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DIY  Help for Cleaning Your AC Condenser and Coils

DIY Help for Cleaning Your AC Condenser and Coils

Because the AC condenser is housed outside in you're A/C unit, dust, pollen and other environmental contaminants will collect on the coils, and most units begin to lose efficiency, and cooling effectiveness. This can even ruin the compressor. Bottom line is clean your condenser coils once per year. Coils may need to be cleaned more or less depending on the location and weather factors. Do not go more than two cooling seasons without a coil cleaning.

Here are some tips on how to avoid disasters and expense with your decision to be a do-it-yourself HVAC cleaner:

  1. Read the manual. Reading the instructions is a sign that you want to do the job right. Take the time to do it right and you could save yourself a lot of money and headaches.
  2. DO NOT use a power washer on your condenser. Power washers are great for a lot of cleaning, but your AC condenser is not one of them. A power washer can bend and damage coil fins and restrict air flow to the point of inoperability.
  3. Avoid coil cleaners if possible.Coil cleaners are harsh on you and your coils. Coils can be cleaned with a coil brush, shop vac and a garden hose. If coils do not get sufficiently clean with water and brushing, then try a commercial cleaner. The best way to know if your coils are clean and your unit is operating at peak efficiency is to test the temperatures and pressures of the refrigeration circuit with a proper set of gauges. We recommend a professional HVAC technician for testing unit operations.
  4. Know your coils.Some coils are one piece, some are two pieces laid back-to-back. The two piece coil needs to be separated in order to get them clean or you'll just clog up the middle of the coil worse than if you didn't clean at all. Some coils are coated, some not. If they're coated, you need to know what type of coating and what cleaners are acceptable to use on that particular coating. The wrong cleaner can damage the coating or even the coil itself. You'll find this information in - you guessed it - the O&M manual.
  5. Read the Directions.If you need to use a coil cleaner, read the directions to make sure that you protect yourself (gloves, eye protection, etc.) and your coils (is it safe for your type of coil?) appropriately. Also make sure you are using a CONDENSER coil cleaner. A split unit has both a condenser coil and an evaporator coil. The cleaners are NOT interchangeable. Using the wrong one can damage your coils.
  6. Safety First.Use safety glasses to avoid getting debris, cleaner, etc. in your eyes. You only have one set of eyes. Protect them! Also use gloves to protect your hands when cleaning the coils. Coils can have sharp edges.

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