Annual preventive air conditioning maintenance on your cooling system goes a long way toward preventing midsummer breakdowns during the long, hot summers. It can also lower your energy costs and extend the life of your system. When you schedule your tune-up, ask your technician about cleaning your A/C coils. Dirty coils can result in inefficient heat exchange, making your air conditioner work harder to compensate.
Two types of coils
Your air conditioner has two separate coils:
- The evaporator coil is located in your indoor unit and is responsible for extracting the heat from your home’s air.
- The condenser coil is located in your outdoor unit and is responsible for sending the heat outside.
Your technician will employ one of three methods for cleaning your coils, depending on how dirty they are:
- Lightly dirty coils are blown clean with low-pressure compressed air.
- Fairly dirty coils are scrubbed with water and mild detergent.
- Heavily-soiled coils are sprayed with a foam coil-cleaning solution that’s allowed to sit for a few minutes before rinsing. The foam may be applied several times to thoroughly clean the coils.
The condensate pan
Beneath your indoor evaporator coil is the condensate pan that catches water dripping from the coil. Due to constant moisture, the pan may become a breeding ground for mold, bacteria and other biological contaminants. The pan should be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a biocide to prevent the growth of these pollutants. Your condensate drain should also be flushed to prevent water from backing up and shutting down your system during periods of high humidity.
There are a couple of things you can do to help prevent your coils from becoming dirty:
- Keep the area around your indoor unit clean and free of dust.
- Hose down your outdoor unit every month to remove dirt and debris.