At Home AC Maintenance: Cleaning Evaporator Coils

An important part of keeping your Riverside, TX, home’s air conditioning system running smooth is regular air conditioner maintenance. We recommend that you have your system professionally serviced at least once a year depending on your usage, but in between services, there are some maintenance steps you could do on your own. One of these steps in cleaning the evaporator coils in your air conditioner.

Coil Systems in Your Air Conditioner

There are two sets of coils in your home’s central air system. One set is located in the condenser unit in the cabinet outside your home. Your system’s evaporator coils are within the air handler located within your home.

Both sets of coils and their corresponding fins need to be regularly checked and maintained to ensure the optimal performance of your air conditioning system. If covered with dust, or even worse mold, there could be a significant decline in the way your system operates and may cause a health hazard to your family.

Locating the Evaporator Coils

Before starting, turn off your air conditioner from your home’s thermostat. In order to find the evaporator in your system, you will need to remove the access plate to the air conditioner’s main duct. You will find this located above your furnace. Notice the foil-wrapped tape; this holds insulation in place between the two units. You will need to peel the tape and insulation away from the main duct and be careful not to damage it because you will need to put it back when you are done.

Once that is done, you will be able to reach the access plate. Remove the screws that are holding this plate in place. You should now be able to see the air conditioner’s evaporator.

How to Clean Air Conditioner Evaporator Coils

Now that you can see the evaporator, you may be able to slide it out toward you for easier access. If this is possible, be extremely careful so that you do not damage any of the pipework.

Depending upon the amount and type of accumulated debris, you may need to use different methods if:

  • There is a minimal amount of dust that has not adhered itself to the coils, you may be able to vacuum it away or use a can of compressed air to blow out the unit
  • The dust has attached itself underneath the coils; you could a stiff brush to remove the dust. A mirror may be handy to see underneath the coils to make sure you are reaching all of the debris.
  • The evaporator coils are exceptionally dirty; you may consider purchasing a foaming cleanser from an air conditioning supply store that is recommended for your system or having this step professionally done

Don’t Forget the Tray

Sitting below the evaporator is a tray. You will want to clean this also because it could be harboring mold or other fungus because it this area is often moist since it carries condensation away from the evaporator. Pour about a tablespoon of bleach into the weep hole to discourage the growth of mold.

If you see that there is a lot of water standing in the pan, this could be because of a blockage in your drain line. You will want to disconnect the line and remove the clog carefully with a wire.

Once you are done, you will need to put the evaporator back in place if you were able to slide it out. Replace the access plate and make sure all screws are put back. The final step is to re-tape the insulation back to where it was on the main duct.

You can help prolong the life of your air conditioning system by continued air conditioner maintenance including cleaning your coils and making sure to change your air filter regularly. This will keep your system running efficiently and help reduce the chance of breakdowns throughout the cooling season. To set up a complete and professional air conditioner maintenance plan, call WA Air Conditioning today.

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June 17, 2013 10:41 pm