Springtime Coil Cleaning

Dirty Coils Cost Money

A clean air conditioning system runs more efficiently during the summer months. Without clogged air conditioner fins and dust layers on the coils, surprise utility bills are a thing of the past. A few cleaning techniques for quality indoor air help save money even in the hottest months. 

Understanding Compressor Coils

The AC compressor is just one component of the air conditioning system. However, without a well-working compressor, an HVAC unit will not work. Several compressors are available, but they are all used to compress refrigerants. 

Compressor coils help cool the indoors of both residential and commercial spaces. Hot air cannot be effectively removed without functioning coils to create a comfortable atmosphere. Routine maintenance is recommended to help air conditioning systems run smoothly for years to come.

Indoor Coils

coilThe evaporator coils are found indoors. Sometimes these coils are considered the evaporator core because it is where the refrigerant can absorb heat. This is essentially where the cold air originates.

An evaporator coil is found near the air handler located close to the fan. Typically these coils are made from copper, steel, or aluminum since they can easily conduct heat. In modern homes, they usually resemble a U shape and can be found inside the panels. Each panel inside the air conditioner is lined with fins that help create cool air.

These specific coils are designed to be sturdy enough to weather internal pressure. They function best when they work at a moderate temperature. Frozen or frosted evaporator coils tend to happen when coils have not been well maintained. Dirty evaporator coils can also make running challenging for the unit because there is a lower heat transfer. Waves get dirty due to dust, pollen, pet hair, and other allergens. Even a thin layer of dust can negatively impact the air conditioning system. 


Outdoor Coils

The AC coils found outside are called condenser coils. Although they are located away from the evaporator coils, they work in tandem to provide cool indoor air. The evaporator coils would not differ in overall temperature without the condenser coils.

The air conditioner’s condenser is a large unit usually located in the yard—several components inside the condenser, including valves, switches, and metal tubing. The heat absorbed from the indoors travels through these tubes to keep living areas cool.

It is important to perform a condenser coil cleaning every couple of months to keep it working. This will help improve the airflow required for both types of coils. Outdoor coils can be damaged by yard debris such as freshly cut grass, twigs, and leaves. Pet hair may also play a role in outdoor debris.

If the compressor coils are not clean, this will reduce the overall energy efficiency of the air conditioning system. If it is harder for the condenser to release heat, the system will work harder for a longer period. Checking the condenser after a storm or strong winds can help prevent high electric bills.

Easy Compressor Coil Cleaning Solutions

AC coils are not particularly easy to clean without specific equipment. Specialized vacuums are often used to help remove hard-to-reach debris typically found on the bottom. Vacuums are usually recommended because there is a reduced risk of damaging the fins.

Aggressive cleaning may bend or even snap fins. This is especially true if they are made from aluminum. A vacuum is usually recommended over compressed air because particles are absorbed rather than swept. Using compressed air to blow dirt and debris away may blow it further into the air conditioning system.

Using a fin brush is common for Do-It-Yourselfers performing an AC coil cleaning. This works for both condenser and evaporator coils. While this can be effective, it also comes with risk. Brushes with hard bristles may warp the fins or sweep dust particles into the fan. Fin combs are used to straighten bent fins.

Many homeowners wonder how often they should clean the AC coils. This depends on a few different factors. It may not be necessary to clean the coils during the colder months if the system is not currently being used. These coils may need to be cleaned up to once every month during the spring months and summer months. 

For particularly hot climates, outdoor coils should be cleaned more often. Professional AC maintenance can help with a thorough cleaning so that cleanings may not need to be done as often. In addition to removing dirt and debris from the air conditioner, there are ways to prevent the buildup from occurring. 

Routine Coil Maintenance

Routine coil cleaning can keep air conditioners running for a much longer time. Although the typical lifespan for a modern air conditioner is approximately 15 years, many systems begin to see significant problems long before then. Annual AC maintenance checks are advised to save money in the long run.

Maintenance checks often include a cleaning so that technicians can examine all components at one time. This preventative measure saves future air conditioning system costs and energy bills. If frost develops on the condenser, this is a sign that maintenance can reduce and even eliminate future expenses.

About PAC Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning 

PAC Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning is a disabled veteran-owned business serving the community of Staten Island, NY, and the surrounding areas since 1979. They provide fast turnarounds, emergency response, maintenance plans, and options to fit any budget. Call them today for coil cleaning services in Staten Island, NY.