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Cleaning Your Air Conditioner
Sat 07/22/06 09:16:41 am
by Mark Bower and Robert Hardy

For the most part the average homeowner IS NOT able to repair their own air conditioner unit. Many of the repairs will involve removing the freon and that requires special equipment and you must be licensed to handle the freon. But a homeowner can keep the condenser and evaporator coils clean which will help the unit run longer and more efficiently. For the purposes if this article, we are referring to a split system meaning that the condenser is located outside and the evaporator (A-coil) is located in the furnace.

When cleaning the coils, use a foaming coil cleaner for the outside condenser, and a non-foaming cleaning for the inside a-coil. The coil cleaners can generally only be found at hvac or plumbing suppliers.

condensor unit

Cleaning the Condenser

Step 1 - Shut off power to condenser and check to be sure it is off.

Step 2 - Mix some high-foaming coil cleaner with water (per instructions) and pour into a sprayer and saturate the coils of the condenser. Spray the coils from the outside only.

spray coil

remove cage with motor

Step 3 - Let the coil cleaner soak for 10-15 minutes while you remove the top part of the condensing unit with the fan attached. On some units you may have to remove the whole top. Cover with plastic bags anything electrical that may get wet.

Step 4 - After 15 minutes, saturate the coils again from the outside.

Step 5 - Let coil cleaner soak for 5 more minutes.

Step 6 - With a garden hose inside the condenser, spray the coils so the water spurts to the outside. Never spray the coils from the outside as the water may pack the gunk tighter into the coils rather than pushing it out.

Step 7 - Repeat until your rinse water runs clear through the coils.

spray water

Cleaning the Evaporator (A-coil)
A-coil On the inside of your home in the furnace is the evaporator -- also known as the 'air-conditioning coil' or 'A-coil' because it's shaped normally like an 'A.' The A-coil must be kept clean as air from the blower must be able to freely flow through it during both the heating and cooling season. To clean your A-coil, follow these instructions:

Step 1 - Carefully remove the panel to expose the A-coil. Don't damage any a/c or gas lines that may be nearby.

Step 2 - Vacuum the dust from the coils (below). Stubborn dirt can be loosened with a toilet brush. The flat-style toilet bowl brush works best because it fits better along the bottom. Work carefully as the fins on the A-coil will bend easily.

dirty fins

Step 3
- Spray non-foaming A-coil cleaner on the coils (below). Do this step only if it's warm out and you can run the air conditioner for 30 minutes or more. Before spraying, put on gloves, goggles and a mask. Open all windows as the fumes may be strong. Mix the A-coil cleaner according to the instructions and pour into a garden sprayer. Spray the coils until saturated.

spray A-coil

Step 4
- Put the cover back on and turn on the a/c as soon as possible. Let the a/c run for at least 20-30 minutes as the condensation must flush the cleaner from the coil. Do not flush the A-coils with water. If the coil cleaner isn't removed right away, it may damage the coils. It may take several cycles to totally rinse the cleaner from the coils. After the first long cycle, normal cycles are fine.

A note about coil cleaners. Some cleaners are designed only for the condenser coils, some are designed for the evaporator coils, and some are designed for both. The cleaners should be non-acid. Again, use high foaming for the outside condenser, and non-foaming for the inside a-coil.

Also, if the smell of the cleaner bothers you, mix a 50/50 solution of water and bleach and spray it on the coils as well. The bleach will eliminate most, if not all of the smell of the coil cleaner. Also pouring a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the 50-50 solution in the drain pan will also help the smell, but is for the drainline and keeps it clean of bacteria, germs and odors. It also helps prevent clogs.

Mark Bower owns Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair and is the author of "The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade".

The Manual for
Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade

"Every winter my roof leaked...   We even had a couple manufactured home repairmen out to seal it.    Nothing worked and this went on for 5 years," said Maureen of Elko, Nevada.     "Then last summer I ordered The Manual and it suggested I use neoprene to seal the leak.    Since then I've had no leaks at all!"

Maureen is referring to The Manual for Manufactured/Mobile Home Repair and Upgrade by Mark Bower.    Most just dub it The Manual.    Bower owns and operates Aberdeen Mobile Home Repair in Aberdeen, South Dakota.   

Maureen isn't alone.    Hundreds of others have written to Bower sharing similar stories of how The Manual has solved their problems.    Esther of St.   Louis, Missouri, writes,  "We had squeaky floors in the living room and without The Manual, I would have had my husband tear out the floors and put in new ones.    What a lifesaver!"

Bower enjoys the letters he receives regarding his manual.   "I wrote this manual from experience," says Bower.   "I'm not just some guy with his feet up on the desk - I'm out in the field every day doing what I write.  "

Tom of Lansing, Michigan, followed the simple instructions on installing a shut-off valve and saved $75 on a service call.    Mary of Churdan, Iowa, writes to say she uses the manual to keep the repair guys she hires honest, "When I had my home releveled, I sent two different contractors packing because I knew they weren't doing the job right.    This manual has literally saved me hundreds of dollars!" 

Bower has updated his manual for 2004.    More information was added regarding additions and porches.    "We added details on attaching porches so they don't leak even if they shift with the seasons.  " says Bower.    With high energy prices now upon us, Bower says he's also included a section on building a solar heating panel.    "Find an old sliding glass door and you can build one for under $100," says Bower who built two panels for his own 1800 square foot manufactured home.    "You'd be surprised at how much heat they create when the sun is shining.  "

David of Lake McConaughy, Nebraska, says The Manual should be called, The Mobile Home Bible.   Dave writes, "I wish I had your manual when we had our 1965 Star.    It would have saved me WEEKS of work!" 

Vicki of Ocala, Florida, bought Bower's manual because it had instructions for installing a metal roofover.    "My son and husband had the roof up in 2 days from start to finish," says Vicki.   "The 4 inch overhang is awesome - no more water running down the siding.   Great roof, great instructions, I love it!"

The Manual also helped Pam from Duluth, Minnesota, replace her skirting and repair her underbelly.   "It gave me the courage to tackle these projects," writes Pam.   " I saved a lot of money by being able to do it myself.  "

Bower says many manufactured home owners are do-it-yourselfers, and he's glad to be able to provide them a tool, The Manual, to help them do more.  

Get The Manual Now!

Manufactured Housing For Sale By Owner
Check it out at www.

The Guide to
Manufactured Housing Repair On-Line

The MH Parts Store On-Line   MH Parts may not be very pretty... but when you need them you just can't do with out them. Don't run all over town to assemble the things you need for that home renovation or repair. Order from our on-line parts store. Everything you need is here from doors, windows, screens, plumbing and electric parts, bath and kitchen fixtures, roof and ceiling components, and more.... even set-up materials, The Part Store's Owner/Managers, keep it simple, they just provide you with the best possible products available.

The Manual for Manufactured Home Repair & Upgrade   If your looking for a book that covers all facets of manufactured home repair, you've found it! This is the only book of its type, available to the public, that we have been able to find. As you would expect from the title, The repair and upgrade techniques described in this manual are specific to manufactured homes. This book will answer almost every question on manufactured home repair that we have ever heard. Not only does this book show you how to repair and maintain your home, but also great methods for upgrading it.

FoundationWorkss   Advanced foundation system   Designed and engineered for manufactued homes, These foundation systems add a high level of strutural stability and have proven most cost-effective for the manufactured home, buyer. Advanced Foundation Systems meet or exceed industry standards, and have been proven safer under adverse conditions. Advanced Foundation Systems offer you the best foundation technology available for your manufactured added safety and a lower cost.

Finance Your MH Renovation/Repair   There are many loan programs available to MH Owners. Secure the money you need to renovate, upgrade, or even expand your MH. One stop shopping. select your loan preferences and we will forward your request for loan information to as many as a dozen participating manufactured housing finance offices.

Skirting For The 21 Century Manufactured Home   System-1 is what skirting should be- 100% solid concrete. System-1 is not an imitation or a look alike it is the original concrete skirting system that resists the elements from the summer heat of Texas to the harsh winters of Minnesota. System-1 is built to last and is designed to stay put for years of dependable service. Stop chasing your skirting down the street and look at just some of the benefits System-1 concrete skirting provides you.  

Manufactured Housing Yellow Pages / SERVICE COMPANIES   The Yellow Pages is an ever expanding data base that is growing into one of the richest resources in the world for locating and contacting companies that participate in, or offer services to, the manufactured housing industry.

The Mobile Home Expert   The business of installing and servicing manufactured homes is rapidly moving away from the world of the one pick-up, one jack, local set up and repair guys and into the world of certified tradesmen, and licensed contractors. The modern manufactured home is greeted with stiff compliance codes regulating construction, warranty and installation. As more and more local agencies get involved in the inspection of installations it gets more and more difficult to know what the rules of the game are, especially if your operating in more than one jurisdiction. Consult with R.T. Bonney, who has participated in all phases of the industry over the past 30 Years He can provide solutions for the modern problems of operating most types of manufactured housing business.

Floor Repair Info Kit   includes a 25 minute VHS video about repairing the floor in your manufactured home, and a booklet on floor repair. Price:$25.95 - Shipping & Handling:$3.90

Painting and Texturing Paneled Walls   By following the steps in this 20 minute video, your paneled walls will look darn near like textured sheetrock. Works on both wood paneling and vinyl-covered paneling or sheetrock. Price:$19.95 Shipping & Handling:$3.90

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