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How Often Should You Clean Your Air-Conditioner Coils?

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After spending some time at home, you’re probably familiar with the fact that there’s a whole lot that goes into an air conditioning unit so that it works efficiently.

While you initially thought owning an AC unit and ensuring it runs smoothly didn’t involve much more than plugging and cleaning once in a while, years of experience will teach you otherwise. Once you look deeper into AC ownership and management aspects, you’ll quickly learn that regular maintenance and baseline care can be done in various forms.

From air filter changes to unit lifespans, the range of valuable factors that affect your air conditioner may not be as expansive as that associated with maintaining your home, but they’re definitely important. Over time, these same “icebox”-related factors will spring different questions that you’ll ask and seek answers to-one of which being: “How often should air-conditioner coils be cleaned?”

Why It Pays To Keep Your Coils Clean

You might not have thought much about the cleanliness of your coils until you realized that these same parts are responsible for effectively transferring air from inside your home to the outside.

Considering that these parts are the most exposed facets of your air conditioning, having more dirt, dust, and debris coat them can lead to disastrous results because they create sub-optimal operation conditions. Once there’s enough muck buildup on the coils, you’ll notice an array of negative effects occur, such as:

  • Reduced operational efficiency due to a compromised ability to transfer air from the inside of your home to the outside
  • Constantly compounding damage or degradation to the overall condition of a set of coils
  • Unwanted coil insulation
  • Increased energy usage of an air conditioning system by up to 30 percent, leading to larger energy bills
  • Diminished heat transfer efficiency
  • And more.

There are two types of coils. There are ac condenser coils and ac evaporator coils. to understand the importance of ac coil cleaning, it helps to know these air conditioning coils work together within the ac system. Refrigerant enters the evaporator coil through tubing that is attached to an outdoor unit. The evaporator coil absorbs the heat exchange from the air blowing over it. The moisture from the air is then condensed into the water on the coils that fall onto the drain pan. When removing the moisture, it lowers the temperature of the air blown into the home, which causes cool air. The refrigerant then flows into the outdoor unit and runs through the condenser coil and condenser unit, where the heat is expelled to the outdoor air. The refrigerant then travels back inside the evaporator coil and repeats the process.

Answering the Question in Further Detail

While most Alabama homeowners would like to believe that knowing when to clean AC coils all boils down to a formula or set frequency, the truth is that the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In fact, knowing when to comes down to watching out for these key symptoms of a dirty coil and acting on them ASAP:

1. Longer Cooling Cycles

When your air conditioning begins to run longer, it’s best to assume that your air conditioning coils are becoming dirtier than they should be, especially during the summertime.As soon as your AC begins to run for longer cycles to accomplish the same amount of cooling in your home, the chances are that dirty coils are the culprit because of how they affect the time it takes for temperatures to lower. Fortunately, a quick and deep clean can help remedy this simple problem and ensure that your indoor unit starts cooling your room to the desired temperature as quickly as possible! 

2. Frost Development

Another key sign that your air conditioner’s coils are due for a clean ASAP is when they start to develop frost buildup after you turn your unit on.It may not seem like much at first, but developed frost is caused by an extremely dirty evaporator coil and requires the utmost attention because it shows that there’s so much grime that the heat transfer completely stops. Once this problem visually and functionally pops up, you’ll need to act fast because it can cause your unit to break down completely!If these signs begin to show, don’t be afraid to call Xcalibur Services’s experts to schedule an appointment so we can clean your coils back to the perfect shape for more stress-free cooldown sessions!


When it comes to taking care of your air conditioning unit and ensuring that it stays functional for longer and more proper cooling, it’s important to clean your evaporator coils. By knowing when you should get your cleaning done (and not just relying on a set interval), you can stay on top of any potential problems that might hamper your unit’s function! 

Routine maintenance is the best way to stay ahead of any ac repair or condenser coil issues. AC maintenance includes a thorough inspection of your HVAC system while simultaneously cleaning your condenser coils and evaporator coils. Enroll in Xcalibur Services’ routine maintenance program, our Comfort Club, to have clean coils and diagnostic checks on your compressor, indoor air, compressed air, airflow, thermostat, and more! Regular maintenance on your system not only enhances its lifespan but also prevents any overheating and reduces energy bills if your system is not running efficiently.

Xcalibur Services offers quality HVAC services in Birmingham, AL. Rest assured that our HVAC professionals will ensure that your HVAC system and home are always comfortable with clean air. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services!

Published: April 7th, 2021

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