Condenser coils and evaporator coils work together to provide cooling to an indoor space. Evaporator coils are located inside the conditioned space, in the air handler, and they serve to absorb heat and remove humidity from indoor air. The condenser coils are located on the outside of the building, and they serve to expel heat with the aid of a fan.
Why clean condenser coils?
In buildings such as apartments, assisted-living facilities, or other multiple occupancy dwellings, heating and cooling is often supplied by self-contained HVAC units, such as Skymark Skypaks, Magic-Paks, etc. These units have flat condenser coils on the exterior of the building. As outside air moves over the condenser coils, dirt contained in the air gets deposited over time onto the coils and settles between the fins. Airborne plant debris such as cottonwood, dandelion seeds, etc. also clings to and clogs the coils. This accumulation of debris reduces the efficiency of the unit, increases energy costs, and left unchecked can lead to equipment failure. It also reduces air flow as well as indoor air quality.
How are commercial condenser coils cleaned?
Commercial HVAC cleaning companies have the necessary expertise and equipment to clean commercial condenser coils without damaging them and restore them to efficiency. The first step in the cleaning process is to remove any exterior grille (Skypak), as an abundance of debris can collect behind them relatively unnoticed without removal. To clean the condenser itself, a high-powered air trigger is used, pointing downward so as to prevent any bending of the vertical fins. In cases when the dirt and debris are more heavily impacted in the coils, the technician will don a backpack pressure-washer and employ pressurized water to loosen the debris and wash it away. Coil cleaning solutions, which are available in acid and alkaline-based varieties, can also be used if necessary.
How much does it cost to have condenser coils professionally cleaned?
Because every commercial coil cleaning job is different, there is rarely set pricing for them, but rather the HVAC company will send a project estimator to the job site to prepare a bid. The estimator will take several factors into consideration when preparing the estimate, such as the following:
- How many units total will be cleaned?
- How many stories high is the building?
- How accessible is each coil?
- Will a lift rental be necessary?
- What method of cleaning will be used (air pressure, pressurized water, coil cleaner)?
- Will it be necessary to remove an exterior grille?
(A savvy maintenance supervisor will bear in mind that when comparing bids, price should not necessarily be the sole determining factor, as technician experience plays a key role in the successful outcome of a commercial cleaning job, and experienced technicians are necessarily compensated at a higher rate.)
To maintain peak performance and high energy efficiency, commercial condenser coils should be cleaned yearly. An annual contract with an HVAC cleaning company will ensure consistent and reliable service.
Many thanks to our commercial project manager, Ben S, for lending his expertise to this article.