With this easy maintenance procedure, you may save money and extend the life of your air conditioner.

During the warmest days of the year, it’s probable that you rely heavily on an air conditioning unit—whether it’s chilling your room from a windowsill or cooling the entire house—without giving much thought to what makes it tick.

The magic happens in your AC condenser coils: In this case, the refrigerator unit in your go-to seasonal appliance absorbs heat to chill the air. As air flows over the cool refrigerant, it wicks the heat away in a method similar to how your forced air furnace works.

The cleaner the surface area of those coils, the more effectively the machine operates. Dust and grease that build over time may form a blanket over the coils, obstructing heat transfer and making your AC less efficient and more expensive, just like a blanket on your bed.

Fortunately, the most difficult part about cleaning air conditioner coils is remembering to do so at least once a year. The process takes less than half an hour, but you should plan on a full hour so you don’t feel rushed.

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How To Clean Air Conditioner Coils

Remove Your AC

Window air conditioners require access to the end that sticks out of the house in order to reach the coils; central air conditioners generally conceal the coils behind a detachable panel that must be unscrewed in order to proceed. If you’re unsure, consult your operator’s manual—the specifications diagram will show you exactly where the coils are and how to remove the lid if required. Remember: If in doubt, go with the manufacturer. They constructed it. They know how to disassemble it.

Inspect Coils

Inspect the coils visually for big material such as leaves, spider webs, or dirt clods. Remove these by hand, then use a coil brush to dust off the coils. This specialist cleaning equipment (also known as a dirt brush) is available at the largest box hardware stores and AC shops and has bristles that are roughly midway between the stiffness of a hand broom and a wire brush. To prevent bending the coils’ fins, gently move the brush parallel to them. This isn’t a deep clean; you’re only removing loose dust and hair.

Correct Bent Fibres

In Step 2, did you notice a lot of bent fins on your coils? (Hint: Bent fins reflect light and frequently give portions of the coils a brilliant shine.) If this is the case, straightening the fins using a fin brush ran gently and parallel to the line of the fins might help. This increases the exposed surface area of the coils, which improves the performance of your AC unit. If you don’t want to invest in specialist equipment like a fin brush (which can be obtained online for $15 or more), you may skip this step. Correcting bent fins goes above and beyond the work at hand—cleaning the coils—which will already increase the efficiency of your machine.

Rinse Coils

Spray the coils of any outside central air conditioning equipment with water from your garden hose. If your unit is inside, you may prevent a puddle beneath your window entirely by using a somewhat more expensive “no-rinse” coil cleaning and proceeding to Step 5.

Use Coil Cleaner

Shake the can of foaming coil cleaner—either the regular or no-rinse variety—and spray it straight into your coils, making sure that none are left uncovered. The cleaner should instantly froth, filling the air between coils where dirt builds until each area of your coils is concealed from view. The foaming action removes all of the dirt and filth that has become lodged between the fins. Allow the cleaner to soak for five to ten minutes, as directed on the container.


If the cleanser specifies, use your hose to rinse off the foamy cleaning. To fully rinse the cleaner away, you’ll need strong water pressure and slow, back-and-forth strokes. Indoor units that have been cleaned using a rinse-free cleaner just need to be turned on; the condensate will rinse away the cleaner on its own.

How To Clean Air Conditioner Coils Bottom Line

Though some dishonest AC repair firms may tell you that you require servicing two or three times a year, most experts believe that cleaning your coils once a year is a plenty. For optimal effects, do it in the spring, just before the summer heat forces your air conditioner to work overtime.

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