Maintaining Your Central Air Conditioning System: The Evaporator

The Evaporator

Air Conditioner Evaporator Coil

This is the second article in a 3 part series about “Maintaining your Central Air Conditioning System”. In the first blog post we talked about the Air Filter. Today we are going to discuss the Evaporator.

We do want to take a moment to point out that it is always best to have a seasoned professional perform your Air Conditioning maintenance as this is a complex and vital piece of your home. However, we do want to provide you with common information for DIY (Do It Yourself) tasks.

If you keep a clean filter in your system, your evaporating coil will stay clean much longer. However, it will still collect dirt over time. It is best to check these coils every year and clean them as necessary. The evaporator is usually found right above the furnace in the plenum (A plenum is any space used to move air for heating and air conditioning).

If the plenum has foil-wrapped insulation at its front, you can clean the evaporator. If not, do not try to clean it. Bid On My Job has seasoned professionals standing by to give you a quote on performing this task.

Assuming your plenum is foil wrapped, take the following steps to take to clean the evaporator:

  1. Disconnect the power to the air conditioner. You will find the circuit breaker to the unit inside your home’s electrical service panel.
  2. Remove the foil-wrapped insulation. You should find an access plate behind the insulation. Remove screws to lift off plate.
  3. Use a stiff brush to clean the bottom of the evaporator. The evaporator can be slid out if the brush can’t reach all the way to the back. Just be careful not to bend the pipes. Remember to be very careful when cleaning the delicate evaporator coils.
  4. The tray below the evaporator needs to be cleaned as well. To prevent the growth of fungus, you can place one tablespoon of bleach in the tray.
  5. Return the evaporator to its place, screw the plate back in, and tape the insulation back up.
  6. After you turn the air conditioner on again, check for air leaks. Seal any leaks with duct tape.

You can check out the first article in this series here: Maintaining The Filter

Up Next: The Condenser