How to keep AC evaporator and condenser coils clean

Published by Parisa Ostovari

ac vents

The evaporator coil and condenser coil in your HVAC system play an important role in your air conditioner’s cooling process. Because these are two key components of your AC, we wanted to share what each coil does, what happens to your AC when the coils are dirty and how to keep them clean. 

What is an AC evaporator coil?
The evaporator coil is located inside the air handler or attached to the furnace. It’s the part of an air conditioner that absorbs the heat from the air in your house. As air passes over the coil, the refrigerant removes the heat and then passes the warmed refrigerant to the condenser coil outdoors. 

What is an AC condenser coil?
The outdoor condenser coil is where the compressed refrigerant is cooled off into a liquid by the outdoor fan. The liquid then flows to the evaporator where it turns into a vapor. Once the refrigerant has been turned into a vapor the cooled air is pushed through the ventilation system back into your home. This process of the refrigerant changing from a liquid to a vapor is where the cooling effect originates from. 

What happens if AC coils are dirty?
If the evaporator coil and condenser coil are not cleaned regularly, your home will not cool properly. When dirt builds up on either of these coils, it makes it harder for your air conditioner to perform the refrigerant cooling process. 

When your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home, it also has to use more energy. As a result, you could see an increase in your summer energy bills. 

Another possible side effect – and worst case scenario – of your AC having to work harder is that your system might break down. This is especially likely during periods of extreme heat and humidity – which are all-too common in Iowa. Keeping the evaporator and condenser coils clean will help protect your AC from an unexpected breakdown. 

How to clean evaporator and condenser coils
The best way to keep the coils in your HVAC system clean is to schedule regular preventative maintenance. When one of our service technicians comes to your home to clean and inspect your HVAC system, they will also inspect and clean the evaporator and condenser coils. These coils are hard to access, so cleaning them is a job that should be handled by a trained service technician. 

However, there are a few things you can do to protect the evaporator and condenser coils inside your system. First, keep a clean air filter in your furnace by changing it once a month. Second, make sure your outdoor AC unit is free of debris like grass clippings, sticks and leaves. 

If you have additional questions about maintaining evaporator or condenser coils, or if you’d like to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance, contact us online or give us a call at 515.244.8911.