Why does it cost so much to clean an A-COIL? The truth is it doesn’t have to! I was recently asked by a customer why we had to pull out the a-coil to clean it. The answer was because it had so much dirt packed in-between the fins of the coil we needed to power wash it. We don’t see them this bad that often, most of the time they can be cleaned in place, but every once in a while we see a coil that is so dirty there is no other way to clean it but to power wash it outside of the system.
10 Steps to a Clean Coil
There are 10 steps to cleaning a coil that is plugged badly. This repair is more involved because any refrigerant in the system must be removed before a major cleaning can be performed. This is a simple summery of how the repair may go, and an explanation of how the cost can easily skyrocket for this service:
- The plenum is first opened up so that there is access to the A-COIL. This can easily become a time consuming process.
- After the serviceman double checks to make sure the system is void of Freon. A small amount of nitrogen is added to the system to prevent large amounts of air from entering the tubing once it is cut.
- All of the open tubing is sealed to preserve its integrity and to keep contaminants out of the system.
- Depending on the severity of the blockage, the serviceman may use a garden hose and chemicals to clean it, or he may chose to take the coil to a car wash. Only low pressure water can be used to clean the coil. High pressure washing can damage the coils fins beyond repair. Care is given not to damage the fins while cleaning but, some coils can not be cleaned. The dirt is packed in the coil so badly that cleaning becomes impossible. If the serviceman discovers that your coil cannot be cleaned, he will give you options as far as repairs for the system, but a replacement recommendation is likely.
- If the coil can be cleaned, it is placed back in the plenum and properly fitted in place. Then the plenum is sealed.
- The coil and filter drier is reattached to the tubing and brazed in place.
- The system is leak checked with high pressure dry nitrogen.
- Then it is evacuated before the system is recharged with new refrigerant.
- A system operational check is preformed, and if everything is operating as it should, the refrigerant charge is then calibrated for the highest efficiency the unit is capable of producing.
- Clean up of the work area and a final check of output temperature completes the job.
This may not sound that bad when you read through it step by step but, this repair normally takes a well trained serviceman anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to complete! For what must be done and the time it takes, I think you can understand how the extra cost is accumulated during the repair. This is considered a major repair of your system, and the only reasons I can come up with for a having a coil this backed up is a total lack of maintenance or an ill fitting air filter. Having routine maintenance performed yearly can catch this problem before it gets this bad.
Change your filter every month.
Changing your furnace filter on a regular basis can and will make your air conditioner runs at peak performance levels, but make sure your filter is properly fitted in it’s slot. Any gaps around the filter can and will allow dust to be circulated through the a-coil and your home. If you find that your filter isn’t catching all of the dust and dirt you must do some thing to remedy the problem before your heating and cooling system fails. Call your local HVAC company and schedule an inspection to ensure that you are protecting your HVAC system from this fate.