Cleaning coils of old carrier ac/furnace

Old 09-25-02, 06:37 AM
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Question Cleaning coils of old carrier ac/furnace

With the heat here in SoFla, the ac has been running a lot, but the bill seemed higher than normal so I called a repairman to take a look at it.

He says the coils are really dirty -- but says to clean them he needs to take out the freon cut open the plenum remove the coils give them an acid bath and then put it all together again, all for the 'reasonable' price of nearly $700!

The unit is probably as old as the house, maybe 20 yrs old -- and I can't see an access panel to the coils myself, (considering this came with a gas heater, would they still be just above the blower?)

So two questions, is that a fair price -- and is this something I could conceivably do myself? Not remove the coils to clean them -- but remove the plenum, spray with coil cleaner, etc. and then put it back together with metal tape???

Thanks in advance,

Old 09-25-02, 08:50 AM
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Hi Phil:

Broward County is home to me even though I'm not there now. A 20 year old coil is going to be pretty dirty. There's a couple reasons that the coil has to be removed for cleaning. Over time the dirt gets embedded into the depth of the coil and a surface cleaning is insufficient. The service guy has to warranty his work, so he has to do an effective cleaning job. I use chemical cleaners that foam and boil out the embedded dirt. I'm sure he'll do something similar. Also, you have to thoroughly rinse the coil to remove all the cleaner residue which takes a lot of water. The cleaning/rinsing would make a big mess in your house. The cooling coil should be above the furnace. You should be able to see the freon tubing going to the coil. A dirty coil can also cause the furnace to run too hot because of the reduced airflow. You try to open up the coil area but it's probably better left to a pro.
Old 09-25-02, 09:08 AM
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But is the $$$ worth it?

Thanks for the quick reply, the only concern I have though is that I don't have a spare $700 sitting around, and if I did would it be a better investment as a downpayment on a replacement unit?
Old 09-25-02, 10:32 AM
Jacque Schidt
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A 20 year old unit has lived longer than it was expected to when they built it. If you think a new unit can fit in your budget, you would be money to the good to get one.

Removing the refrigerant from your system is something you can't do yourself (thank your Uncle Sam) without violating federal and state laws. But, to address the crux of your question, you might call around and get some estimates for replacing the coil. I think you could get a new coil for about that price or close to it.

But, if it were me, I'd buy a new system.

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