Different Coil Cleaning Methods

When its comes to cleaning coils, here at California-Air Conditioning Systems we got you covered. There a number of methods on cleaning a coil, but it ultimately boils down to money and time.


Before                                                                       After 

Super heated steam at 600 degrees is one of the most effective and expensive methods to clean coils. It may be cost prohibitive for small coils such as PTAC units but is probably the most cost effective method for large HVAC units. Nevertheless, each situation is unique so there maybe instances when high heat steam is the right solution for PTACs. The more traditional method uses foams and sprays, which are usually less expensive, but may be less effective at dislodging deeply embedded particulates from the coils than super heated steam.

Both alkaline & acidic chemicals are on the market for coil cleaning. More potent solutions will have a more potent odor and fumes, proper respirator equipment will be required. These chemicals have to be disposed of properly as well. It was not uncommon for hotels to use a remote section of the parking lot or loading dock area where these chemicals were simply being rinsed into the storm water system. Additionally, using chemicals can have a degrading effect on the coils’ metals if the wrong solution is selected. Multiple reports have warned of a reaction between the cleaning chemicals and the metal parts; corrosion of the aluminum and copper fins and tubing can result. Therefore while shininess may prove appealing, it may be misleading. Over time, the degradation can damage the system and result in a costly premature coil replacement.

Some other “lower-tech” cleaning methods utilized compressed air. By blowing debris off with compressed air, this cleaning job can be the quickest method when time constraints are paramount. Drawbacks to this technique are that the dislodged debris is now airborne – required an additional step in the clean up process to recapture the blown-out particles. Adding mold into this scenario quickly highlights how much more of a problem the capturing of these particulates truly is. Also, blowing compressed air “at the dirty coils” is precisely the wrong direction towards the dirty side! Therefore using compressed air may leave a large amount of dust and dirt deep inside the unit; using a shop-vac in conjunction is recommended along with proper eye and breathing protection.

Brush cleaning is another simple easy coil cleaning method; using a small soft brush will be effective for a light amount of dust and will not be effective for extensive cleaning scenarios. For this method to be effective, one will have to clean coils more frequently – every 4 – 5 months – to ensure cleaning effectiveness.

UV light is gaining popularity as a method but it more commonly used to maintain cleanliness rather than remove large amounts of dirt and debris. I have seen an ionizer device at a show recently but I will reserve comment for now.

Original Article: here

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