Aircons are a necessity in tropical countries like Singapore, where the temperature and moisture are high. Overlooking maintenance of aircons can lead to premature failure and expensive repairs. Moisture, salt, dust, and other debris can clog the coils leading to decreased cooling and higher power consumption. Aircon coils should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a year. Depending on usage and other circumstances, the frequency may increase.
- Condenser coil: This is the coil on the outdoor unit and helps the AC remove excess heat from the system
- Evaporator coil: The indoor unit’s coil is called an evaporator coil. When air blows over this coil, it gets cooled and gets circulated to your surroundings
Aircon Coil Cleaning Frequency
Aircon maintenance depends on usage and environmental conditions. Higher aircon use and harsh environmental conditions would require frequent coil cleaning and aircon maintenance. Here’s the recommended cleaning schedule.
- Yearly: This is a must. Yearly maintenance of the aircon is essential to keep the unit in good condition. The yearly service not only consists of cleaning the coils but also an overall checkup of the unit. Yearly cleaning is a must even if the aircon is not in use.
- Once every six months: Aircon usage and environmental conditions demand increased cleaning.
Environmental conditions: A tropical country like Singapore has weather conditions that warrant frequent aircon coil cleaning. If you live closer to the sea, moisture and salt accumulation is more. Clean your aircon coils twice a year.
Usage: If you use the aircon for long hours, say 12 to 18 hours a day, the coils will get dirty rapidly and demand maintenance.
Surprisingly, the reverse is also true. If there are gaps where aircon is not used, you need frequent cleaning. When the unit is not used for long, dirt and debris accumulate and form clumps.
- Once every three months, or earlier: Aircons pick up dust and may have a growth of bacteria or mold. This spreads foul smell around the aircon and the surroundings. Clean your aircon coils and filters once every three months, or earlier, as required. Salt accumulation can corrode the coils rapidly. If that is the case, go for a monthly cleaning schedule.
Tip: Do not let vegetation grow within two meters of your condenser unit. You may save yourself from bad smell and also protect your aircon.
There is no strict cleaning schedule; you can be the best judge on how frequently you need to clean the coils.
Do-It-Yourself AC Coil Cleaning
Frequent cleaning is best done by oneself. It is a simple process, and once you get the hang of it, it will take less than an hour to do it. Remove the power cable 30 to 45 minutes before you want to clean the aircon. Capacitors inside the aircon take some time to discharge. Any fault in the circuit may cause an electric shock.
Chemical cleaning sprays: You can easily find chemical coil-cleaning sprays. They help remove the dirt and kill the bacteria and mold that cause your aircon to smell.
Note: Coils are very delicate and can bend with very little force. Be careful while handling the coils. Do not use any hard material on the coils.
- Indoor Unit Coil (Fan coil) Cleaning: You will need to remove the front panel on the aircon. Split aircons have a lift-up mechanism, while window aircons may require you to open some screws to perform aircon fan coil cleaning.
- Once you can see the aircon fan coil (evaporator), blow off the dry dust using a blower.
- Spray warm water and let the dirt and debris flow down.
- If your coil is smelling or is badly soiled, use the cleaning spray for deeper cleaning.
- Use a brush having soft bristles to remove the debris until you can see the shiny silver coil.
- Spray clean, warm water to rinse off any remaining cleaning solution.
- Outdoor Unit Coil Cleaning: The outdoor unit has one side of the coil exposed while another is inside the unit. Open the screws securing the covering and remove it.
- Coil washing – Use pressurized warm water to wash the condenser coil.
- Clean the coil using a soft-bristle brush until you can see the shining coil.
- Use the chemical coil cleaning solution, if required.
You can perform both these activities in under an hour after some practice. If, however, you are uncomfortable doing this, there are many aircon cleaning and aircon maintenance services in Singapore. Just give them a call, they’ll do it for you.
Aircon coils are the core of the cooling system, and if not kept clean, the aircon’s efficiency and effectiveness reduce. Dirty coils also put extra load on the compressor leading to higher energy consumption and more wear.
Coil cleaning is must once a year. Frequent cleaning cycles depend on usage on usage and environmental conditions.
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