How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils? A NJ Tech Explains | Air Experts

How To Clean AC Evaporator Coils? A NJ Tech Explains

f you’ve read online or been told by an HVAC tech that you need to have your evaporator coils cleaned, you’re probably wondering how you can complete this task yourself. The bottom line is, when it comes to cleaning your evaporator coils, we can only recommend that you hire a pro. 

Evaporator coils are very delicate and very important to your AC system, and attempting to clean them on your own is not only difficult but could result in a seriously expensive repair or replacement. 

We know that’s not all of the information you were looking for, so below, we’ll dive into:

  • What an evaporator coil is 
  • How an evaporator coil can get dirty 
  • Why you shouldn’t clean your evaporator coil yourself
  • What you can do to prevent a dirty evaporator coil in the future

What is an evaporator coil?

An evaporator coil is part of your AC system that sits in your indoor air handler. The evaporator coil’s job is to strip heat and moisture from air as it passes over the coils.

Most people think that AC systems produce cool air, but they actually cool your home by stripping your home’s existing air of heat.  Air is blown over the evaporator coil, that air is stripped of heat and humidity (turning it into cooler, dryer air), and then it’s blown back into your home. 

How can my evaporator coil get dirty?

Now that you know what an evaporator coil is and how it works, you’re probably wondering, “How can an evaporator coil get dirty?”   

Well, your evaporator coil has a steady flow of air being blown over it, and as you are probably aware, your home’s air contains a variety of microorganisms like dust particles, debris, lint, hair, bacteria, etc. 

Your AC system has an air filter, which is put in place to catch a lot of these particles before they enter your AC system. However, over time, small particles can squeeze past your air filter and make their way to your evaporator coil, coating it in a thin layer of dust/debris.

Why do I need to have my evaporator coil cleaned? 

As we mentioned above, your evaporator coil absorbs heat and moisture, like a sponge. If your evaporator coil is dirty, the refrigerant is not able to absorb heat as easily. 

This means less heat will be absorbed per cooling cycle, and you’ll probably notice a few things like:

  • Warmer air coming from your AC vents
  • Higher energy bills 
  • AC running more often than normal 

Why can’t I clean my evaporator coil myself?

There are a few reasons you need a professional to clean your evaporator coil:

  1. The evaporator coil is an important part of your AC– Unlike a more minor part of your AC system that can be inexpensively repaired or replaced, your evaporator coil is one of the most important (and expensive) parts of your AC system. Paying for a professional to clean your evaporator coil is much less expensive than potentially repairing or replacing your evaporator coil if it becomes damaged while you are trying to clean the coil yourself. 
  2. The evaporator coil is delicate– The evaporator coil is made up of many delicate copper lines that can become easily damaged if they are not handled properly. It’s important to leave any kind of cleaning to a professional who is trained to properly clean this specific AC part.
  3. The evaporator coil is hard to access– Your evaporator coil is inside your indoor AC unit, which is typically difficult to access. Unlike some parts of the outdoor unit or the air filter which are accessible, your indoor AC unit is usually located in a small space (attic, basement, closet), and is difficult to disassemble and reassemble correctly. Techs have years of experience taking apart and putting ACs back together, so this is a job best left to a trained pro. 

What you can do to keep your evaporator coil clean in the future

The two best ways to keep your evaporator coil clean in the future are to:

  • Replace your air filter regularly– On average, you should be replacing your AC filter about every 1-3 months. If you’re not replacing your air filter often enough, it will become bogged down by dust and debris, allowing particles to enter your AC system and settle on your evaporator coil.

Example of a dirty air filter​

  • Schedule annual maintenance with a professional– Annual maintenance helps prevent parts of your AC from breaking down or becoming so dirty that they cause your AC to run inefficiently. During annual maintenance, a pro should check your evaporator coil and let you know if it needs to be cleaned before it becomes an issue.

Ready to have your evaporator coil cleaned? Hire Air Experts

If you have a dirty evaporator coil, we’d be happy to clean it for you. We have over 26 years of experience helping New Jersey homeowners with their HVAC systems, so if you hire us, you can trust that we will thoroughly and safely clean your evaporator coil.

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