Air conditioning units work by removing heat and humidity from the air, and AC coils play a crucial role in this process. Over time, dirt, dust, and other debris can build up on these coils, reducing their ability to transfer heat effectively. This can lead to decreased efficiency, higher energy bills, and even equipment failure. Therefore, it is essential to clean AC coils regularly to maintain their efficiency and prolong the life of your air conditioning unit. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean your AC coils and offer tips on how to maintain them to ensure optimal performance. By following these simple steps, you can save money on your energy bills, avoid costly repairs, and enjoy a comfortable and cool home or office.

Tools and Supplies

To clean your AC coils, you’ll need a few tools and supplies. Here is a list of the required tools and recommended cleaning supplies:

Required Tools:

  • Screwdriver or hex driver
  • Fin comb
  • Vacuum cleaner with a soft-brush attachment
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Mask or respirator

Recommended Cleaning Supplies:

  • Coil cleaner solution (available at most hardware stores)
  • Water source (garden hose or bucket of water)
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristled brush (like a paintbrush or toothbrush)
  • Microfiber cloths or rags

Make sure to have all the necessary tools and supplies on hand before starting the cleaning process. It’s also essential to wear gloves, safety goggles, and a mask or respirator to protect yourself from any cleaning solution or debris that may be released during the cleaning process.

Preparing to Clean AC Coils

Before you start cleaning your AC coils, you need to prepare the unit to ensure safety and easy access to the coils. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Turn off the power – Before doing anything else, turn off the power to your air conditioning unit. This will prevent any electrical shocks or damage to the unit during the cleaning process.
  2. Remove any debris – Use a soft-bristled brush or vacuum with a soft-brush attachment to remove any visible debris from the exterior of the unit, including the fan blades, grill, and housing.
  3. Access the coils – Depending on your AC unit, you may need to remove a few screws or bolts to access the coils. Use a screwdriver or hex driver to remove any fasteners, and then gently lift the panel to expose the coils.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to begin cleaning your AC coils.

Cleaning the AC Coils

Now that you have prepared your AC unit, you can start cleaning the coils. Follow these steps to effectively clean your AC coils:

  1. Apply the cleaning solution – Spray the coil cleaner solution on the coils, making sure to cover them completely. The cleaner will loosen and dissolve any dirt, dust, and debris that have accumulated on the coils.
  2. Wait and rinse – Let the solution sit on the coils for the time recommended by the manufacturer. This will usually be between 5 to 10 minutes. After the waiting period, use a garden hose or a bucket of water to rinse the coils thoroughly.
  3. Repeat if necessary – If there is still visible debris or dirt on the coils, repeat the cleaning process until the coils are clean.

It is essential to use a soft-bristled brush or fin comb to gently remove any stubborn debris that may be stuck to the coils. Be careful not to damage the delicate fins or tubing on the coils.

  1. Dry the coils – After cleaning the coils, use a microfiber cloth or rag to dry them thoroughly. Make sure the coils are completely dry before reassembling the unit.

Once you have completed these steps, you can reassemble the AC unit and turn on the power. You should notice an immediate improvement in the performance and efficiency of your air conditioning unit.

Reassembling the AC Unit

After cleaning the AC coils, it’s important to properly reassemble the unit before turning on the power. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Let the coils dry – Before reassembling the unit, make sure the coils are completely dry. This will prevent any moisture from getting inside the unit, which can cause damage or corrosion.
  2. Reassemble the unit – Replace any screws, bolts, or fasteners you removed to access the coils. Make sure the panels are securely in place and the grill is properly attached.
  3. Turn on the power – Once you have reassembled the unit, turn on the power and test the air conditioning system to ensure it’s working correctly.

By following these steps, you can ensure your air conditioning unit is safe and functioning properly. It’s important to check the system for any unusual noises or odours, which can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your AC coils can extend the life of your air conditioning unit and help prevent costly repairs in the future.

Tips for Maintaining AC Coils

Regular maintenance of your air conditioning coils can help prevent the buildup of dirt and debris and prolong the life of your unit. Here are some tips for maintaining your AC coils:

  1. Change your air filter regularly – A clogged air filter can reduce the airflow to your AC unit and cause dirt and debris to accumulate on the coils. Make sure to change your air filter at least every 90 days, or more frequently if you have pets or allergies.
  2. Keep the area around the unit clean – Make sure the area around your AC unit is free of debris, leaves, and other materials that can obstruct airflow and cause dirt and debris to accumulate on the coils.
  3. Check for leaks – Look for any signs of refrigerant leaks, such as ice buildup on the coils, reduced cooling capacity, or a hissing sound coming from the unit. If you suspect a leak, call a professional HVAC technician to repair it.
  4. Schedule regular maintenance – Have your AC unit serviced by a professional HVAC technician at least once a year. A technician can clean and inspect your coils, check the refrigerant levels, and identify any potential problems before they become serious.

By following these tips, you can help ensure the proper functioning and efficiency of your air conditioning unit and extend its lifespan.


Cleaning your AC coils is an essential maintenance task that can help improve the efficiency and lifespan of your air conditioning unit. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively clean your AC coils and reassemble the unit safely. Additionally, by taking proactive steps to maintain your AC coils, such as changing your air filter regularly, keeping the area around the unit clean, checking for leaks, and scheduling regular maintenance, you can ensure your AC unit operates at peak performance and help prevent costly repairs down the line. With proper care and maintenance, your air conditioning unit can provide years of reliable and efficient service, keeping you comfortable in even the hottest weather


Why is it important to clean AC coils?

Over time, dirt, dust, and debris can accumulate on AC coils, reducing the unit’s efficiency and increasing the risk of breakdowns. Regularly cleaning your AC coils can help improve the unit’s performance, reduce energy costs, and prevent costly repairs

Can I clean AC coils myself?

Yes, you can clean AC coils yourself using a coil cleaner solution, water, and a soft-bristled brush. However, if you’re not comfortable working with electrical components or if your unit is in a hard-to-reach location, it’s best to hire a professional HVAC technician.

How often should I clean my AC coils?

It’s recommended to clean your AC coils at least once a year. However, if you have pets, allergies, or live in a dusty or humid environment, you may need to clean the coils more frequently.

What type of cleaner should I use to clean AC coils?

You should use a coil cleaner solution that is specifically designed for cleaning AC coils. These solutions contain a surfactant that helps loosen dirt and debris and is safe for use on the delicate fins and tubing of the coils

What are the signs that my AC coils need to be cleaned?

The signs that your AC coils need to be cleaned include reduced cooling capacity, increased energy bills, unusual noises or odours coming from the unit, and ice buildup on the coils. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to clean your AC coils as soon as possible.

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