How to Clean Coils in an Air Handler

Your air handler, as with any air conditioning unit, needs to be routinely maintained and cleaned.

Clean coils in an air handler.Clean coils in an air handler.
This includes the coils inside the unit. Trapped debris and dust can cause the unit not to work properly. Refer to your unit's owner's manual for specific instructions on how to clean, what type of solution to use an how to take apart your air handler and air conditioner.

Follow your air handler user manual maintenance guidelines to determine what type of cleaning solution to purchase. If the user manual does not recommend a specific cleaner, go to your local large hardware store and purchase a general HVAC or air conditioning cleaning solution. Purchase a cleaner that contains antimicrobial ingredients that kill bacteria and fungi that could live in your air handler.

Turn off the electricity to the air handler unit and any units that may be near it. Cover any items that you do not want to get wet with a drop cloth.

Prepare your cleaning solution. Follow the instructions on the container. It may call for you to mix it in water in a bucket or to apply it to the coils with a garden sprayer that attaches to the hose.

Slide the coils out of the unit or remove the unit's cover if the instructions call for it. Put on gardening gloves and remove any debris with your hands. Be careful, since some of the interior edges may be sharp.

Spray the coils with your hose. Apply the cleaning solution. Depending upon the unit's instructions, you may do this with a scrub brush or a garden sprayer attached to the hose.

Let the unit dry. Reassemble the unit and plug it back in to its electrical source.

Things You Will Need

  • Cleaning solution
  • Gardening gloves
  • Drop cloth
  • Garden hose
  • Garden sprayer

About the Author

Brendan O'Brien is a professional journalist in Milwaukee, Wis. He has worked for several news organizations, newspapers such as the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and trade magazines during his career of more than 15 years. He is currently a freelance writer who works for several publications.