how to clean heat coils

DIY Guide: How to Clean Heat Pump Coils

DIY Guide: How to Clean Heat Pump Coils

August 11, 2021

Are you a DIY’er that needs to learn to clean heat pump coils?

Naturally, heat pumps require regular cleaning because air constantly flows over the coils and fins when the fan is on. In the process of running, dirt and debris can get pulled into the system. This debris, including leaves and various types of filth, can certainly gum up the efficiency of your heat pump. It’s therefore best to clean your heat pump twice a year.

How to Clean Heat Pump Coils

First, check the owner’s manual to see whether a certified HVAC professional is required for cleaning the unit. Indoor evaporator coils should never be cleaned as a DIY task. Otherwise, you can clean your own unit. Here is a look at how to clean the coils on a heat pump so that it continues to perform efficiently.

A Visual Guide on How to Clean Heat Pump Coils

Clean Heat Pump Coils

Condenser Coil Cleaning Procedure

Unless your heat pump is installed on the roof and/or there is visible evidence of a leak, such as dark streaks, proceed with the following steps:

1. Switch Off the Power

Electricity must be turned off at the shutoff box, which is usually near the heat pump on an exterior wall. Depending on the unit, you may need to flip a switch or remove a fuse. If you can’t find the shutoff box or there isn’t one, cut the power to the circuit at the main breaker box. Try turning on the unit to make sure the power is off.


2. Clear Any Debris Around the Unit

Remove any leaves or branches around the condenser unit and trim away bushes and shrubbery. There should be about two- to three-feet of clearance on every side. This rule should be considered whenever planting or placing equipment or supplies near the unit. Keeping the area clear allows sufficient airflow for the unit to run properly.


3. Remove the Outer Cover

Depending on the unit, you may be able to slide the grille off. If it is screwed in, remove the screws with a screwdriver, store them in a safe place, and then remove the cover. The top grille and fan may both be removable. If you can’t take out the fan, be careful not to spray it with water.

4. Hose Away Any Buildup

Next, use your garden hose to clean the condenser coil. Soap and water are often enough, but you can purchase a condenser cleaning solution at a home improvement store. Start by wiping the solution on the coils with a sponge or soft brush, or use a spray bottle. Be gentle as the condenser coil fins can bend very easily. Once you’re ready to hose, spray the unit head-on, directly at the fins, to avoid bending them.

5. Straighten Bent Fins

Use a fin comb to straighten any bent fins. You may want to perform this step sooner, as bent fins can be harder to clean. They can also restrict airflow if not fixed. Sharp objects should never be used. If you can’t unbend the fins, contact an HVAC technician to straighten them out or replace them.

6. Replace the Cover

Reassemble any components that were taken out and reinstall the grille you just removed.

7. Turn the Unit On

Restore electricity to the heat pump and turn it on, making sure that it is working properly. Adjust the thermostat to verify it responds to any change in settings.

Importance of Cleaning Heat Pumps/Condenser Coils

Refrigerant runs through the coils, absorbing heat as it passes through. But dirt and debris prevent heat from being transferred, so the system cannot run reliably or efficiently. Cleaning the coils regularly allows your heat pump to provide comfort, run efficiently, and last longer. You’ll need fewer repairs and indoor air quality can be improved. Even the monthly energy bills may be lower.

Contact Fix-It 24/7

Our heat pump service professionals are trained and experienced, so know how to clean a heat pump outdoor unit safely. We also offer a 24/7 repair service for heat pumps, air conditioners, and other HVAC equipment. Call (303) 214-0277 today to schedule heat pump cleaning or other HVAC service.

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