When the summer heat is at its peak in Arizona, it’s hard to imagine a life without a cool home. Especially on a hot and humid day, stepping into a comfortable home can be refreshing. When it’s working well, an air conditioner is a wonderful thing. If you neglect regular cleaning and maintenance, it can reduce efficiency, cause issues, and break down. Cleaning and maintenance are essential for a machine that works as hard as an air conditioner.
Cleaning your air conditioner’s coils is critical to the system’s long-term health and effectiveness. Removing dirt and debris from the coils will lead to significant savings and keep your system running smoothly. It can also help to extend the life of the air conditioner.
Types of Coils in AC Units
Split-system central air conditioners have a furnace and evaporator coils inside the home and an air conditioning unit outdoors containing cooling coils. The air conditioner removes heat from indoor air, which is then removed by the blower fan, replacing it with cool, refreshing air.
The condenser coil is responsible for releasing heat captured from the air. Most of these coils are copper tubing with thin aluminum cooling fins.
While there are many types of coils, such as all-aluminum fins, or thin spine fin coils resembling pipe cleaners, they all release heat energy from home.
Because they are exposed to the elements outdoors, keeping your air conditioner’s coils clean is crucial to the long-term health of your air conditioner. It may seem like a possible DIY project, but the easiest and best way to clean your coils is to have an expert do it. Howard Air Conditioning knows what it takes to combat the heat in Phoenix. Our well-trained HVAC experts professionally care for your system for years of worry-free operation.
Why is it Important to Clean AC Coils?
Dirt, dust, and other pollutants can build up on the coil surfaces due to the tight spacing, surface moisture, and airflow. Eventually, this build-up reduces your air conditioning system’s ability to transfer heat from the home, diminishing the system’s ability to offer seasonal cooling. This also causes decreased energy efficiency, resulting in increased usage bills. If neglected long enough, the air conditioning system can experience a shorter system life.
Dirty coils can cause the following issues.
- Increased operating temperatures When dirt and debris build up, it can cause unneeded strain on the system, causing increased workload for fans and compressors and increased operating temperatures to achieve the intended indoor temperature. This increases the risk of breakdowns and other problems.
- Decreased Comfort As a natural part of the cooling process, your air conditioning system removes excess and uncomfortable humidity from your home. Dirty coils reduce system efficiency, cause higher humidity, and make your home less comfortable.
- Reduced Cooling Efficiency When dirt and debris build upon the surface of the coils, they struggle to either absorb or release heat, making them less efficient, resulting in higher energy bills.
- Increase in Cooling Costs Dirty coils force you to spend more money to keep your home cool and comfortable because less efficient air conditioner operation results in higher operating costs.
- Increased System Wear A blocked evaporator coil often causes the compressor to overheat. As a result, the system is under a lot of stress. Because the compressor is one of the most expensive replacement items of the air conditioner, protecting the compressor can reduce repair costs.
- System Repairs or Replacement Over-worked air conditioner components can lead to breakdowns, requiring component replacements and service calls. With severe breakdowns, replacing the entire AC system might be necessary.
How Often Should AC Coils be Cleaned?
AC coils should be cleaned when dirty, depending on how often it is used, how frequently the filter gets changed, the amount of dust and debris from environmental conditions, and how many people live in the house.
Generally, it is easiest to perform an annual AC inspection and any required cleaning and maintenance before summer, when you will need it most.
How to Clean AC Coils
Air conditioning coils should be serviced by professional technicians like Phoenix-area Howard Air Conditioning to prevent damage to the delicate fins. Air conditioner systems have two coils, the indoor evaporator and the outdoor condenser coil. The evaporator is accessed through an access panel, while the condenser coil is accessed by removing any shielding and wire coil guards.
Brands and models vary, but the cleaning process will follow one of these methods.
- Technicians blow compressed air and use heavy-duty coil-cleaning chemicals (when needed) to loosen dust and debris from the coil and fins, collecting it via a vacuum.
- Using low-pressure water spray and a mild, acid-free detergent, a technician sprays the coil and fins, then rinse with water and allow them to dry, repeating until fins are free of debris.
- Technicians clean the surface of the condenser coil by hand or a fin brush, then spray with an aerosol or low-pressure coil cleaning solution and rinse with water.
- When cleaning the evaporator coil, technicians clean the away surface debris by hand or fin brush, then apply a self-rinsing evaporator oil that evaporates during the cooling process when the system runs.
Keep Your Cool with Howard Air Conditioning
Coil cleaning and annual AC inspections are cost-effective ways to ensure your air conditioner is prepared for the Phoenix summer heat when air conditioning outages can be an emergency. Preventative maintenance and cleaning save homeowners money by extending the air conditioner’s life and reducing operating costs by making sure the AC runs efficiently.
Howard Air Conditioning expertly diagnoses, repairs, and maintains all brands of HVAC units, responding quickly, at competitive prices.
Don’t get caught off guard trying to fend off the Phoenix heat. Schedule your inspection or call us day-or-night for emergency service today!
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