How to Clean AC Coils: Your Complete Guide

How to Clean AC Coils: Your Complete Guide

Staying cool during the summer months doesn’t always have to hurt your wallet. One of the best ways to keep your bill down is to conduct maintenance on your AC unit regularly throughout the year.

However, hiring a professional to conduct routine cleaning can also cost a pretty penny. Luckily you can learn to do some of this maintenance yourself to avoid paying steep labor costs.

And while a professional technician is worth it, knowing how to clean AC coils yourself can be just as effective. Want to learn how to conduct this routine maintenance yourself?

Check out this complete guide to learn how to clean your AC coils. 

How To Clean AC Coils

Your AC coils should be cleaned as needed as a regular part of your HVAC system maintenance. Depending on how prone your coils are to dirt and debris build-up, you may need to clean them monthly or around every three months.

Whether you decide to hire a professional or conduct this cleaning yourself is up to you. Either way, it’s important to understand the basics of how the cleaning process works so that if you do decide to hire a professional you can ask the right questions. 

Getting To The Coils

The first step in the cleaning process is locating the coils. Your system will have two coils, one indoor evaporating coil, and one outdoor condensing coil.

The indoor coil should be located on your handling unit and have a removable access panel. If you can’t find this coil, locate it using the owner's manual.

The outdoor coil usually acts as the walls to the unit and wraps around the interior parts. You may have to remove some metal caging in order to gain full access. Make sure you turn your AC unit off completely before beginning to access the coils. 


You can clean the coils using a few different methods depending on how dirty they are.

Compressed air is great for light dirt and debris. You’ll want to direct the air in the opposite way of the airflow across the coil to knock everything loose. Avoid blowing the dirt and debris into the ductwork when using this method.

You can also use commercial cleaners that are designed to clean coils. Consult with your local HVAC contractors and see which cleaner they suggested for your system.

You’ll want to follow the instructions closely that are listed on the product of your purchase. This cleaner will be sprayed onto the coils as directed and given time to foam and drain out of the coils. You’ll repeat this process until the coils are clean.

You can also opt to use a mild detergent and water instead of purchasing a commercial cleaner. To do this you’ll mix some warm water and detergent into a spray bottle and apply it to the coils.

Wait a few minutes to allow the solution to soak in and move out the debris. Wipe away the loosened debris and repeat as needed. 

AC Coil Cleaning Options

As a homeowner, it's great to know how to clean the AC coils. You can do so by using the above-listed methods or by choosing to hire a trusted professional.

For all your AC maintenance and repair needs, contact us