How to Clean a Clogged Evaporator on a Central AC


You need to clean the coils on the evaporator of your central air conditioning unit when they have become clogged. This can cause a decrease in the amount of cold air and make the air conditioning unit work harder to cool your home. Central air conditioning units are installed outside, which means they are always exposed to the elements. Typically, dirt and debris accumulate on the evaporator coils, which you should clean at least once a year.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Air compressor
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Spray nozzle
  • Garden hose
  • Detergent and sprayer

Access the Coils

  • Turn off the breaker for the air conditioning unit at the circuit panel.

  • Locate the access panel on the outside air conditioning unit. Remove the screws that are used to secure the panel, using the screwdriver. Take the panel off and set it aside.

  • Examine the coils to see if they are dirty. Dirty coils will need to be cleaned to allow proper air flow in the system.

Clean the Coils

  • Blow air from an air compressor from the cleaner side of the coils to the dirty side. This is the opposite direction of the air flow. Blow straight through the coil fins to prevent bending the fins.

  • Remove small amounts of dirt and debris from the coils by using a soft-bristle brush. Lightly scrub on the coils to remove the dirt and debris.

  • Connect a spray nozzle to the end of a garden hose and spray down the coil fins. Apply detergent from the sprayer to the coils and let it set for about 15 minutes. Rinse the detergent off of the coil fins.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a shop vac to clean any debris and to reduce the amount of flying dust. .

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