With the hot summer months fast approaching, the last thing you'd want is for an unexpected problem to sideline your AC system. A dirty evaporator coil can easily turn into an unexpected problem if it hasn't been checked and cleaned in recent months. Fortunately, it's easy to be proactive about taking care of your AC system, and a dirty evaporator coil happens to be an issue you can tackle on your own with the right steps.
The Importance of a Clean Evaporator Coil
Housed inside of your central AC system's plenum, the evaporator coil is what facilitates the transfer of latent heat from your home's indoor air to the outdoors. Over time, dust and debris accumulate on the evaporator coil, blocking the numerous passages that air passes through. The dust and debris can eventually become thick enough to block air flow to the coil, preventing the evaporator coil from functioning properly.
A blocked evaporator coil can cause your AC system to perform poorly, resulting in much warmer air coming through your vents when you were expecting colder air. The poor performance can also cause increased wear and tear as your AC system struggles to keep up with cooling demand. A dirty evaporator coil can also lead to increased energy consumption, meaning higher electricity bills in the long run.
For these reasons, it's important to keep an eye on your evaporator coil and make sure it stays clean. The following instructions offer a few simple ways you can clean your evaporator coil and keep your AC system running at its best.
How to Clean the Evaporator Coil
Start by removing the AC plenum cover according to the instructions found in your system's instruction manual. Once the cover is off, you'll be able to see the evaporator coil. In most cases, you might see a light coating of dust and/or debris on the coil. You can use a soft brush to carefully clean off the dust and debris.
If you're dealing with heavy debris buildup or you see signs of mold growth on the evaporator coil, you can take care of it using some household dish detergent and a soft brush. Add a few drops of dish detergent to a spray bottle full of warm water and gently shake it until it's adequately mixed together. Afterward, spray the solution onto the evaporator coil and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then you can use your brush to gently scrub away the mold and/or debris. Remember not to scrub the evaporator coil too hard, as you could potentially damage the aluminum fins lining the evaporator coil.
If you want a noncontact method of cleaning your evaporator coil, you can use a no-rinse foaming agent instead. All you have to do is spray the foaming agent on the evaporator coil according to the instructions listed on the spray can. The spray foam will break down all of the debris on the coil after a few minutes of contact and harmlessly drip off the coil afterwards.
Don't forget to drain and clean the condensate drip tray located below the evaporator coil after you're done cleaning the coil. You'll also want to make sure the drain pipe for the drip tray isn't blocked with debris.
Proactive Maintenance Tips
In most cases, your evaporator coil should only need cleaning once every few years, although periodic inspections should be performed to catch early signs of debris and mold buildup. Being proactive about keeping your evaporator coil clean can improve your AC system's overall health and performance.
Changing your air filter on a regular basis is one practice step you can take to keep your evaporator coil clean. Installing ultraviolet (UV) lamps near your evaporator coil can also help prevent mold spores and other organisms from growing on and around the coil. Last but not least, having your air ducts professionally cleaned on a regular basis can also help curtail dust and debris buildup on the evaporator coil and other parts of your AC system. For professional help with this issue, contact a service like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating.