The hot summer is challenging without an air conditioner. You may know the necessary information about your air handling unit, but do you know how the condenser and evaporator coils inside your cooling system?
If how your AC works are new to you, you will benefit from reading this because you will learn a few technical details. You will also learn how to clean the AC coils by yourself. Even if your AC is operating correctly, it is essential to know how to clean AC coils inside the house. To make sure that the components like the evaporator coil and the rest of the parts are running efficiently. With the necessary know-how, you will know simple troubleshooting or when to call for help.
What is an Evaporator Coil?
The cold air your air conditioner produced is not the same as the way the furnace can provide heat. It has a part like refrigerant or the coolant that absorbs the heat in the air and release them outdoors. This refrigerant needs to circulate continually to remove the heat from the room until it cools down to your desired temperature registered at the thermostat.
The evaporator coil is part of the system where the refrigerant absorbs heat. It is located near or inside the air handling unit, the same location your blower fan. This part is made from steel copper or aluminum, metals that can efficiently conduct heat. The configuration of most evaporator coils that can be found in homes is made of tubes in U-shaped and formed into panels.
These panels are typically placed into an A configuration and overlaid with thin strips of metal called fins. Its function is to cool the air passing close to the coils so that you can maximize the effects of the coolant. During operation, the compressor will pull the low-pressure refrigerant (in liquid form) through the tubes inside the evaporator coil. But before it enters that evaporator coil, it will pass within the expansion valve. The expansion valve relieves the load from the liquid coolant, which cools it down. When the refrigerant has turned cold, it can absorb the temperature from the air.
With the refrigerant continuously flowing, the blower will continually draw hot air from the room across the evaporator coil. Because the evaporator coil absorbs the warmth from the transient air, the refrigerant warms up and evaporates.
When it is warm inside the house, the water vapor will hit chilled evaporator coils. This water vapor will condense into a liquid form and trickles into the condensate container, draining the water off. This is the crucial role of the evaporator coil in bringing down the humidity inside the house.
How to Care for the Evaporator Coil
Because the condenser and evaporator coils play vital roles in the air conditioner, cleaning air conditioner coils is essential for maximum efficiency and energy savings. If you do not know how to clean the AC coils inside, it can lead to plenty of problems that include:
- Ice and frost buildup
- Higher use of energy
- Higher temperatures and pressures
- Impairment of its heat absorption and capacity to cool
You should not take for granted even a thin coat of dust because it will reduce the air conditioner’s effectiveness. The dust works like an insulator that will keep the heat inside and the warm air off from the coils. This means that a dirty coil will not be able to absorb the heat the same way as a clean evaporator coil can. The AC will have to work twice as hard to reach the room temperature you want, and that means more energy used.
The frost in the entire evaporator coil is a sign that they are dirty. It happens when the refrigerant is running through the dirty coils; it does not warm up as it should. A cool refrigerant will cause the water vapor to freeze instead of condensing into liquid. It will lead to the whole evaporator coil freezing over. This is the reason why you should know how to clean the AC unit inside.
How to clean the AC Evaporator Coils Inside Your House
There are two ways to clean the AC Evaporator Coils yourself:
- By using a foaming cleanser in aerosol form
- Using a pump sprayer with a professional cleaning solution
Although the best way to keep the evaporator coils always clean is to have a clean air filter installed. Air filters are essential because they will capture even the tiniest debris which may cause trouble for your air conditioner. Knowing how to clean the AC coils is necessary and maintain its cleanliness if the air filter is regularly cleaned.
Here are the steps on how to clean the air conditioner coils. These steps are straightforward, and you can clean the ac evaporator coils yourself.
Step 1. Switch off the air conditioner at the thermostat to start your ac evaporator cleaning.
Step 2. You can put on protective goggles so that you can keep the pet hair, dust, and other particles to get into your eyes while cleaning.
Step 3. Locate the access panel so that you can see the evaporator coils and remove the screws that are holding them in place. You can put them in a jar or anywhere safe so that you will not lose any.
Step 4. Using a soft brush, clear the dust and the buildup and remove the small debris using a soft cloth.
Step 5. Remove the stubborn particles using compressed air and air compressor and to ensure that it is thoroughly cleaned. Apply it at the coils in a 90-degree angle.
Step 6. In addition to this cleaning method, or separately, apply a self-rinsing foam. This cleansing foam is mainly designed to clean the evaporator coils.
These steps are really easy, and you can do them every three months or as often as you want to make the system efficient.
Even if you are satisfied with your cleaning job, you still need to have a professional to perform annual maintenance on your air conditioner. The technician can do a thorough job and also spot some other issues with your air conditioner if there is any and correct them right away.