A dirty evaporator coil can do a number on your air conditioner's ability to keep your home cool and comfortable. To keep your air conditioner in the best possible shape, it's important to check and clean your evaporator coil on a regular basis. The following explains exactly how a dirty coil can impact your air conditioner, as well as how to successfully clean your coil.
How a Dirty Evaporator Affects Cooling
The evaporator coil plays a crucial role in helping your air conditioner keep your home cool. As indoor air passes through the evaporator coil, the refrigerant-filled coil absorbs the latent heat within the passing air. This effectively lowers the temperature of the passing air before it's distributed throughout your home via the ductwork. Meanwhile, the latent heat absorbed by the refrigerant within the evaporator coil is later released as the refrigerant passes through the condenser coil.
This process is only sustainable as long as the evaporator coil is kept free of dust, debris, and other obstructions that could impact its performance. Over time, however, the evaporator coil may collect dust and debris from passing air. The dark and damp confines of the evaporator coil's location can also spur mildew and algae growth on the coil, which also prevents the coil from working properly.
How to Use Common Cleaning Methods
There are three ways you can clean your evaporator coil, depending on the severity of the debris buildup:
- If there's only a light coating of dust and debris on the evaporator coil, you can use a can of compressed air to blow away the buildup. If you have a vacuum with a soft-bristle hose attachment available, you can use it to safely remove dust and dirt.
- For heavier debris buildup, you can add a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent to a spray bottle filled with warm water and use this to clean the evaporator coil. Spray the solution generously onto the coil and use a soft-bristle brush to carefully scrub the coil clean.
- For stubborn debris buildup, you should use a foaming rinse-free cleaner that's specifically formulated for use on evaporator coils. Spray the contents of the cleaner onto the coil per the cleaner's instructions and wait for the foam to work through the debris. As the foam dissipates and drains away, it'll also carry away the broken-down debris.
In addition to cleaning the evaporator coil, it's also good idea to check and clean the condensate drip tray as well as the condensate drain line. Doing so will prevent clogs from forming and protect against future algae and mildew growth.
For more information, contact local professionals like Rizzo Heating & Air Conditioning.