How to Clean AC Coils

Step 1. Turn off the power to the condensing unit (or window unit) and shut off the AC via the thermostat (if applicable).

This process is a bit trickier if you have central air conditioning. You need to pull out the fuses or stab connection through the disconnect, which should be mounted on the house near the condensing unit. You should be able to remove the terminal simply by pulling on the handle. Be aware that power will still be flowing into the disconnect, just not to the unit.

If you cannot locate a disconnect, go to your breaker panel — where you should find a breaker specific to the AC — and cut the power there. If you do that, you will be removing power from the disconnect in addition to the unit.


Step 2. Access the coils.

If you have central air, you will access the coils by taking the screws out of a removable panel. If you are servicing a window unit, you will get to the coils through the end that extends out from your home.

If you are unsure how to get inside the AC, look at your owner’s manual. It will provide diagrams showing you the location of the coils and how to access them. The manufacturer’s guidance should be extremely helpful in this step.

Note that accessing your evaporator coils is typically not as easy as accessing the condenser coils, even if you do need help from a 24-hr. AC repair service to clean them, you can take preventive steps to keep them from getting dirty.

Step 3. Visually inspect the coils and remove debris.

This step is also typically a bit more intensive with central AC since the unit is on or very close to the ground. A broom or brush can be used to remove larger debris, but you will need to be cautious since it is easy to bend the fins. Grass clipping, leaves, and other detritus should be removed from the louvers and fins. Also, look for weeds or other vegetation that might be growing into the coils’ space.

It is important to know how to clean AC coils without damaging your unit. Once larger debris is out of the way, you can do the more delicate work with the fin comb. With the comb, remove wet debris or dirt from between the coils. Also, straighten any fins that are bent. Wiggle your way through carefully. Do not force your way through any resistant areas.

Step 1. Turn off the power to the condensing unit (or window unit) and shut off the AC via the thermostat (if applicable). This process is a bit trickier if you have central air conditioning. You need to pull out the fuses or stab connection through the disconnect, which should be mounted on the house…