The part of your central air conditioner that actually cools the air is found in the air handler inside your furnace. Liquid refrigerant travels from the outside condensing unit into the air handler and the evaporator coils, which turn the liquid back into gas. This phase change makes the coils cold and a blower fan pushes warm air across those coils and back out your vents to cool your home.
If your system has seemed less efficient lately, the cause could be dirty evaporator coils. The coils are relatively simple to clean with a few supplies. The job does involve moisture and electricity so if you feel uncomfortable with any of the steps, call in an air conditioning repair technician.
What You Need:
- Foaming, no-rinse coil cleaner
- Soft-bristled brush
- Bottle of water
Step 1: Access the Evaporator Coils
Start by turning off all power to your unit then work on locating your evaporator coils.
The location of evaporator coils can vary greatly between makes and models so your best bet is to consult your owner's manual. Generally, you will need to remove at least one rear panel and the coils can be found near the bottom of the unit. Set the panel or panels off to the side for safekeeping and to keep them out of your way while you work.
If the coils look frozen, stop the process here and call in an HVAC tech. You might have a problem with your refrigerant levels, which is a problem that only a tech can fix.
Step 2: Apply the Cleanser
Read the directions on your no-rinse foaming coil cleanser. Prepare and apply the cleanser as directed. Allow the coils to soak in the cleanser for as long as recommended.
Now use the soft-bristled brush to gently clean away any loosened dirt and excess cleaner. You can allow these to drop down into the bottom of the unit because your next step is rinsing it clean.
Use a gentle hand with the coils, which are fairly easy to bend out of place. Bent or dented coils can interfere with the refrigerant flow and actually make your unit less efficient.
Step 3: Rinse Clean
You don't need to rinse the actual coils since the cleaner had no-rinse right in its name. But you might want to rinse out the dirt and excess cleaner that might have collected at the bottom of the unit.
Use a bottle of water to flush out the dirt and cleaner. You want to pour as little water as possible and aim the flow in the direction of the drain or condensate pump attached to the unit, which removes the natural condensate that forms during the coils' phase change.
Reattach the panels and restore power to your unit.
To learn more about air conditioning repair, contact a company like Daniel's Heating Air & Plumbing Inc.