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Streamlining Your Company

There aren't many things that make me mad, but when it comes to running a company, few things are more frustrating to me than lazy employees. A few months ago I started keeping closer tabs on my workers, and it became immediately clear that there were some team members that didn't care at all about things like productivity, saving money, and doing the right thing. I wanted to do something to correct the situation, so I started honing our processes, holding more team meetings, and perfecting the processes. This blog is all about streamlining your company and making things right.

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Streamlining Your Company

How To Clean Central Air Evaporator Coils

by Elmer Johnson

If the central air isn't cooling efficiently, you don't usually need to replace the whole unit. It may be a sign the evaporator coils need cleaning. Evaporator coils often get clogged with mold or debris, since air passes over them. You should be able to clean them without help from a professional. Here are some tips to clean central air evaporator coils.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need :

  • work gloves
  • safety goggles
  • flathead screwdriver or Phillips screwdriver
  • liquid dish detergent
  • rags
  • compressed air
  • soft-bristle brush or handheld vacuum
  • aviation snips (optional)
  • sheet metal (optional)
  • metal screws (optional)
  • no rinse coil cleaner for indoor use

Look for a switch on the outside unit and turn it off. If you can't find the switch, or it doesn't have one, turn off the unit at the breaker. Set the thermostat on the lowest setting.

Access the Coils

The coils are commonly located behind the air handler access plate on the main duct. Carefully pull the tape off the foiled insulation. Unscrew the screws with the screwdriver, then set the panel and screws aside.

If there are no screws, cut an access panel with aviation snips, but take care not to damage tubing or the coils, which could send coolant spilling. You should only do this step if you feel comfortable using aviation snips. Otherwise, hire a professional.

Clean the Coils

If you find bent fins on the coils, or accidentally bend them during cleaning, straighten them with a fin comb. Place the comb above the damaged fin, and pull the comb down to straighten it.

Use a soft-bristle brush or handheld vacuum to remove debris. Don't place the vacuum directly on the coil. Wearing safety goggles to protect eyes from dirt, spray a steady stream of compressed air into the clean side to remove any remaining dirt.

If the coils are still dirty, mix several drops of detergent with water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the coils, and let it stand for fifteen minutes.

If the debris won't dislodge, hold the nozzle of the can closer to the underside of the dirt. Vacuum or brush off remaining debris.

Rinse the coils with a rag and clean water. Inspect the condensation pan under the coils, and wipe excess condensation. Spray no-rinse coil cleaner on the coils.

Reinstall the insulation and the access panel. If you had to make a panel door, cut a piece sheet metal to fit with aviation snips, and reattach it with metal screws.

Restore power and test the unit. Cleaning the coils usually fixes the problem. If you don't trust your skill, or the unit is several years old, contact an HVAC service. It may be time for a new system.

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