Your HVAC system may not be working properly because of a clogged evaporator coil. Located deep inside the central air conditioner or heat pump, the evaporator coil usually gets clogged with dirt, debris and dust over time. Algae, mildew and mold can also grow over the coil, forcing the HVAC system to work harder. The following three simple and effective ways to clean the coil will help you do the maintenance by yourself.
Use of compressed air
You can either use a can of compressed air or an air compressor machine to remove the bits of dirt and debris on the coil. Remember to keep the nozzle at least two inches away from the surface of the coil to avoid too much pressure that may bend the coil fins. However, this process can be quite messy because of flying dust and dirt all over the place. To avoid this, you may use the hose of your vacuum cleaner simultaneously to suck in the flying dust and dirt.
Soap, water and elbow grease
All you need is some mild dishwashing detergent, white vinegar, water, spray bottles and a soft brush. To start with, add any good dish soap to some water in a spray bottle and spray generously onto the coil. Allow it to sit some two minutes before brushing and scrubbing away all the dirt and debris. You may have to insist on the stubborn areas until they become loose. Afterward, fill another spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar, which will disinfect and disrupt mold and bacteria. Allow the solution to sit for some five minutes and then wash the soap off with water from a hose.
Advanced foam cleaner
If there is a heavy buildup of algae, mold or mildew, you will need an advanced foaming solution that’s commonly used for HVAC systems. The solution is usually available in your local hardware store. Just spray the foam all over the coil and let it sit. The foam will dissolve the dirt and debris and when it’s all dissolved, the solution will break down and drain away from the coil. If you see that there is still some persistent dirt, repeat the same process until all traces of dirt disappear.
These cleaning tips are highly effective. However, if you still can’t get rid of dirt on your evaporator coil, you will need to call a professional.