Can You Clean AC Coils Yourself?

Like many household appliances, HVAC systems need routine maintenance and cleaning for optimal performance. Your air conditioning system contains a series of coils that attract debris and dust. Cleaning these coils regularly ensures your unit’s longevity and performance. 

But can you clean AC coils yourself? With most outdoor units, you can easily access the coils for maintenance. Below, Porter’s AC repair experts at Crew Heating & Air help you through the process.

Step 1: Find Your AC Coils

There are two types of air conditioner coils that require maintenance. First, you can find the condenser coils circling around the wall inside the unit. You’ll recognize them as a series of coils snaking along the shell’s inside. 

Evaporator coils have an angular appearance with a system of coils. If you have a split-system AC unit, you find the evaporator coils in the indoor part of the unit. While you can remove some evaporator coils, other unit models have coils that stay put. 

Check your manufacturer’s instructions for specific details. If you still aren’t sure, contact an HVAC expert to help you locate the coils. 

Step 2: Check the Coils for Damage

Once you have located both sets of coils, inspect them for damage and debris. If they look severely damaged, you’ll need professional assistance to mend or replace them. If you have dirty coils on your hands, you can begin the cleaning process. 

Remove any large debris from the coils. If the evaporator coil comes from indoors, you may notice cobwebs or dust bunnies. Outdoor coils often attract leaves, twigs, and dirt, so use your hands to remove the debris. 

Next, use a coil brush to carefully dust the coils off. Use gentle sweeping motions that go with the grain of the fins. Avoid vigorous cleaning, as rough handling can bend the fins. 

Step 3: Carefully Fix Any Bent Fins

If you notice bent fins or fins that go against the grain, use a fin brush to correct them. If you don’t have a fin brush, continue to the next step of cleaning your coils. 

Fin brushes cost about $20 at most home improvement stores. You might think bent fins won’t affect your AC unit. But fin correction increases your unit’s longevity by providing more surface area for the air conditioner coils. 

Step 4: Use Water to Cleanse the Coils

How can you clean AC coils yourself with water? You can safely rinse most types of coils with water.

Remove the condenser coils and spray them with your yard hose. Use the lowest setting possible to prevent damage.

For coils located indoors, you can rinse them off by using a spray bottle of water. Place a towel underneath the area to prevent water from pooling on the floor.

Alternatively, most hardware stores carry coil cleaning products that don’t require rinsing. While this option costs more, it prevents messes while providing convenient cleanliness. 

Step 5: Use Coil Cleaner

When you purchase coil cleaner, make sure you choose the product recommended for your unit. You can also read the product label to ensure it works with your coil material.

If you have copper coils, acidic products can cause corrosion. You can typically use a cleansing detergent mixed with water for aluminum coils. 

Shake your cleanser vigorously before spraying it directly onto the coils. Make sure that you drench the coils entirely. If you notice the cleaner foaming, you know it works. 

The cleaner will remove any grit, dirt, and grime that your coil brush didn’t clean. Wait ten minutes before proceeding to the final step. Otherwise, follow the directions on the product label.

Step 6: Rinse and Replace the Coils

Can you clean AC coils yourself? By now, you should know the answer is yes! After allowing the cleaning product to soak, rinse your coils the same way as before. 

Double-check the label’s instructions to ensure you’re proceeding correctly, as some coil cleaners don’t require a rinse. With these products, you can immediately restart your air conditioning unit. Other products require a thorough rinse. 

Schedule Your Routine AC Maintenance with Crew Heating & Cooling

Whether you need tips on simple AC maintenance or a routine HVAC checkup, our crew at Crew Heating & Cooling has the expertise, knowledge, and equipment to get the job done. AC maintenance in Humble, TX is a serious business. Our team takes your comfort as seriously as you do.

Can you clean AC coils yourself? Call us today at (832) 345-1696 to learn more and for professional assistance. 

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