How to clean ac evaporator coils yourself and save a lot of money.
Table of Contents
When you clean the evaporator coils yourself you can take your time and make sure It’s cleaned extremely well. This post will show and tell you how to access the coils and what chemicals to use to clean them.
Clean coil side Dirty coil side
How to access your evaporator coil.
Depending on whether you have an electric air handler or a gas furnace will determine how you access your evaporator coil to clean it.
The picture below is an example of an Air Handler that has an evaporator coil inside. You can always determine where the evaporator coil is by looking at where the copper refrigerant lines go in. It’s the large line that has black insulation over it and the small copper line.
In order to access and clean the coils, you will need to remove the air handler cover that has the coil inside. Turn the power off to the air handler by turning off the breaker.
The air handler cover normally has 4-6 screws and after you remove them you can simply pull the cover off. After the cover is off you will have full access to the coil inside.
The picture below shows access to one side of the evaporator coil in an air handler.
The picture below is of the inside of the coil. depending on the position of the style of evaporator coil you have it may be necessary to cut an access hole in your supply plenum duct box. Some supply plenum boxes are made of sheet metal and some duct board. If it’s made of duct board it’s easy to cut a hole in the duct with a knife. All you do is pop out the piece you cut and tape it back in place after you clean the inside of the evaporator coil.
The best way to clean an evaporator coil
Use this procedure to clean the evaporator coil.
Some systems are in a hall closet, a basement, or an attic. Regardless of the location, you can use this procedure to clean your coil. I use (SIMPLE GREEN) cleaner in a pump bottle and spray the coils with the cleaner. I mix the container with 50% Simple Green and 50% water. If the coils are extremely dirty you may need to spray water with a garden hose to remove the exterior dust and biological growth before putting the cleaner on the coil. It doesn’t do much good to spray the cleaner on dust or mold. The cleaner needs to be on the coil to break up the impacted dust inside the coil fins.
Make sure your garden hose has a spray nozzle on it so you can control the pressure. You don’t want to apply a jet stream to the coil because you may bend the coils. The objective is to apply enough pressure to clean all the way through the coil but, not damage the coils by bending them.
I use the garden hose to spray the coil with pressure and get as much of the debris off before I spray the Simple Green on the evaporator coil. If your system is in the attic and you spray water from the hose just make sure you allow the evaporator coil pan to catch the water. The water will go in the pan and drain out the drain line. You just need to make sure you don’t spray so much water that the drain line can’t keep up.
As long as the interior evaporator coil pan and the drain line can keep up with the water flow then it will not overflow.
If the system is in a hallway closet I typically put on my raincoat and fill the bottom of the return air with about 5 thick towels to ensure it gets all soaked up. If your system is in a closet you will have to remove the filter and the filter grill on the wall so you can lay on your back and spray up. Obviously, some of the water will fall back down so be sure to spray at an angle.
If you spray at an angle most of the water will follow the coil down and go inside the evaporator coil pan.
- Locate your evaporator coil.
- Turn the electrical breaker off to the air handler.
- Take off the evaporator coil cover.
- Spray the evaporator coil with a garden hose.
- Apply (SIMPLE GREEN) with the pump bottle.
- Spray the coil again with the garden hose to flush the SIMPLE GREEN off.
- Put the cover back on to the air handler.
- Turn the A/C system on and enjoy.
If you have never cleaned an ac evaporator coil yourself this may seem difficult. Don’t get overwhelmed it’s not very hard. Take your time and just go step by step. It doesn’t take very long and your air conditioner will work much better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question – What type of cleaner can I use to clean my home AC Evaporator coil? Answer – You can use (Simple Green All-Purpose) Cleaner that can be purchased at Ace Hardware and Home Depot.
Question – Can I or should I use bleach to clean my home evaporator coil? Answer – Don’t use bleach on your coil directly or indirectly. Bleach will cause damage to your home evaporator coil. Even the fumes from the bleach sitting in the evaporator coil pan will cause damage to the coil. So don’t use bleach on your evaporator coil.
Question – Why is my evaporator coil so dirty? Answer – The evaporator coil becomes dirty because particulates are getting through the filter and or other openings in the return air duct. This allows dust, and other particulates in the air to become impacted in the evaporator coil.
Question – Does it help my air conditioner work better if I clean my evaporator coil? Answer – Yes, cleaning your coil will help the performance and energy efficiency. If you have a dirty evaporator coil cleaning it will improve the performance in a number of ways.