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Air conditioning is a staple in many households and offices, especially during hot summer months. They have become an essential part of modern living as they keep us cool and comfortable in hot weather and help purify the air we breathe.

However, like all appliances, AC units require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. This is because, without proper maintenance, these systems can become less efficient, leading to higher energy bills and potentially costly repairs.

One important aspect of AC maintenance is cleaning the evaporator coils. AC evaporator coils are responsible for absorbing heat and humidity from the air, allowing the cooled and dehumidified air to flow back into your home or office.

Over time, these coils can become dirty and clogged with debris, which can lead to reduced cooling efficiency, increased energy bills, and even unpleasant smells coming from the AC unit. This is why these coils need to be kept clean to ensure optimal performance.

If you would like to learn how to clean ac evaporator coils inside the house, read on. And if you’re afraid you may only make things worse, don’t hesitate to call Meadow Air. We deal with such issues daily, so you can rest assured your AC will be up and running again in no time.

AC equipment being cleaned including evaporator coils shown

What Is an AC Evaporator Coil?

Evaporator coils are an essential component of an air conditioning system. These coils are located inside the indoor unit of the air conditioning system and are responsible for removing heat and humidity from the air. This causes the refrigerant inside the coils to evaporate. This process results in cool air being circulated back into your home.

It is made up of a network of copper tubes with aluminum fins that are responsible for transferring heat to the refrigerant flowing inside them.

Why do evaporator coils get dirty?

Over time, evaporator coils can become dirty and obstructed with dust, dirt, and other debris. When this happens, the coils become less efficient at removing heat from the air. This can lead to reduced cooling capacity, increased energy consumption, and potentially costly repairs if left unchecked.

Why Clean Dirty AC Evaporator Coils?

Over time, the evaporator coil can get dirty and clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris. When this happens, it becomes less efficient at absorbing heat, which means that your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your home.

This can result in higher energy bills, reduced cooling performance, and even system failure. Therefore, it is essential to clean dirty AC evaporator coils regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your air conditioning system.

Signs That Your AC Evaporator Coils Need Cleaning

Here are some signs that your AC evaporator coils need cleaning:

  • Reduced cooling efficiency: Dirty evaporator coils will restrict proper airflow, making it harder for the AC unit to cool your home or office, resulting in reduced cooling efficiency.
  • Strange noises coming from the AC: When evaporator coils become clogged with dirt and debris, the air flowing through them will create a strange noise that can be noticed easily.
  • Increased energy bills: If the AC unit is struggling to cool your home or office, it will need to work harder, which will result in increased energy bills.
  • Unpleasant smells coming from the AC: Dirt and debris trapped in the evaporator coils can create a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew, which can lead to unpleasant smells coming from the AC unit.

Tools Required to Clean Dirty AC Evaporator Coils

Cleaning AC evaporator coils require specific tools and materials that you should have on hand before starting. Here are the tools and materials needed for cleaning dirty AC evaporator coils:

  • Safety equipment: It is essential to protect yourself when cleaning AC evaporator coils. Wear safety gloves, goggles, and a face mask to avoid injury from the cleaning solutions and any debris. Googles are essential in order to protect your eyes from any spray back from the coil cleaner.
  • Cleaning solutions: You will need a cleaning solution that can effectively remove dirt, debris, and any buildup on the evaporator coils. You can purchase a commercial AC coil cleaner or make a DIY solution using warm water and mild detergent.
  • Soft bristle brush: A soft bristle brush is useful for removing dirt and debris from the coils without damaging them.
  • Fin comb: A fin comb will help straighten any bent fins on the evaporator coils.
  • Vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment: You will need a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean the area around the evaporator coils and remove any debris that might have fallen during the cleaning process.
  • Screwdriver: To remove the access panel to the evaporator coil.

By having all these tools and materials ready, you will be able to clean your AC evaporator coils thoroughly and efficiently.

Steps to Clean Dirty AC Evaporator Coils

Now that we have covered the basics let’s dive into the steps required in order to learn how to clean evaporator coils within an AC unit. It is a relatively simple process that can be done with the right tools and materials. Here are the steps for cleaning your AC evaporator coils:

Step 1: Turn Off the Power Supply to Your AC System

Before you start cleaning the evaporator coils, you need to turn off the power supply to the air conditioner. This is critical to ensure your safety and prevent any damage to the system. You can turn off the power to the system at the breaker box.

Step 2: Remove the Access Panel to the Evaporator Coil.

Using a screwdriver, remove the access panel to the evaporator coil. The access panel is usually located on the front of the air conditioner, but the location may vary depending on the model. Look inside the air handler or furnace, which is the indoor unit of your AC system.

Step 3 Access the Evaporator Coils

Locate the evaporator coils, which are typically located behind the air filter or inside the air handler unit. Remove any covers, panels, or screws necessary to access the coils. When you remove the main access panel, you should expose the coils.

Step 4: Inspect the Evaporator Coil

Once you have removed the access panel, inspect the evaporator coil for any signs of dirt, debris, or mold growth. If you notice any, it’s time to clean the coil.

Step 5: Brush Away Loose Debris

Using a soft brush, gently brush away any loose debris from the evaporator coil, being careful not to damage the delicate fins. Make sure to brush in the direction of the fins to avoid damaging them. Remove as much dust and debris as possible.

Step 6: Apply a Commercial Coil Cleaner If the Coils Are Heavily Soiled

Once you have removed all the loose debris, it’s time to apply the coil cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label carefully, and make sure to wear gloves and safety goggles. Spray the coil cleaner onto the evaporator coil and allow it to sit for the recommended time.

Step 7: Rinse the Evaporator Coil

After the recommended time has passed, rinse the evaporator coil thoroughly with water. Make sure to remove all the coil cleaners and any remaining dirt or debris.

Step 8: Reassemble the Unit

Once the coils are clean, reassemble the access panel and turn the power back on to the system. Be sure to check that the system is working correctly before resuming normal use.

Tips for Maintaining Clean AC Evaporator Coils

Here are some tips you can follow to keep your coils clean for longer periods. Here are some tips for maintaining clean AC evaporator coils:

  • Change your air filter regularly: A dirty air filter can lead to dirty evaporator coils, so make sure to change your air filter regularly. A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter every 1-3 months.
  • Keep the area around the AC unit clean: Debris and dust can accumulate around the AC unit and enter the system, leading to dirty coils. Regularly clean the area around the AC unit and keep it free of debris.
  • Schedule professional AC maintenance: Professional AC maintenance can help identify any potential issues before they become a more significant problem. Regular maintenance can also include cleaning the evaporator coils, ensuring that they are always in good condition.
  • Consider using an air purifier: Air purifiers can help remove dust and other pollutants from the air, reducing the amount of debris that can accumulate on your evaporator coils.

By following these tips, you can help maintain clean evaporator coils, which will help keep your AC unit working efficiently and prolong its lifespan.


Regular cleaning of your AC evaporator coils is an essential part of maintaining your AC unit’s efficiency and prolonging its lifespan and is a crucial part of maintaining your air conditioning system. Dirty evaporator coils can lead to reduced cooling efficiency, increased energy bills, strange noises coming from the AC, and unpleasant smells.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your system runs efficiently and effectively, providing you with cool and comfortable indoor environments during the hot summer months. Remember to schedule regular maintenance with a qualified HVAC technician to keep your AC system running smoothly for years to come. Whenever you require such a check, be sure to contact us. Whether it’s a regular maintenance check or a thorough repair, our technicians are the best professionals for the job.

Check whether we provide AC services in your area. If yes, contact us today, and our team will be ready to help in no time!