How to Clean Your Furnace Evaporator
There is never a bad time to service your residential furnace. Most people don't even realize that the furnace is a key element of both heating and cooling in a normal central air system. The furnace not only produces heat but also helps circulate air when you are running your AC. This is why it is so important to keep your furnace running at maximum efficiency all year long and keep up with heating and air-conditioning repairs. This article explains how to increase the efficiency of your furnace by cleaning the evaporator coils.
Accessing the Evaporator
Cleaning the evaporator coils is very simple, but you first need to find and identify them. The evaporator is basically shaped like the letter A and is usually in a separate compartment attached to the furnace. That is, it is not inside the main furnace cabinet compartment. It is very easy to access. You usually just have to remove a small access door by taking out a couple of screws. Once you have access to the evaporator, make sure you shut off the power to your furnace. You don't want to do any work on the furnace while the power is running. Once the door is removed, the evaporator should be easy to see because it should be the only thing inside the compartment. The coils line the exterior sides of an A-shaped evaporator and are made out of thin aluminum ridges called fins and have copper tubing zigzagging behind them.
Cleaning the Coils
Any dirt or dust in between the copper tubing and fins should be removed. For the best results, use a hose vacuum with a brush attachment. If there is moisture inside the evaporator, the dirt and grime might be stubbornly stuck to the metal. If this is the case, you will need to use some sort of cleaning liquid to help break down the dirt. You can actually find cleaning liquids for evaporators and condensers at home improvement and appliance stores. Those solutions definitely work the best, but they can be a little hard to find as well as more expensive than other cleaning solutions. In most cases you need to apply a liberal amount of cleaner onto the coils and let it soak in while it breaks down the dirt. Then, use a soft bristle scrub brush to clean off the coils. Do not scrub too vigorously, as you could actually bend the coils, creating an even bigger problem for yourself.
Put everything back together and turn your furnace back on before running your heat or AC.