Cleaning AC Coils: Reasons And Precautions

Posted on: 17 October 2019


Dirty air conditioner (AC) coils affect cooling efficiency, so you need to clean the coils regularly. Below are some of the specific reasons for cleaning the coils and the precautions to take during cleaning.

Reasons for Cleaning

Here are the major reasons for cleaning AC coils.

Maintain Energy Efficiency

The AC coils are responsible for heat exchange between the refrigerant and the air; they are the reasons your AC cools the house. When the coils are clogged with debris, however, the debris insulates the coils (and hence refrigerant) from the air. As a result, heat exchange is hampered, and the AC has to work extra hard to keep your home cool. The extended run times of the AC lead to increased energy consumption. Thus, keeping the coils clean is a way of maintaining energy efficiency.

Maintain Comfortable Temperatures

As mentioned above, dirty coils interfere with the heat exchange between the environment and the refrigerant. This heat exchange is necessary to keep your house clean. Thus, if the AC coils are dirty, the AC won't cool the air effectively, and your house might experience unsatisfactory or uneven cooling.

Reduce AC Malfunctions

The more your AC struggles to cool your home, the more it experiences wear and tear. The accelerated wear and tear will lead to constant AC malfunctions and even shorten your AC's lifetime. In the end, you will spend more money on the AC than you would have spent on regular coil cleaning.


Although you need to clean the coils regularly, the cleaning can go horribly wrong and damage the AC if you go about it the wrong way. Below are a few precautions to prevent that from happening.

Turn Off the AC

The AC runs on electricity, and electricity and water don't play well. You can easily damage the AC and experience an electrical shock if you clean the AC while it is switched on. Therefore, the first thing is to switch off the AC for the duration of the cleaning. This is why you need to schedule the cleaning for times of the year when you don't need the AC much.

Avoid Highly Acidic Cleaners

The AC coils are made of metal. Acid triggers metal corrosion. Therefore, avoid highly acidic cleaners since they might cause corrosion on the coils, and corrosion will lead to holes or cracks that can lead to refrigerant leakage.

Don't Use a Power Washer

The AC coils are relatively delicate and can easily be damaged by physical force. Therefore, don't use a power washer while cleaning the coils. Power washers have high pressure that can damage the coils.

Cleaning the coils is part of AC maintenance. Thus, you have nothing to worry about if you have contracted an air conditioning technician who regularly services your cooling system.