It is crucial to conduct routine maintenance on your air conditioner (AC) to guarantee its overall performance, longevity, and efficacy. Cleaning the AC coils is one of the most critical steps of AC maintenance. This blog post will walk you through the importance of cleaning your AC coils, provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it safely and effectively and emphasize the benefits of regular maintenance.


The cooling process of your HVAC system is significantly influenced by air conditioner coils. The evaporator and condenser coils are responsible for the absorption of heat from your residence and its subsequent release outside. The efficacy of these coils can be diminished and energy costs can increase as a result of the accumulation of dirt, dust, and debris over time. Your system may experience overheating due to dirty coils, which may necessitate costly repairs or even complete system failure. Preventing these issues, enhancing the performance of your AC system, and extending its lifespan can be achieved through consistent cleansing of the coils. This not only guarantees a comfortable home environment but also contributes to a more sustainable household by reducing energy expenses.

Signs Your AC Coils Need Cleaning

  • Reduced Cooling Efficiency: Dirty coils may be the cause of your air conditioning system’s decreased cooling efficiency. The coils are unable to absorb or release heat as efficiently when they are covered in dirt, resulting in prolonged cooling cycles and less effective temperature regulation.
  • Increased Energy Bills: The abrupt increase in energy costs may suggest that your air conditioning system is operating at an increased level as a result of dirty coils. As the system struggles to maintain the desired temperature, it uses an increased amount of power, which results in an increase in your utility bills.
  • Frequent System Breakdowns: The occurence of repeated malfunctions and system failures may indicate that your air conditioning coils require cleansing. The system can become overheated and malfunctions due to dirty coils, resulting in more frequent and expensive repairs.
  • Visible Dirt and Debris: If grime and debris are visible on the coils, it is time for a cleaning. The coils are ready for maintenance, as evidenced by the visible buildup, which can have a substantial impact on system performance.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Screwdriver or Wrench: Required for the removal of access panels. To prevent the fasteners or bolts from being damaged, ensure that you have the appropriate type and size.
  • Soft Brush or Coil Cleaning Brush: Designed to carefully remove dirt from the coils without causing any damage to the fins. A coil cleaning brush that is specifically engineered to effectively clean between the fins should be used.
  • Fin Comb: It is important to maintain the correct airflow by straightening any bent coil fins. Select a fin comb that corresponds to the spacing of your coil fins, as they are available in a variety of sizes.
  • Commercial Coil Cleaner: A potent cleansing solution that has been specifically engineered for air conditioning coils. These cleaners are capable of dissolving even the most stubborn filth and grime. Or, for a more environmentally responsible alternative, you may combine mild detergent with water.
  • Garden Hose with Spray Nozzle: To rinse the coils following the application of the cleansing solution. A nozzle that has adjustable settings enables you to regulate the water pressure and prevent coil damage.
  • Protective Gloves and Eyewear: It is imperative to prioritize safety when working with cleansing chemicals and in close proximity to sharp metal components.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning AC Coils

  • Turn Off the Power

Ensure that your air conditioning unit is turned off prior to commencing any maintenance work. Locate the electrical disconnect in close proximity to your outdoor unit and deactivate it. Alternately, disable the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to your air conditioning system. This measure is essential for the prevention of electrical accidents and the protection of your well-being.

  • Access the Coils

The outer panels may need to be removed or the coils may need to be accessed through a dedicated service door, depending on the model of AC unit. Use a wrench or screwdriver to remove any screws or fasteners. Ensure that the fasteners and panels are set aside carefully to avoid damage or loss.

  • Inspect the Coils

Thoroughly examine the coils for debris, dust, and filth. Take note of any areas that necessitate special attention or where fins may be bent. It is crucial to address bent fins during the cleaning procedure, as they can obstruct airflow.

  • Clean the Coils
  • Dry Cleaning: Use a coil cleaning brush or a soft brush to delicately remove loose dirt and debris from the coils. Take care not to injure the fins, which are extremely delicate. This procedure is most effective for light cleaning and maintenance.
  • Wet Cleaning: Apply a commercial coil cleaner or a solution of moderate detergent and water to the coils. Allow the cleanser to remain in place for the specified duration, which is typically 5-10 minutes. Thoroughly rinse the coils with a garden faucet to eliminate all dirt and cleaning solutions. To prevent the fins from being bent, use a mild spray setting.


  • Straighten the Coil Fins

Use a fin comb to repair any bent fins. This will allow for proper airflow through the coils and improve the efficiency. Gently run the comb through the fins, making sure not to apply too much pressure.

  • Reassemble the Unit

Once the coils are cleaned and dried, reattach the access panels or outer covers. Make sure that all screws and bolts are securely tightened and check that the panels are properly aligned with no gaps.

  • Restore Power

Turn the power back on by switching on the electrical disconnect or circuit breaker. Make sure to test the system to ensure it is functioning correctly and monitor it for a few minutes to confirm that it is cooling effectively and operating smoothly.

Professional Maintenance

While cleaning the AC coils is a task many homeowners should be able to handle, there are advantages to calling in a professional HVAC maintenance firm. Professional technicians have the right tools and expertise to thoroughly clean and inspect your entire system to ensure optimal performance and prevent potential issues down the line. During a professional maintenance visit, technicians can also identify and fix other potential problems, such as refrigerant leaks, worn-out components, and electrical issues. Regular professional maintenance will extend the life of your HVAC system, improve the energy efficiency, and provide peace of mind knowing that your AC is always in top condition.

Call to Action

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your AC system running smoothly and prolonging its life. If you are uncomfortable performing the task yourself or encounter any issues, contact Express Home Services for professional maintenance and repair services. Our friendly and experienced technicians are here to help you maintain a comfortable and cool home.

For more tips and expert advice on how to maintain your HVAC system, visit our blog or follow us on Twitter.



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