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DIY AC Coils Cleaning Guide: Types, Importance, Frequency & Process

Barry Martin
April 13, 2023

If you own an air conditioning unit, you know that it's an essential part of your home comfort system. However, like any other mechanical system, it requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly and efficiently.

One important aspect of this maintenance is cleaning the AC coils. It may seem like something you may call in experts for, but with a few handy tools, you can clean your AC coils with DIY methods, as recommended by professionals.


Types of AC Coils

There are two types of AC coils: evaporator coils and condenser coils. The evaporator coils are located inside the air handler or indoor unit, while the condenser coils are located outside the house in the outdoor unit. Both types of coils play a crucial role in the air conditioning process and need to be kept clean.

Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils absorb heat from the indoor air and transfer it to the refrigerant. The condenser coils then release this heat to the outside air.

If these coils are dirty or covered in debris, it can significantly reduce the efficiency of your AC unit and cause it to work harder to cool your home. This can lead to higher energy bills and shortened equipment lifespan.


Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are a crucial part of an air conditioning system. They are located in the outdoor unit and are responsible for releasing heat that has been absorbed by the refrigerant inside the evaporator coils. The heat is then released to the outside air, and the cooled refrigerant is returned to the indoor unit to absorb more heat.

Condenser Coils

How often should you clean your AC coils?

It's generally recommended to clean the coils at least once a year, although this frequency may vary depending on factors such as the type of air filter you use, the size of your unit, and the location of your home. If you live in an area with high humidity or heavy pollen levels, you may need to clean the coils more frequently.

How To Clean

Now that you understand the importance of cleaning your AC coils let's talk about the process. Here's a step-by-step guide for DIY AC coil cleaning:

  1. Turn off the power to your AC unit. Before you start cleaning the coils, it's essential to turn off the power to your AC unit to avoid any accidents.
  2. Remove the cover or panel. Depending on your AC unit, you may need to remove a cover or panel to access the coils. This is usually a straightforward process, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use caution when handling the cover or panel.
  3. Clean the coils with a brush or a vacuum. Use a soft brush or a vacuum with a long nozzle attachment to remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the coils. Be gentle and avoid bending or damaging the fins on the coils.
  4. Rinse the coils with water. Once you've removed the visible dirt and dust, use a hose to gently rinse the coils with water. Be sure to use low pressure and aim the water in the direction of the fins, not against them.
  5. Dry the coils. After rinsing the coils, use a dry cloth or a towel to blot any excess water. Make sure the coils are completely dry before replacing the cover or panel.
  6. Replace the cover or panel. Once the coils are clean and dry, it's time to replace the cover or panel. Again, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use caution when handling the cover or panel.
  7. Turn the power back on and test the unit. Once you've finished cleaning the coils and replacing the cover or panel, turn the power back on and test the unit to make sure it's running smoothly. If you notice any issues, be sure to consult with a professional HVAC technician.


By following these steps, you can effectively clean your AC coils and improve the efficiency of your unit. While cleaning the coils is an important part of maintaining your AC unit, it's just one aspect of overall maintenance.

Be sure to also regularly change your air filter, check the refrigerant levels, and inspect the unit for any other issues. In summary, cleaning your AC coils helps improve the efficiency of the air conditioners and also decreases health risks.

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