When is the last time you had your air conditioner cleaned? Not the air filter, but the air conditioner itself. If you can’t remember, it’s been too long. Dirty A/C coils can zap the efficiency of your unit and cost you precious dollars.

Every air conditioner has two separate coils that refrigerant runs through. The evaporator coil is located inside the home and absorbs the heat from the air in the home. Using the process of refrigeration, this heat is transferred to the condenser coil on the outside of the home, where the heat is dissipated into the outdoor air. This heat transfer is achieved when a blower fan forces air over the coils causing radiant heat exchange.

If the coils are dirty, the amount of air that comes into direct contact with the copper tubing and aluminum fins of the unit is reduced by as much as 35 percent. This results in the unit having to work harder for a longer period to achieve the desired cooling effects. This can lead to a higher operating pressure and faster breakdown of the compressor’s lubricant, which can ultimately fail the unit.

Cleaning your air conditioner coils can be as simple as blowing off a light layer of dust with compressed air or may require the use of a pressure washer or foaming chemical cleaner. We recommend cleaning your dirty A/C coils during yearly maintenance, using the following steps (or, of course, your HVAC technician can include this task in your annual maintenance tune-up):

Turn off your air conditioner at the thermostat.
Remove the access panel that covers the coil. It’s usually held in place by several hex-head sheet metal screws.
Use your chosen method to clean off the fins and coils. If your fins are bent, you can purchase a special fin comb that will allow you to straighten them and increase the airflow through the unit.
Don’t forget to clean the condensate pan and drain at the base of the unit.
For more about air conditioner maintenance or to get a professional dirty A/C coil cleaning, please contact us at Pipe Works Services.

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