Updated at: 26-07-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Simply cleaning your air conditioner’s coils is the most cost-effective and time-saving option to increase the unit’s efficiency and longevity. It also improves indoor comfort and saves money on running and repair expenses.

Because of these advantages, you should clean your A/C coils at least once a year. Coil cleaning will become more easier and faster after the initial learning curve.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Drill with no cord
  • Screwdriver
  • Comb for mending fins
  • Brushes made of nylon.
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • Vacuum the shop
  • Extending wand for vacuuming
  • A water cannon
  • Flashlight
  • Hoses for your garden
  • Sprayer


  • An A/C coil cleaning with a foaming action.

Understanding Air Conditioner Coils

Two sets of coils, condenser and evaporator coils, work together to chill the air that comes out of your central air conditioning system, which is why it’s so cool. Coil cleaning is required for both sets of coils.

coils of a condenser

  • The property is situated outside.
  • The condenser unit is where this is found
  • Water-removable
  • Outside contaminants such as leaves, dirt, pollen, and tree fluff have made it dirty.

Coils for Evaporation

  • Located in an enclosed area
  • Located in the air-handling unit
  • Cannot be cleaned with a garden hose.
  • Contaminants from the indoor environment include dust, hair, and animal fur.

Condenser Coils

The condenser, an enormous metal outside device, houses the condenser coils. Hot air is expelled from the house through condenser coils.

How to Clean a Room Air Conditioner (DIY) | Family Handyman

The metal tubes that make up the condenser coils are encased in aluminum fins. The gaseous refrigerant is compressed and condensed into a hot liquid in the coils. The heat is dissipated by the condenser coils and fins as the liquid moves past them. The condenser unit has a huge electric fan on top of it to dissipate the heat.


The coils in the condenser never get cold. It’s more accurate to say that they operate like a sponge, absorbing heat from the inside and transferring it to the exterior.

Evaporator Coils

Near the air handler, the evaporator coils are situated indoors in the vicinity of the unit. The coils of the evaporator are quite cold. The evaporator coils are cooled by the blower air as it passes through them.

Similar to condenser coils, evaporator coils use aluminum fins to conduct heat. Afterwards, the refrigerant goes to the evaporator coils, where it is used to cool the air in the room. It swells into gas as the refrigerant liquid enters the coils and cools them down.

When to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

An annual coil cleaning is recommended. Coils should be cleaned more frequently if you frequently use your air conditioner or if the exterior or interior of your home is dirty (leaves, pollen, and grime).

In the spring, and possibly again in the middle of summer, thoroughly clean the coils.

Why It’s Important to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

Keeping your air conditioner’s coils clean will help it run more efficiently, decrease wear and tear, and save you money in the long run.

Improve Cooling Efficiency

Condenser fans and compressors have to work harder to provide the same volume of cool air into the house when they are clogged with dirt. Restoring the coils back to their original state allows them to perform at their intended capability.

Minimize Wear on System

Dirty coils require more frequent restarts in order to maintain the desired temperature. The fan on the condenser unit is constantly spinning to remove heat from the house, which shortens its lifespan.

Reduce Service Calls

There is a greater probability that you will need to call in HVAC specialists to handle larger and more complicated problems.

Heating and air conditioning (HVAC) service calls typically range from $100 to $200. If you show up, that’s all you’ll have to pay. There is no further charge for labor or supplies beyond this point. Your service calls will be less frequent if you keep the system clean.

Save Money

Air conditioners take a lot of electricity to run, which can be pricey to consumers. Running less frequently and for a shorter period of time will save you money. Maintaining your A/C system can also save you from having to buy a new system, which can cost upwards of $3,000 to $4,000 on average.

Safety Considerations

The use of coil cleaners poses a health risk. Wear chemical-resistant gloves, a face shield, safety glasses, and other protective gear. If you’re going to use a coil cleaner on one of your A/C units, be sure you have adequate ventilation. Use an NIOSH mechanical filter/organic vapor cartridge in a respirator if adequate ventilation isn’t expected.

The 240V systems in air conditioner condensers are extremely charged. Working on the condenser requires turning off the electricity completely.

How to Clean Air Conditioner Condenser Coils

Locate the A/C Condenser Unit

The condenser unit is usually located outside, on the other side of the wall from the electric service panel.

Disable the Electric Breaker

Unplug the air conditioner’s power source by turning off the circuit breaker. The AC condenser’s electrical whip (cord) will be attached to the circuit breaker, which will be a tiny metal box on the house’s side.

It is possible to disconnect a system using cartridge-style breakers with fuses that can be pulled out.

Perhaps there is an enormous lever that can be pulled down to turn off the system.

When the AC condenser unit is controlled by a double circuit breaker in the home’s electric service panel, this is the case.


The power to the condensing unit will not be stopped if the A/C system is turned off at the thermostat.

Remove Top and Side Condenser Covers

Remove the screws holding the top protective cover in place using the cordless drill or screwdriver. Put the screws in a bag and keep the bag out of harm’s way. Continue with the side covers and/or grilles.

Unscrew the Condenser Fan Assembly From Unit (Optional)

The condenser model you have may or may not require this step. Remove the fan and motor only if you’re convinced you can do so without damaging anything.

Turn out the screws holding the condenser fan assembly in place with the cordless drill or screwdriver. Put the screws in a bag and keep the bag out of harm’s way.

To remove the condenser fan assembly from a certain unit, you can simply unsnap the condenser fan assembly’s electrical harness.

Make sure to place a step stool or ladder near the A/C unit so that the assembly can rest on it. Set the unit on a stool or ladder by gently removing any surplus wires.

Inspect the Inside of the A/C Unit

To check for obvious faults, such as loose wires, cracked or broken pipes, or advanced rust, take advantage of the unit being open. Any repairs should be handled by a professional.

Remove Large Debris

Open the metal cabinet and remove any significant debris that has accumulated at the bottom. Grass clippings, leaves, mud, bark, mulch, pebbles, and other debris accumulates at the bottom of kitchen cabinets over time. The biodegradable material can be disposed of in your home’s compost bin.

Clean With a Shop Vacuum

Attach the extension wand to the vacuum cleaner. Using a vacuum, remove all of the remaining debris from the A/C cabinet’s bottom.

Fix the Fins

The heat exchanger’s fragile metal fins are readily crushed. Straighten up small portions of crushed fins with the metal-tipped fin comb. Move the tool up and down while inserting the comb tines into the fins.


There is no guarantee that the fins will be restored to their original condition. In most cases, but not all, smashed fin repairs made with the comb are an improvement over the original.

Clean the Protective Grille

Removing big debris from the outside of the A/C unit is essential to prevent it from overheating. This area is prone to accumulating leaves, which must be removed by hand.

Check the Fins With a Light

When you’re inside the A/C cabinet, use a bright flashlight or a shop light. The light source should be aimed outward from the inside. Examine the light source through the A/C fins while standing outside to determine the cleanliness of the fins.


The outside of the fins will have the majority of the heavy debris. The A/C cabinet’s condenser fan sucks air in from the outside and pushes it back out through the unit’s condenser fan.

How To Clean Your Ac Condenser Coil – Otosection

Spray the Foam Coil Cleaner

In the cabinet, use a foaming A/C condenser coil cleanser. Apply a thick layer of cleaner to the cabinet’s four sides, pushing it into and through the fins as you go. Fins should never be touched.

Use water and a foamy coil cleanser to get the job done. Stay away from the fins and coiled parts of the device.

Spray the Inside With Water

After using the coil cleaner for five to ten minutes, rinse the coils thoroughly. Use a yard hose and sprayer attachment to wet the inside out. To avoid harming the fins, keep the spray on broad. Start at the top and work your way down one side. Before moving on to the next side, finish this one first.

Spray the Outside With Water

Forced debris from the fins or cabinet, or both, could stick to the exterior. Rinse the cabinet from the top to bottom with the sprayer set to either fine or wide. Directing the water inward may force debris into the fins and coils, so exercise caution.

Reassemble the Unit

Until the condenser is totally dry, turn off the power and leave the condenser unit open. Then, if necessary, reinstall the fan, the grilles or side covers, and the top. Turn on the computer.

Keep the Unit Clean

Pruning any deciduous trees or plants that shed their leaves near or above the air conditioner is a good idea. All year long, keep this foliage trimmed.

An A/C cabinet with a mesh leaf guard on the top will keep leaves out. Use the provided bungee cords to fasten the guard to the cabinet.

How to Clean Air Conditioner Evaporator Coils

It’s a variation of washing the condenser coils to clean the evaporator coils. Because they are located indoors, evaporator coils cannot be cleaned with an outdoor hose. In order to better regulate the flow of water, we recommend using a spray bottle.

Shut Off the Power

At the electric panel, turn off the air conditioning system’s electricity.

Locate the A/C Evaporator Coils

A/C evaporator coils can be found behind an access door inside the building. Remove the screws to gain access to the door.

Inspect the Coils

“A”-shaped,”A”-shape “Evaporator coil assembly” Inside the assembly, the dirtiest area will be.

Brush the Coils

Brush the aluminum fins in the direction of the long axis of the fins with the nylon brush. Work your way down from the top. Take a deep breath, and allow the debris to fall. Vacuum the trash from time to time, taking care not to harm the fins.

Fix the Fins

Use the fin comb to straighten any crooked or bent fins.

Spray the Foam Coil Cleaner

Spray the inside of the evaporator coil assembly with foam coil cleaning. Cleaner should be sprayed liberally.

Rinse the Coils

Using a spray bottle, carefully rinse the coils with clean water after about five minutes. Make sure you don’t use too much water when applying the paint. Use the wet mode of the shop vacuum to remove any remaining water.


The evaporator coils cannot be soaked as the condenser coils, thus repeating the operation a few times is preferable to attempting to clean them all at once.

Reassemble the System

Until all of the evaporator coils have been properly dried, leave the door open. Close the door and re-energize the system at the breaker box to complete the job.

When to Call a Professional

The fin comb cannot be used to restore severely damaged fins, so you’ll need to call a professional. Regular maintenance includes cleaning the air conditioner coils, so if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, call in a professional to take care of it for you.


There are two parts to a split-system central air conditioner: an indoor unit, such as a furnace and evaporator or fan coil, and an outdoor unit, such as an air conditioning unit, which is normally located outside. A crucial component of the air conditioning process is contained in each of these components. This coil, which is also known as the cooling coil or the evaporator coil, is found on the furnace’s air intake or exhaust side. In order to keep the air in your home cold, the evaporative cooler is responsible for removing the heat from the air.

The outside unit’s condenser coil disperses the heat it has collected outside. Copper tubing is commonly used for evaporator and condenser coils, and fins, which are thin aluminum strips, are used to connect the two. While various coil designs and compositions exist, such as all-aluminum coils or spine fin coils that resemble a huge pipe-cleaner, airflow across the coil aids in the passage of heating energy into and out of the residence.

Maintaining the cleanliness of your air conditioning system’s coils is essential for its long-term performance. Even though it may appear to be a do-it-yourself project, hiring a professional is the best approach to clean your coils. When it comes to keeping your air conditioner in top working order and ensuring that its coils last as long as possible, your local Carrier® HVAC dealer is an excellent resource.


It is possible for dirt, dust, and other pollutants to build up on the coil surfaces because of their close spacing, the quantity of moisture from the cooling process and the volume of air that travels through them. These deposits eventually impair the system’s ability to transmit heat into and out of the house, reducing its cooling capacity in the summer. Dirty coils can obstruct or even completely stop airflow, which is critical to the entire process. As a result of the decreased energy efficiency, you may find yourself with a less cozy home and higher utility bills. As a result, unclean coils might shorten the system’s life expectancy and necessitate hefty repair expenditures. It’s safe to say that a more efficient air conditioning system has a cleaner coil.

The following are potential outcomes of using dirty coils:

a rise in the temperature of the machine Dirt and debris buildup can put unnecessary strain on the system, forcing fans and compressors to work harder and at higher temperatures in order to maintain a comfortable indoor environment.

The level of comfort has been reduced. Air conditioning systems naturally remove undesired and uncomfortably humid conditions from your home throughout the cooling process. Dirty coils can lower overall system efficiency, resulting in increased humidity levels and a less comfortable indoor environment.

Cooling efficiency is reduced. The coils have to work more to absorb or release heat because of the accumulation on their surface, which reduces their efficiency.

Costs of cooling have gone up. Higher operational costs are the result of a less efficient business. You’ll spend more money cooling your room if your coils are dirty.

Worsening of the system. Many times, a clogged evaporator coil results in an increased compressor temperature, putting additional strain on the system. As one of the most expensive air conditioning components to replace, maintaining your compressor can help you prevent costly repair costs.

Repairing or replacing a system. Over-stressed components can cause system breakdowns, which can lead to service calls, the replacement of system components, or even the replacement of the entire system.


AC coils should be cleaned whenever they become clogged, as basic sense would imply. When it comes to how quickly your filters become filthy, factors like how often you use your air conditioning unit, the number of people that occupy the area, and the amount of dust and debris in the air inside and outside your house all play a role. In general, a year before summer, when your air conditioner will be utilized the most, you should have an HVAC specialist perform a maintenance check on your system. Air conditioner coil cleaning, air conditioner filter replacement, and system testing can all be done by them. Our online scheduling feature makes it easier than ever to schedule service. Each participating dealer’s contact information includes an orange “schedule now” button.


Because the coils in your air conditioner are so crucial to the efficiency of your system and your level of comfort, it is crucial that you perform the installation correctly. Furthermore, the coil fins, which aid in heat transfer, must be protected from injury during cleaning to prevent premature failure. That’s why expert coil cleaning is recommended on a regular basis. The most reliable approach to ensure your air conditioner’s effectiveness and longevity is to have it serviced by a Carrier® technician. They are well-versed in cleaning AC coils, but they can also complete a pre-cooling season test to guarantee that your system is operating at its peak efficiency. When it comes to air conditioner coil cleaning, it’s helpful to have a greater awareness of the processes and procedures involved. The next sections go over the specifics of those procedures.


The indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condensing coil of air conditioning systems are essential components. You may have an independent cabinet for the indoor evaporator coil, or it may be integrated into the fan coil/air handler unit of your furnace. The evaporator coil can be accessed by your Carrier dealer through an access panel that is often removed with a nut driver or screwdriver depending on the model. Outdoor units typically have a coil of condenser that wraps around the inside components and functions like side walls. Metal panels with louvered grilles can be used to obscure it from view while a wire coil guard keeps it out of sight. The outer shell and the top may have to be removed in some circumstances. In order to properly clean the coils after they are exposed and accessible, your dealer will check and follow manufacturer’s guidelines. This can entail employing a fin-straightening tool to straighten bent fins.


How to Clean AC Coils with Compressed Air

Depending on the model of your air conditioner, your service provider may use a combination of compressed air, a shop-vac, and heavy-duty coil-cleaning chemicals. Only the outdoor condensing coil should be used with this procedure. Compressed air used to clean the indoor evaporator coil blows dust and debris into the house. This method of cleaning the coil by blowing it clean with compressed air works well because it is fast and efficient. When an HVAC technician uses compressed air to clean an outdoor coil, the air is blown through the coils in the opposite direction of how air normally flows through the coils. As a result, air will be pushed backwards via the cleaner and dirtier sides. Your dealer will take special care to avoid blowing air in an oblique direction through the fins. This is due to the fins’ thin metal construction, which is prone to bending. The technician can then remove the dirt and debris from the unit with the help of a shop vac. Coil material that is loose and on the surface can be removed by performing these simple steps. If the buildup is still tenacious, your dealer can use a household detergent or a commercial coil cleaning solution to finish the job.

How to Clean AC Coils with Household Detergent

Air conditioner coils can be cleaned with a solution of mild home detergent and water, despite the availability of commercially available coil cleaning products. A low-pressure sprayer is used to apply the detergent and water mixture to the coil. You can either let the coil drain naturally or softly rinse it with a garden hose to remove any remaining grit or debris from it. This can be done as many times as needed. Contractors should use a low-pressure sprayer, not a power washer, if they decide to use this procedure. If they use a pressure washer, they risk damaging the coil’s delicate metal fins, which are easily damaged by the high-powered spray. Fins that have been damaged or bent might impede airflow and limit heat transfer. Also, be certain they aren’t using an acidic detergent. Copper and alloy metals used in the coil can be harmed by acidic cleaners, which can lead to corrosion and reduce the coil’s lifespan.

How to Clean AC Coils with Commercial Cleaners

Cleaning your air conditioner’s coils with commercially available coil cleaning solutions is an option that your Carrier dealer may elect to use. They come in a variety of forms, including foaming and self-rinsing options, depending on the needs of the coils in question. For use with a low-pressure sprayer, they can be bought in aerosol cans or in bulk. The contractor will most likely use a special fin brush to remove any surface dirt from your exterior coil during the cleaning process. In accordance with the cleaner’s instructions and the manufacturer’s recommendations, they will then apply the commercial cleaner and rinse the coil with water. When it comes to cleaning the coil, the contractor will most likely use a special brush and self-rinsing evaporator oil to remove any significant material. Using this product, you may efficiently clean the coil and rinse it out during the cooling process when the system is activated.

Skip this chore: Cleaning your air conditioner condenser probably won't make it work better


While many people may be tempted to do air conditioner coil cleaning on their own using the previously outlined methods, the best solution is to engage a qualified HVAC contractor. Avoiding the need for coil cleaning is far less expensive in the long run than the repair costs that could arise if you skip this preventative measure. For a limited time, several HVAC retailers are offering discounted “clean and check” discounts. Service contracts are another option, and they can come with a warranty against failure or a discount on repair costs, as well as regular cleanings and inspections. Because of its extended system life, sustained energy efficiency, lower operating costs and improved comfort as well as its reduced possibility for significant repair work, AC coil cleaning can save you money. Make an appointment with a Carrier HVAC professional in your area today. They will take care of your air conditioning system all season long, providing the necessary upkeep and maintenance.

Why Evaporator Coils are Important

The major function of the evaporator coil is to extract heat from the air in your home. Air is circulated in and out of the outside unit by condenser coils (also known as fan coils) while evaporator coils do their work. Coils composed of copper and wrapped in aluminum fins assist transport heat more efficiently. Coils are positioned in different parts of the system. The condenser and evaporator coils are located outside of your home in the external cabinet of your HVAC system.

The cooling provided by the evaporator coils in your air conditioning system is critical for maintaining a pleasant temperature in your home or business even when the outside temperature is at its highest. In addition, your HVAC system’s dehumidification relies on them. As the coils cool, water condenses on them and is subsequently removed from the air in your home. The drain pan collects this water, which is subsequently safely discharged from the system.

Evaporator coils become unclean, and the efficiency and performance of these two critical operations suffer substantially. The dehumidification process causes the coils to become wet, so dust, pollen, and other airborne particles adhere to the coils when the air flows over them. Coil contamination can also be increased if the air filter is unclean or if no air filter is utilized at all. Combined with the other causes, dirt and dust can build up on the coils in a short period of time, affecting their function.

Problems that arise when the condenser and evaporator coils become clogged with dust

  • Coil ice accumulation
  • An increase in the amount of wear and tear on the system (leading to damage and malfunctions)
  • Reduced capacity for cooling
  • Reduced transmission of heat
  • Increased energy use
  • Pressures and temperatures that are higher than normal

Air conditioners with dirty coils consume up to 40% more energy and cool at a rate of up to 30% less than those with clean coils. Leaving filthy coils to wreak havoc on your air conditioner may cause it to lose performance and efficiency, which will drive up your monthly power expenses. The coils in your evaporator should be checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Due to coils’ tendency to gather dirt and debris, it is recommended that they be cleaned on a monthly basis. Every three months throughout cooling season and at the very least once a year during regular HVAC maintenance is common for a standard system.

How to Clean Your AC Coils

To begin cleaning your AC coils, you must first get your hands on them. Removable access panel in your indoor handling unit reveals the evaporator coils Make sure the air conditioner is turned off at the thermostat before you do anything else. Check to see whether your circuit breaker has been tampered with! Removing fasteners and then the panel is as simple as removing screws and placing them somewhere they won’t go misplaced.

After that, clean the evaporator coils of your air conditioner using one of the methods listed below:

Compressed air is one method. Compressed air can be used to blow dirt off the evaporator coil if there isn’t a significant accumulation of dirt. Directing compressed air in the opposite direction of regular air flow across a coil is a good idea. Keep in mind that you’ll need eye protection and a shop vac to clear up the material that becomes dislodged from the coil.

Using a brush is also a good option. Using this method, you may get rid of little amounts of dirt from the coils while also having better control over the pressure and the places you clean. Use the brush directly on the coils to sweep away dirt and, if necessary, scrub for stubborn dirt. To avoid damaging the fins, use a soft brush and avoid wire or harsh bristle brushes.

In addition, commercial cleansers can be used for this purpose. When it comes to sanitizing your evaporator coils, you’ll have a number of options. Once you’ve decided on a brand, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Wait for the cleaner to sit and foam until the foam and particles have been removed. Keep reapplying until the coils are completely clean and free of buildup (or as instructed).

Using water and mild detergents is the best way to clean your home. The coils can be cleaned with mild soap and water if you prefer not to use a commercial cleaner. Use a spray bottle or garden sprayer to combine warm water and a little detergent. Allow the solution to sink in and loosen the dirt and debris on the evaporator coils for a few minutes after spraying. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any loose material and reapply as needed.

A thorough cleaning is required. Steam cleaners and pressure washers may be needed to clean evaporator coils that have become highly dirty. The removal of the coil, the cutting of the refrigerant lines, and subsequently the reassembly of your AC unit may also necessitate a more extensive cleaning. A competent HVAC contractor can inspect the job and have the necessary tools, knowledge, and supplies to safely clean your AC system’s coils and get it back to working order without risking further harm.

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