You’ll Want Clean A/C Coils this Summer

You'll Want Clean A/C Coils this SummerIn the summer, few things are more infuriating than an air conditioning system that’s cooling your home inadequately or not working at all. You can avoid such inconveniences by performing some maintenance tasks, such as cleaning your air conditioning coils. Clean A/C coils can make a significant difference in your system’s performance.

Why are Clean A/C Coils Important?

Your air conditioner has evaporator and condenser coils that absorb indoor heat and release it outdoors. Dirt buildup on the coils prevents the proper movement of heat through them.

Dirty coils use more energy than clean coils. They also lower your A/C system’s cooling capacity. This is because the dirt causes an increase in pressure and operating temperatures within the system. Eventually, the conditions break down the compressor’s lubricant, resulting in equipment failure.

How to Clean A/C Coils

You’ll need a 4-in-1 screwdriver, garden hose with a spray nozzle, shop vacuum, funnel, whisk broom and safety glasses.

To clean the condenser coils:

  • Start by shutting off the power to your air conditioner.
  • Remove the compressor case and gently vacuum the metal fins.
  • Remove the top grille and carefully support it without overstretching the electrical wires.
  • Gently clean the surface of the coils with a whisk broom. Remove trapped dirt from the coils using a hose with a spray nozzle. Be careful not to flood the area, bend the delicate metal fins, or spray water on the fan motor and electrical components. Cover them with a plastic bag.
  • Inspect the coils for damages before reassembling the unit.

To clean the evaporator coils:

  • Start by turning off the power to the indoor A/C unit and replace its filter if it’s dirty to prevent the dust from accumulating on the coil fins.
  • Vacuum any dust in the blower compartment.
  • Unclog your condensation drain by pouring a bleach solution through its tube.

To ensure the job is done correctly and safely, call an HVAC pro. For more information on maintaining clean A/C coils, please contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “GSPhotography/Shutterstock”


  • I have been using my AC a lot this summer so far. I had it checked a while ago to make sure that it would work great this year. I did not know that you could clean the coils yourself because I thought you had to get someone do it.

  • How do I locate the coils to clean them? All I know is our air handler is directly above our only bathtub. I’m sure the unit hasn’t been cleaned in decades due to the inconvenient location.

  • Thank you for the tips. I get what you said about the dirty coils using more energy than normal. Before I got mine cleaned my energy bill was climbing through the roof! My neighbor has been having similar troubles, I am going to show this to them and hopefully they can get some help from their HVAC service. Thanks again for the insights!

    • Thanks for the feedback!

  • It didn’t occur to me that it’s so important to clean out the coils in your AC unit regularly. As you say, though, dirt build up could prevent proper movement of heat through them and make the machine run a lot less efficiently than you want! Thus, taking the time to clean these out will not only help you have a working AC unit, but it will help you to save money in the long run since it will work effectively and efficiently. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you for the terrific post

    • Thanks! Keep reading!


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