When Should I Perform Maintenance on My Condenser Coil?

Being in the Bay Area, we can generally get by with one maintenance routine a year, but two times a year can be beneficial depending on how the coil itself looks. In the Midwest, New England, and parts of the Pacific Northwest, twice yearly maintenance is always recommended because the system will need to be winterized. Which at its most basic means putting a cover over the top of the condenser coil to keep out the snow and debris. By keeping the coil clean it will help keep amp draw down, increase efficiency, and extend the life of the coil.

Items You’ll Need to Maintain Your Condenser Coil

  • Coil brush (or a 3″ Paintbrush will work, too)
  • Garden hose connected to water
  • Condenser cleaner
  • Fin comb
  • Low acidity foaming coil cleaner
  • (Optional) First Strike Micro Coat ®

Maintenance Procedure for Condenser Coil

The first thing you will want to do is take a look at the outside of your coil and inspect it for any large debris. Use the coil brush or paintbrush to remove any of that debris from the fins by moving the brush with the direction of the fins. Then use your fin comb to straighten the fins if they need to be. Fins will become bent by any sort of debris hitting it with sufficient force. Hail, objects thrown by a lawnmower, and mischievous children can all cause fins to become bent.

When you have the large debris off the coil and the fins straightened out, turn the water on to your hose and spray the coil down to remove any of the smaller debris that’s still attached. You want to wet the entire coil down, too. This is to facilitate better (and corrosion-free!) cleaning with the foaming cleaner.

Once the coil is sufficiently wet, read the directions on the spray can of coil cleaner and follow any pre-spraying instructions. Next, using a horizontal, side-to-side motion, spray the cleaner onto the coil moving in rows from top to bottom. Really try and get the spray to get in between the fins where it can do its best work. You’re going to repeat that process for all four sides of your condenser. Let the foam soak on the coil for between five and ten minutes, or whatever your can or bottle of cleaner says.

After the foam has had time to sit on the coil take your hose and spray off all the foam from the coil. Make sure to spray the water deep down inside the fins, enough for the water to move straight through from one side to the other. You really want to make sure to thoroughly wash off all of the foam. If you like, you may apply First Strike Micro Coat after you have washed off the foam. You may apply that to the coil when it is wet or dry.

By keeping your coil clean you will extend the life of your HVAC system and lower the amp draw, thereby saving money on electricity. To stay up to date on all the latest maintenance techniques, subscribe to the Blue Mountain Construction Services blog.