What kind of liquid/spray to clean evaporator coils


Once I figure out how to get the sheet metal covers off the indoor evaporator coil, what kind of cleaning liquid or spray is the strongest and still safe to use on the coils? I'm thinking of something I can get at the local hardware store, not something I'd have to go to an AC specialty shop to find... this evaporator has not been cleaned for 20 years, mainly because the panels are so hard to remove. Still seems to work good though, but I'm sure it will be more efficient once I get the dust out.
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I am not an AC person, but a friend is an AC tech' and advised me to go the an AC specialty supply outfit. They make fluid just for that purpose. I don't know if it comes in a pressurized spray can or not, what I got was liquid and I put it in a garden sprayer (that I don't use to spray plants). It doesn't take a lot of pressure, but then you need to use a water hose to rinse it out and the dirt and grime come out with the water. This would probably be a problem doing inside coils that way, but it works great on the outside compressor unit.
Bob-tx
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What I'm wondering is whether this "special fluid" sold at the AC specialty shops is similar to chemicals used for other purposes, for example automotive sprays for cleaning brakes, or fluids for cleaning stoves. After all the evaporator coil and dirt that covers it is very similar to other types of equipment. I don't imagine there is a molecule that is specific to air conditioning. It would be more specific to removing dirt from metal parts, I guess.
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The old guy who recently installed the HVAC system in my husband's workshop said to use white vinegar and water. The stuff would run down into the condensate drain. He didn't specify what concentration, though. We haven't tried it yet.
Cindy Hamilton
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Good tip Cindy! I'll just use Vinegar full strength. Vinegar is actually good for cleaning many surfaces because it is a weak acid, not strong enough to cause any damage, but the acid etches away the dirt.
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Please let us all know how it works out.
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Christopher A. Young
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AC specialty shop. If they will sell it to a home owner.
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Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

They should sell it but not at wholesale price. Have you thought about SIMPLE GREEN? When I worked in the field that is what I used.
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Moe Jones
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If you have black areas on the coil it may not be dirt but mold and I do not think a mild acid will kill mold, a pro product is likely a detergent, mild acid or alkaline and something to kill mold all in one product. Your AC coil actualy cleans itself from condensation running down the coil so if its dirt you have a air filter problem. A working air filter will keep a coil clean. Any acid will affect a coils integrity you need to rinse well, but a pro product will be safer and do the job right. Maybe its dust and just water or mild soap will work.
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my local ace hardware stocks coil cleaner. ive seen different kinds on ebay too.
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