Don't Let Dirty Coils Foil Your AC Efficiency

Entropy is the word for the way that nothing seems to last, which perfectly describes the way your AC unit will never be more efficient than the day it is installed. Mother nature will attack your unit from outside and the unit will wear on itself the more it has to run. Because your condenser coils are located on the outside of your house, they are especially susceptible to damage. To keep your unit running as efficiently as possible, inspect your coils regularly and clean them as necessary. 

What to Look for

All kinds of debris can get stuck in the fins that make up your AC coils. For starters, you should look for dust that has built up on your coils. As the rain and sprinklers dump water on your unit, dust can get stuck in the water and build up a layer of grime that can eventually close off the gaps between the fins. You should also look for leaves, lawn clippings, trash, dandelion fluff, insect carcasses, and other layers of built-up debris. 

What to Do

The more debris you have built up on your coils, the more it will cut of the flow of air through the coils, which in turn will rob your unit of its efficiency. In fact, dirty coils can decrease your overall system efficiency by up to 30%. To regain your efficiency, you will need to clean your coils in this way:

1. Use a wet/dry vac to suck up loose debris. 

2. Spray on a coil cleaner. The cleaner will need to sit on your coils for at least five minutes to give the solvents in the cleaner time to dissolve and break up the built-up grime on your coils. 

3. Scrub your coils clean with a stiff-bristle brush. 

5. Gently rinse your coils with a stream of water from your hose. Do not use a pressure washer as the jet of water from the machine could bend your fins. 

6. If you have bent fins, use a fin comb to straighten them out. 

Something as seemingly insignificant as dirty coils can have a huge effect on how efficient your system is. Dirty coils make your system take longer to cool down your house, so you not only decrease the efficiency of your system, but you increase the wear it incurs. Thus, if you want to prevent premature repairs and high utility costs, you will take proper care of your AC coils and perform regular air conditioning service.