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caring for your air conditioning equipment

Is your air conditioning system ready for the upcoming summer? Have you done all that is necessary to prevent damage during the winter? Do you know what you have to do before you turn the air conditioning on for the first time this year? You can learn all of this and so much more by visiting my site. The tips, advice and information you find on my site will be valuable in many ways. You can learn a few things to do on your own to save a little money on your yearly use and maintenance of your air conditioning equipment.


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caring for your air conditioning equipment

Prep Your Air Conditioner For Spring By Cleaning The Evaporator Coil

by Amy Henry

Winter weather is in full swing, but it's only a matter time before you'll need your air conditioner again. Before you make the big switch from heating to cooling, you want to make sure your air conditioner has all of its maintenance taken care of. That includes cleaning several portions of the air conditioning unit including the evaporator coil.

The Importance of Cleaning the Evaporator Coil

Instead of adding cool air into your home environment, the typical air conditioner removes latent heat from surrounding indoor air as a part of a subtractive process. The evaporator coil plays an instrumental role by absorbing and transferring latent heat from your indoor spaces and expelling that heat outdoors through the condenser coil located outside. The refrigerant acts as a transfer medium as it flows through the evaporator and condenser coils.

Exposure to dust, debris, mold and mildew can easily put the squeeze on your A/C system's ability to keep your home cool, especially if the evaporator coil is left neglected for months on end. As it turns out, the dark and relatively damp confines of the evaporator coil makes it particularly susceptible to mold and mildew growth. The coil's location within the air handler plenum also makes it easy to overlook when checking the rest of your A/C system.

How to Clean the Coil

When it comes to cleaning your evaporator coil, you have three choices to consider:

  • Compressed air – If you have a can of compressed air or even a portable air compressor, you can use blasts of air to dislodge most particles and some mold and/or algae buildup. To keep control of flying dust and debris, you'll also want to place a wet/dry shop vacuum in the plenum and let it run as you clean.
  • Mild detergent – A mild dishwashing soap combined with warm water is the usual go-to for cleaning evaporator coils. All you need is a few drops of detergent in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the coil and let it sit for a few minutes. Afterwards, gently scrub away the debris with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Foaming cleaner – A foaming no-rinse cleaner is just the thing if you want to clean your evaporator coil without getting hands-on. Simply spray the cleaner on the evaporator coil until it covers the entire surface. The foam will penetrate through the debris and mildew as it dissolves, allowing it to drain away from the coil without the need for any scrubbing. Don't hesitate to reapply the cleaner as many times as needed to thoroughly clean the coil.

As you clean the evaporator coils, you'll want to take it easy with the brush and compressed air, since too much pressure or force can bend and even break the delicate fins lining the coil surface. Straightening out the coil fins can be quite a pain unless you have a fin straightening comb on hand to undo most of the damage.

Don't Forget About the Drain Pan

Inevitably, much of the debris cleaned off of the evaporator coil will fall down into the condensate drip tray. In many cases, the tray itself and its associated drain can contain mold and mildew growth. After you're done cleaning the coil, remember to dump or vacuum the tray's contents. You can also use your wet/dry shop vacuum to suction out any stubborn clogs found in the drain. This step can help prevent spillages and flooding from occurring when you use your A/C system later on.

To keep mold and mildew from coming back, don't hesitate to pour a half-cup of bleach or white vinegar down the condensate drain. As for the evaporator coil itself, an ultraviolet lamp installed within the plenum can help prevent mold and mildew from growing on the coil's surface.

For more information about cleaning your air conditioner, contact a professional, like those at Enright and Sons