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How to Clean Your AC Coils

There are two sets of coils in your AC system. One set is part of the evaporator, and the other is part of the condenser. Both need to be clean for your system to maintain its energy efficiency and prevent breakdowns.

In this article, we'll discuss how to gently clean AC coils without damaging your system, both inside and outside the house. This guide covers:

While it's not difficult to learn how to clean condenser or evaporator coils, it can be a time-consuming process. If you don't have time to clean your air conditioner before summer, don't worry. Schedule a professional AC tune-up with Advantage Air Mechanical, and we’ll clean your coils during the service visit.

Schedule an AC tune-up with Tucson’s most trusted HVAC pros today!

The honest and highly trained technicians at Advantage Air Mechanical have proudly served Tucson home and business owners with expert AC maintenance services for 30+ years. Contact us today to book an AC tune-up and enjoy fast, convenient scheduling and honest, upfront pricing.

Safety Precautions

Before starting any maintenance on your air conditioner, it's crucial to turn off the power at the circuit breaker to ensure safety. Always wear protective gear, as evaporator coils can be razor-sharp, protecting your hands during cleaning. Use cleaning solutions specifically designed for HVAC systems; some options are no-rinse, which can speed up the process. Additionally, always refer to the owner's manual for your specific model to follow the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring you don’t damage the coils while cleaning.

Tools and Materials Needed

The following tools and materials are recommended for cleaning AC coils.

Protective Gear:

  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Mask


  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Fin comb
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Water hose
  • Bucket or container
  • Drop cloth or tarp
  • Ladder (if needed)
  • Coil cleaner

How to Clean Your AC’s Condenser Coils

Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning both condenser and evaporator coils:

  • Turn Off the Power: Safety first! Always turn off the power to the unit at both the thermostat and the breaker.
  • Access the Coils: Remove the access panel on your outdoor unit to expose the coils. For indoor units, you may need to open the front panel or remove other housing parts.
  • Inspect the Coils: Before you start cleaning, inspect the coils for any large debris, such as leaves or dirt clumps, and remove them by hand.
  • Use a Soft Brush: Gently brush the coils with a soft brush to remove loose dirt and debris. Be careful not to bend or damage the delicate fins.
  • Apply Coil Cleaner: Spray a commercial coil cleaner onto the coils. Follow the instructions on the cleaner for the best results. These cleaners are formulated to dissolve dirt and debris without the need for heavy scrubbing.
  • Rinse the Coils: If your cleaner requires rinsing (check the product instructions), gently rinse the coils with water using a low-pressure hose. Avoid using a high-pressure hose, which can bend the fins.
  • Straighten the Fins: If any fins are bent, carefully straighten them using a fin comb. This helps to restore airflow through the coils.
  • Dry and Reassemble: Allow the coils to dry completely. Once dry, replace any panels or parts you removed and secure them back in place.
  • Restore Power and Test: Turn the power back on and run the system to check that everything is functioning correctly.

If you're not comfortable performing this maintenance yourself, it's a good idea to hire a professional to ensure it's done correctly.

The Benefits of Professional AC Maintenance

Professional AC maintenance offers numerous benefits, not least of which is the expert cleaning of your system's coils—a crucial part of ensuring your air conditioner operates efficiently and effectively. During a professional maintenance visit, trained technicians thoroughly clean the coils, removing any buildup of dirt, debris, and other contaminants that can impede airflow and reduce efficiency. This meticulous cleaning not only enhances the overall performance of your AC unit but also helps extend its lifespan by preventing overworking and potential damage. Furthermore, regular professional maintenance can help identify and address other potential issues early on, saving you from costly repairs and downtime while ensuring your home remains comfortable year-round.

Don't let dirty coils damage your AC. Book an AC tune-up today!

With a quick call or visit to the Advantage Air Mechanical website, we can schedule you for a thorough AC tune-up at a convenient time. Our technicians aren't paid on commission, so we'll never try to upsell you on unnecessary repairs.