. You will also need a spray container to apply the solution, which can be either manual or electric, depending on the number of units you need to clean and their condition. Other equipment you will need includes a screwdriver, a mirror and a stiff brush. Be sure to open the window, wear work gloves and completely disconnect the power supply before beginning the job.

Cleaning the evaporator

Open the main duct of your a/c and gently remove the insulation, setting it aside to replace later. Unscrew the access plate, which will reveal the evaporator. You may be able to slide this forward a little for easier access. (If the evaporating coil is frozen over, allow it to thaw before proceeding.) Gently brush the bottom of the evaporating coil, using the mirror to guide you. Then spray on the solution. Unless you are using a “no rinse” type, you will need to rinse the solution off thoroughly after cleaning. Let the coil dry, and then replace the access plate and the insulation.


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