How I Cleaned My Central Air Coil

My central air unit wasn’t working very well. I’ll admit, I’ve been more than a little lax about changing out my furnace filters. The filters are cheap; replace them regularly to avoid having to do this type of maintenance. Most filters suggest changing them every 30 to 90 days.

My wife works as an admin in the home construction industry. She knew some people so she called a couple friends to check out the system. The first showed me that I was cleaning the compressor/fan unit, which is outside the house, wrong. He cleaned it and then left me to try the system out. A few hours later, another friend showed up (we had actually forgot to call him off when the other guy showed). I told him I thought it might be working and he pointed out that it was starting to freeze up again. He could see the frost on the pipes outside.

He pulled the coil a few inches and looked at it with a flashlight. Completely gunked up. He suggested I call a pro to clean it up, which, he said, is quite a process. I thought about it for a few hours and decided to give it a try myself.

I pulled the unit out a few inches, as far as I dared without bending the coolant pipes much. I had just enough room to reach my hand inside.

Central Air Conditioning Coil

I used a toilet brush on a long piece of dowel, which I actually cut from a plastic hanger. I was improvising, trying to avoid a trip to the hardware store.

Extended Toilet Brush

I could only reach the bottom parts of the coil, but I noticed that the dust was hanging off like a sheet.

Cleaning A/C Coil

I reached inside and slowly peeled the sheet away from one edge to the next by hand. I moved slowly, being careful not to teal the sheet the dust had formed. After two hours, I had the coil pretty clean.

I buttoned everything back up and give the system a try. The A/C was working like new again.

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