How to Straighten Out Fins on an HVAC Unit

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Bent fins on an air conditioning coil can significantly increase your cooling costs. The reason for this is when the fins are bent, air cannot flow through the coil as efficiently. If the fins are bent severely enough, all airflow can be blocked. A device called a fin comb can successfully straighten out fins on a HVAC unit coil. Once you have familiarized yourself with this tool, it is extremely easy to comb the fins of your air conditioning coil.

Things You'll Need

  • Fin comb
  • Vacuum
  • Garden hose and water
  • Cordless drill
  • Access your air conditioning unit coil by removing the exterior guard. Usually it is fastened with a few screws on the top and bottom. Once you remove these, the guard should come right off.

  • Place the fin comb at the top of the air conditioning coil. Slowly work it down in a vertical motion. When you encounter a bent area, the fin comb should slowly work these fins straight. Since air conditioning coils are made of aluminum, the fins bend real easy. This aids in the ability to re-straighten the fins, but too aggressive of combing can also damage them further.

  • Continue to comb the fins section by section until the fins have been straightened out. You may notice extra dirt has accumulated in the coil once the fins are straight.

  • Take a vacuum and vacuum out all the loose dirt particles between the coil fins. Be gentle to ensure you don't bend more fins.

  • Using a garden hose and a gentle spray of water, wash the coil to remove any excess dirt that the vacuum cleaner couldn't suck out.

  • Replace the exterior guard. Now your air conditioning is restored to its maximum energy efficiency.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you live in an area prone to hail, a hail guard might be a good investment to put around your air conditioning coil. This will save you a possible future coil replacement due to severe hail damage.
  • Wear gloves when combing out fins of air conditioning coils. The fins are thin and extremely sharp. They can cause severe cuts very easily.

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