Warmer weather is just around the corner, and spring is an ideal time to perform coil cleaning and maintenance, says Goodway Technologies, Stamford, Conn. Cleaning coils before the hot season can help ensure that systems perform properly throughout the season and without consuming excessive amounts of energy.
When coils are not cleaned regularly, particles build up in between, which makes the equipment work harder and the heat exchange process less efficient. This shortens the life of the equipment and causes it to consume more energy. A Southern California Edison report revealed that both dirty evaporator and condenser coils reduced cooling capacity by 40 percent. While uncleaned evaporator coils decreased energy efficiency by 35 percent, dirty condenser coils caused energy efficiency to drop 60 percent. This means that it took much more power and money to cool at the same rate a system with clean coils would have.
What steps should you take to clean condenser and air handler coils?
- Obtain Access. Cleaning coils works best when the maintenance technician can get the cleaning wand close to the areas that need to be cleaned.
- Vacuum Coils and Fins. Before cleaning, remove dry debris from the coils with a n industrial vacuum that can reach dust and dirt in tight spaces.
- Clear Blockages. The condensate pan and line need to be free of blockages before wet cleaning can begin because any obstructions can cause major damage due to flooding water from cleaning and HVAC system condensate.
- Use a Wet Cleaning Process. Using pressurized water forces deeply embedded dirt and debris to come loose, improving the cleaning process.
- Use a Cleaning System. High pressure equipment can damage fins. The ideal system should deliver around 125 psi, or a half gallon per minute.
- Apply an Alkaline Non-Caustic Cleaning Foam. Using a non-caustic cleaner will help protect coils from corrosion. Some products expand after being sprayed onto the coils to clean in even tight spaces.
“Our partners and clients have reported significant energy savings directly related to their regular coil cleanings,” said Tim Kane, President and CEO of Goodway. “When completing this vital maintenance can save a company upwards of $40,000, it’s an investment worth including in every building’s regular maintenance practices.”