How to clean ac coil 2021

Have you noticed that your air conditioner works more effectively and sufficiently after a quick regular service and maintenance check-up? Believe me or not, our human body needs a maintenance break like Sundays and a regular monthly check-up the same way an air conditioner also needs one.

There are different parts of air conditioner units like coils, refrigerants, and whole wiring bodies. Proper maintenance and cleaning of the entire team are necessary for sufficient and practical work.

The present article is based on how can clean air conditioner coils, which elaborates various types and importance of coils in the unit as well. The report also serves as a piece of basic information about the different best methods to clean the coils and enhance the effectiveness of the whole unit. 

Various Types of Air Conditioner Coils

Any air conditioner has two basic types of coils: evaporator coil and condenser coils. Any issue with either one of the coils in the inner structure could cause your system to break down and stop cooling. Let us discuss both the coils in brief for the primary working mechanism.

Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils of any Air conditioner, also known by the other name as cooling coils, are precisely located in the indoor unit of the mechanism. The coils are U-shaped and are placed behind thin metal strips known as coil fins. The role of these evaporator coils is to capture the heat from the home or room, which is then absorbed by the refrigerant unit. The hot air of the room is replaced by the cool air in the evaporator coils, which is then reintroduced in your home.

Condenser Coils

The condenser coil of any air conditioner is located inside the AC’s outdoor unit. Here, the central compressor pressurizes the gaseous refrigerant and sends it to the condenser coils. When the gaseous refrigerant flows through the condenser coils, it loses its heat and turns into a liquid form. The condenser coil then releases the hot air outside the air conditioner unit.


Due to the extreme tight spacing present between the coil fins and surfaces, surface moisture from the whole cooling process, and the amount of air that flows across fins, other particles like dirt and dust, debris, and other pollutants can quickly build upon the coil surfaces. Over time, these build-up pollutants reduce the ability and efficiency of the system to transfer heat out of the room, thus reducing your ability to provide better cooling. 

In more extreme cases, dirty and clogged-up coils due to pollutants can also hinder or block the airflow pathway that is important to the entire process. This can result in a lesser comfortable home of an air conditioner outcome and rising utility bills due to the lost energy efficiency. 

Worse conditions may also be possible if dirty pollutants can make coils and the system work harder and sufficiently than intended. This results in shorter system life and potentially expensive repair bills of any air conditioner.

Dirty coils can lead to the following significant problems:

Increased operating temperatures

Excess build-up of dirt and debris in the coil fins can cause undue stress on the whole system, causing fans and compressors of the unit to work harder and at increased operating temperatures to achieve the desired indoor comfort and cooling.

Reduced comfort 

Your air conditioning unit aids in removing unwanted and uncomfortable humidity from your room as a natural part of the cooling process. Dirty and clogged coils can reduce overall system effectiveness, causing higher humidity inside and less overall comfort.

It decreases cooling efficiency. 

The dirt and pollutant build-up that accumulates on the surface of the coils and fins force the coils to work harder to either absorb or release heat, resulting in less efficient operation and secondary outcomes.

It increases cooling costs

Less efficient operation done by the unit means higher operating costs as well. Dirty and clogged coils mean spending more money keeping your space cool with an ineffective or less effective working team.

It increases the unit wear

A blocked evaporator coil and condenser coil often cause the compressor to run at increased temperatures, stressing the entire unit. Because the compressor is at the highest cost for replacement items within the air conditioning unit, protecting the compressor or unit can help you avoid expensive repair bills.

System repairs or replacement 

System breakdowns resulting from the over-stressed unit can lead to service calls, replacing system components, and in more extreme cases, replacing an entire system.


As my common-sense dictates, any AC coils should be cleaned when they are dirty. But how quickly they get dirty and clogged by the pollutant particles solely depends on some points like

  • how often do you use your air conditioner
  • how often do you change your unit filter
  • whether you have a filter or not, 
  • The amount of dust and debris in the air both inside and outside your home or room
  • the number of people that live in the space. 

As a thumb rule, we would suggest and recommend that at the very least, you should have a professional cleaner a maintenance check of your unit at least once a year before your maximum need, like in the summer season. The professionals can adequately perform various things like an air conditioner coil cleaning, changing the unit filters, and test the unit to ensure everything is running smoothly and effectively when you need it most. 

Equipment for Cleaning an Air Conditioner Coils

Some specific and random tools can usually utilize for cleaning an air conditioner coil. These tools can be easily found at home or maybe readily available in the market. The examples of some Equipment are given below-

  • Coil comb
  • Fin comb
  • Gloves
  • Commercial cleaner or detergent
  • Cleaning brush
  • A piece of cloth
  • Protective eyewear

Gaining proper Access to your Evaporator Coils of the air conditioner unit

  • To reach the coils of any of your indoor units, you have to remove the access panel first.
  • Check your AC’s manual booklet to find out where the access panel is located in your unit. As per the different companies of the regiment, the access panel is located in another place.
  • Remove the tape that seals the board.
  • Then remove all the screws or fasteners attached, which will be attached to the access panel.
  • Remove the panel cover carefully and now to gain entry to the coils.

Gaining proper Access to your Condenser Coils of the air conditioner unit

  • Turn off your air conditioner unit and remove the condenser cover first.
  • Inside the unit, you will get a glance at a cage.
  • Remove all the screws from the bottom surface of the cage.
  • After removing the cell, you will see the coil fins along with the AC coils.


After getting some brief information about the various types and importance of an air conditioner coil, must await you to know to best methods to clean your air conditioner coils.

Here we are enlisting some fantastic and easy, best three methods for cleaning an air conditioner coil.

Method#1 Cleaning an air conditioner coil with the help of compressed air

You can use a combination of compressed air or a shop-vac and heavy-duty coil-cleaning chemicals that meet the specifications formulations of your particular air conditioner model and company. This method is only recommended for the outdoor condensing coil, which is done mainly by professionals.

Cleaning the indoor evaporator coil with the compressed air method will blow dust and debris inside the room and create a speck of unwanted dirt and dust fumes. 

Mechanism of this method-

  • When cleaning an outdoor ring with compressed air, a dealer will blow the air through the coils opposite the flow through the coil during everyday use. 
  • This will eventually result in pushing air through the unit’s professional side back through the team’s dirtier side. 
  • The professional cleaner will be careful to blow the air straight through the fins, not at an angle. 
  • This is because the fins are fragile metal and bend easily. 
  • Using the shop-vac, the service professional can now clean the unwanted dirt and debris from the system. 
  • These actions will quickly remove mostly loose surface materials from the coil as well. 
  • Your professional cleaner can follow up with a household detergent or a commercially available coil cleaning solution to remove more stubborn build-up.


  • Using a compressed air method for cleaning the coil can be a quick and reasonably effective method to remove the coil’s surface dust, dirt, and debris.


  • A professional person is required.
  • Not suitable for indoor cleaning of air conditioner coils. 

Method#2 Cleaning AC Coils with simple Household Detergent

While there are several commercially available coil cleaning solutions in the market, they aid the potential to clean air conditioner coils very efficiently. Using a combination of mild household detergent and water solution can also be effective in cleaning the coils. 

Mechanism of method-

  • The detergent and water mix are applied to the ring using a very low-pressure sprayer. 
  • The air conditioner coil can drain naturally or lightly rinsed with a garden hose or a water spray. 
  • Repeat this process as per your requirement necessary.


  • The mixture of detergent and water is readily available at home as well as in a market. 


  • The method is very technique sensitive.
  • A single blunder of high pressure can damage an air conditioner coil and lead to blocked and bends in the coils, which can further damage the whole air conditioner unit.
  • The detergent should not be acidic as well.
  • The acidic detergents can cause potential corrosion to the air conditioner coils and reduce the coil’s shelf life.

Method# 3 Cleaning Air conditioner Coils with Commercial potential Cleaners

Some professionals and dealers may choose to clean your air conditioner coils with commercially available coil cleaning solutions. Several types of cleaner are readily available, including foaming cleansers used for outdoor condenser coils and different self-rising cleaners used for indoor evaporator coils. These solutions are found packed in aerosol cans or available in bulk for use in a low-pressure sprayer. 

Outdoor cleaning of the coil with mechanism-

  • The professional will likely clear away any surface debris by hand or with a unique fin brush when cleaning the outdoor coil. 
  • Then, the professional will apply the commercial cleaner and rinsing the coil with water depending on the cleaner instructions and manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Indoor cleaning of the coil with mechanism-

  • To clean your indoor evaporator coil, the professional will most likely clear larger debris by hand or with a special brush first, then follow up by applying self-rinsing evaporator oil products. 
  • This product available in the market will clean the coil effectively and rinse off when the system is turned on during the cooling process.


  • Can utilize the method in both ways for outdoor as well as indoor coil cleaning.


  • Professional cleaners and solutions are essential for this method. 


Can you clean AC coils yourself?

Mix a simple detergent and warm water, which is readily available at your home, in a spray bottle or available garden sprayer. Spray the solution on the coils and give it a few minutes to soak in and let the dirt and debris particles loosen a bit. Wipe away the reduced material with a soft brush or cloth and reapply as needed

What happens if AC coils are dirty?

It is estimated that both dirty evaporator and condenser coils can increase the energy usage of your air conditioning unit up to 30 percent. Reduced heat transfer efficiency can cause other problems, such as poor cooling performance, frozen evaporator coils, and compressor overheating.

Can vinegar be used to clean AC coils?

Yes, vinegar mixed with water is oftenly used to clean air conditioner coils at home. However, vinegar is usually only effective against lighter dirt build-ups. But, you can keep your coils in good shape by mixing white vinegar and water in a spray bottle or a Gardner bottle and spraying the mixture onto the coils.

Can you use Dawn to clean air conditioner coils?

Add some drops of dishwashing detergent or washing to a spray bottle filled with simple water and spray the prepared solution onto the evaporator coil. Allow the dirt to loosen for few minutes, and then use your soft bristle brush or a cloth to gently scrub away any dirt or debris found on the evaporator coil.

Will my air conditioner coil, work effectively if it is dirty?

If your air conditioner coils are dirty, they won’t work correctly, and your AC will work longer and harder than it should. The more your AC strains, the more likely it is that your AC will break down.


Summing up in the end, it is best to conclude that regular cleaning and maintaining of the air conditioner coil unit is essential.

Read the above article, how to clean air conditioner coil and avail the basic information about various air conditioner coils and methods to clean it.

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