Can I clean AC coils myself?

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When the harsh summer sun beats down in Australia, it’s great knowing the air conditioner faithfully hums, keeping your home a cool oasis. But behind the scenes, a hidden battle wages. Dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on the air conditioner’s coils, causing it to function inefficiently. This raises the question of whether you should clean your AC coils or call in the professionals.

The Inside Story: Unveiling the Coils

Before diving in, let’s understand the functionality of the coils. Your AC unit has two sets of coils: the evaporator coils and the condenser coils. The evaporator coils are located indoors behind a removable panel and absorb heat from the warm air circulating through your home. 

The condenser coils, usually found outside, reject the heat from going into the outdoor environment. Both sets of coils are crucial for optimal performance.

DIY Cleaning: Taking Matters into Your Own Hands

Cleaning the evaporator coils might be a tempting DIY project for the handy homeowner. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

1. Accessing the Coils

The first hurdle is locating the evaporator coils. Consult your aircon unit’s manual to identify the access panel, which is usually on the indoor unit. Turn off the thermostat and, for extra caution, turn off the circuit breaker before proceeding. Carefully remove the screws or fasteners and set them aside to avoid losing them in the cleaning frenzy.

2. Choosing Your Approach

There are multiple approaches to cleaning the evaporator coils. Compressed air is a popular choice for light dust build-up. Blast the air in the opposite direction of the normal airflow, dislodging dirt particles. Wear eye protection and use a shop vacuum to capture the dislodged debris.

Soft Touch with a Brush

A soft brush can help you clean your coils. It offers more control than compressed air, allowing you to focus where you wish to clean. Gently sweep away dirt, avoiding harsh scrubbing that could damage the delicate coil fins. Opt for a soft-bristled brush – metal or wire brushes are a big no-no!

Chemicals (Use with Caution)

Commercial coil cleaners offer a powerful option for stubborn grime. Choose a reputable brand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions meticulously. Once the cleaner is applied, let it sit to dissolve the dirt and debris. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to ensure no residue remains.

The Natural Alternative

A mild detergent solution can be equally effective for an eco-friendly approach. Mix warm water with a gentle dish soap and spray it on the coils. Let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the dirt, then use a soft brush and a damp cloth to wipe it away. Rinse the coils with clean water and dry them completely before reinstalling the access panel.

When DIY Becomes Risky 

Cleaning heavily clogged coils often requires heavy-duty cleaning chemicals and equipment like steam cleaners or pressure washers. These methods require expertise and, if not completed carefully, can damage the coils or refrigerant lines. Additionally, removing the coils for a deeper clean might be beyond the scope of a DIY project.

When to Seek Professional Help From Pristine Aircon Cleaning

If your AC coils are excessively dirty, exhibit signs of damage, or require complex disassembly for cleaning, it’s time to call in the professionals for aircon cleaning. A qualified HVAC technician possesses the expertise, training, and specialised equipment to safely and effectively clean your AC coils.

Beyond Cleaning: The Benefits of Professional Service

Professional technicians go beyond cleaning the coils. They can also perform other services including the following:

  • Comprehensive AC inspection.
  • Identify potential issues like refrigerant leaks or malfunctioning components. 
  • Early detection can prevent costly repairs.
  • Ensure your AC system operates at peak efficiency.

The Choice is Yours: Weighing the Options

The decision to clean your AC coils yourself or call in a professional depends on your comfort level, the severity of the coil condition, and your DIY skillset. A DIY approach may be suitable for basic cleaning of lightly soiled coils. However, professional service is the safer and more efficient option for heavily clogged coils, complex cleaning procedures, or any concerns about damaging your AC system.

Investing in Cool Comfort: The Takeaway

Regular cleaning of your AC coils is vital for maintaining optimal performance, extended lifespan, and lower energy bills. Whether you choose the DIY route or trust the expertise of a professional, remember that a clean AC system translates into a cool, comfortable, and energy-efficient home environment. 

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