Clean coils like an HVAC pro

Cleaning the coils on your HVAC system is a fairly easy way to save money and increase efficiency.

Quick test: How many coils do you have and where the heck are they?

Answer: Two.

The condenser coil is located in your outdoor unit. It releases excess heat outdoors.

The evaporator coil is part of the inside unit, which is also called the air handler. It absorbs heat and humidity from your home.

Clean these coils in the spring and in the fall and you will help your system last longer and work better – and keep a lid on your utility bills. (Turn off the system before you start cleaning.)


Condenser coil

Because it’s outdoors, the condenser coil attracts more debris and dirt, not to mention fallen leaves, overgrown vegetation and inquisitive animals, especially urinating dogs.

Wash the condenser with a light stream from a garden hose. Be careful not to bend the fins around the coil. (You can also reduce future dirt by keeping shrubs a good three feet from the unit.)


Evaporator coil

A couple inexpensive tools will help you clean the indoor evaporator coil.

Blow away the largest bits of dust and debris with a can of compressed air. Then use a soft brush to disperse any dirt still on the unit.

The next step is to wash the coil with a cleaner or with dish detergent and water. Gently spray away the suds and let everything dry. (You will avoid a mess if the water runs into the drip pan as designed.)

Take one more look to make sure you got all the dirt.


Too much work?

Most HVAC companies offer maintenance contracts that include regular cleaning of the coils and other components of your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

Premier HVAC is based in Brooklyn, N.Y.