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The Ins and Outs of Coil Cleaning

Posted by Peter Haugen on Fri, Aug 08, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

dirty com coil  dirty coil 

      

Cooling cost can be a substantial part of a building’s energy consumption.  A Pacific Gas & Electric study shows that a dirty condenser coil can increase compressor energy consumption by 30%.  An HVAC system with dirty coils will not only consume more energy but will have comfort consequences because the HVAC system will have to work harder and longer to reach the temperature set points. 

By offering coil cleaning services you can better serve your customers (by lowering their energy usage/cost and providing improved comfort) and at the same time you can increase your air duct cleaning revenues and profits. This can also give you a competitive edge against competitors that do not offer coil cleaning.

There are two types of coil cleaning: Type 1 (dry cleaning of loose dust and debris on the coil surface) and Type 2 (wet cleaning of adhered debris on coil, drain pan and drain line surfaces).  A visual inspection will help you to determine which type of coil cleaning is needed.
   •  If the inspection reveals microbial contamination then you should use Type 1 and then     Type 2 cleaning.
   •  If the inspection reveals fins that are damaged, deteriorating or showing signs of corrosion replacement may be necessary.

In both Type 1 and Type 2 cleanings you:
   •  Need a negative air machine to be operating throughout the cleaning process
   •  Need to isolate the coil from the rest of the HVAC system during the cleaning process so loosened particulate does not end up in unintended areas.
   •  Need to have access to both sides of the coil.  If this is not possible then you may have to remove, clean and replace the coil or just replace the coil. 

Type 1 coil cleaning: (dry cleaning of loose dust and debris on the coil surface) may include a variety of methods to thoroughly remove accumulated debris including:
   •  Contact vacuuming with HEPA filtered vacuum.
   •  Brushes for penetrating between coil fins.
   •  Using compressed air to blow out accumulated debris.
   •  Using fin straightening tools.
   •  If debris is still present after Type 1 cleaning then Type 2 cleaning shall be done.

Type 2 coil cleaning:(wet cleaning of adhered debris on coil, drain pan and drain line surfaces) shall be done only after Type 1 cleaning has been completed and may include:
   •  Application of coil cleaner (in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions).  It is recommended that coil cleaning solution that is close to PH neutral be used.
   •  Water washing at normal water line pressure.
   •  Pressure washing equipment.
   •  Hot water or steam cleaning equipment.
   •  Condensate drain pan and line shall be cleaned and flushed.
   •  Precautions shall be taken to capture rinse water when cleaning coils without a drain pain.
   •  When cleaning electric resistance coils the power source shall be de-energized and locked out/tagged out.  If wet cleaning, the coil should be thoroughly rinsed and dried prior to being re-energized.
   •  If debris cannot be removed using Type 2 cleaning methods, replacement may be necessary. 

Measuring the effectiveness of coil cleaning: 
Visual observation of the coil surface can be misleading, therefore it is recommended that a static pressure drop measurement be obtained before and after cleaning to demonstrate the effectiveness of coil cleaning.

Summary:
By offering coil cleaning services you can better serve your customers (by lowering their energy usage/cost and providing improved comfort) and at the same time you can increase your air duct cleaning revenues and profits.   This can also give you a competitive edge against competitors that do not offer coil cleaning.

If you have any questions about this blog article, contact Peter Haugen, ASCS, CVI at 855-Vac-Systems, 952-808-1619 or phaugen@vacsysint.com.  Also, the NADCA Standard ACR 2013 includes a section on coil cleaning that you might want to look at. +

 

Intro to Cleaning  HVAC  Coils  Guide

 

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Tags: air duct cleaning, coil cleaning, energy savings