How to Clean Air Conditioner Coils

Properly taking care of your air conditioner coils increases the air conditioners usefulness and life expectancy.  Getting down the gritty details of cleaning your air conditioner might not be as difficult as you might think. Much of it is routine maintenance you would be doing in part anyway, and a few cleaning tips you can easily master will help the chore even easier.

You Will Need a Few Items

  • Coil cleaner (this can be found in most hardware stores)
  • Compressed air in a can
  • Small cleaning brush
  • Screw driver
  • Routine maintenance

Step 1 – Remove Debris and Trash

In the area of the yard around the air conditioners housing, make sure there are no debris or excess dirt.  If the air conditioner sits at the corner, especially there will be a collection of dead leaves, broken branches and other similar trash that should be picked up on a routine basis as it can clog up and cause problems with the air conditioner.  It can also make the area look more inviting to small wildlife like snakes or mice. These tiny pests can make a mess and chew on wires if they try to make a home in the air conditioning housing.  Snakes in cold weather will look for someplace warm and dry to curl up so if you live in an area where these reptiles are known to inhabit keep an eye out for them.

Step 2 – Turn Off the Power

Before going out to clean the coils, turn off the thermostat.  Wait a few minutes to make sure it cycles down then turn off the power from the main switch outside.  This will keep you from getting a very nasty shock if you accidentally touch anything.  Powerful voltage surges through the machine and you don’t need to experience anything other than cool, crisp air.  Give the electric current a few minutes to dissipate before removing the housing.

Step 3 – Remove the Housing

To remove the housing start by using the screwdriver to take out the screws being careful to put them in a container or bag so as not to lose them then carefully lift the grill off and set it aside.  

Step 4 – Blow Out the Coils

Locate the air conditioner coils. One of the reasons you should never use a hose to clean the grill will become apparent the second you see the coils.  It is natural for dust and dirt to accumulate on them, and if they get wet from the hose water you have a cloggy, messy hard to remove crusty crud all over the coils.  Holding something over your nose use the compressed air to carefully blast and blow out the dust and dirt then use the small brush to really clean them out as best you can.  You might have to give more than a few blasts of air followed by scrubbing to really clean them if they have not been maintained well.

Step 5 – Finish Up

Use the coil cleaner on the now dust free coils to make them more resistant to taking on more dust or grime.  
Remember to put everything back as it was and then turn the power back on.  Wait a few minutes then turn the thermostat back on as well.