Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 28
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    103

    Recommend a safe cleaner or cleaning service for air handler and coils?

    I have a 20 year old air handler in my basement. The air filter sits against a panel of tightly spaced metal fins right before the coils. I noticed the fins were caked with dust/dirt maybe mold. I took an old toothbrush and scrubbed between the fins as I held a vacuum up to the area. It got a lot of crud out, but the area is still generally dirty.

    Is there some cleaner that I can use to scrub the area that is non-toxic and won't harm the metal (and is easy to use)?

    I've had two guys come out and do checkups of the system and even though those services always seem to mention "cleaning" neither would clean the area/coils. What type of service (short of an entire duct cleaning) would take care of cleaning out the air handler and coils? I tried taking out some screws and removed some panels to open things up, but it looked like it would take more undoing than I was comfortable with to get behind the metal fins to the actual coils.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
    Posts
    1,582
    Ask the contractor who does your regular maintinence for a gallon of Triple D to use for cleaning your coils and or your EAC if you haveone of those.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Parma, OH
    Posts
    372
    a simple solution, non-chemical.
    Remember to search ContractingBusiness.com. Chances are good you'll find an answer to many questions.

    contractingbusiness.com/service/content/greenest-coil-cleaning-0409/index.html
    Terry McIver, executive editor, Contracting Business magazine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    103
    Thanks for the advice guys! But I'm not sure we're talking about the same coils. That article seems to be talking about the outdoor coils (rinsing for 30 minutes, unit being near dryer exhaust, etc). I want the indoor coils and fans to eb cleaned.

    Who should I contact for this type for this type of service, an HVAC company or a duct cleaning company?

    I'm assuming they'd have to clean everything in place since they can't exactly detach and remove all of the parts in the air handler. That being said, I don't see how they could use a chemical that needs to be rinsed for 30 minutes. Is Triple-D a non-rinse requiring chemical, or should they just be using a toothbrush and some water?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
    Posts
    1,582
    I think your better off just to call someone to have them clean your A-coil.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by DanW13 View Post
    I think your better off just to call someone to have them clean your A-coil.
    Yeah, that's the plan. I'd still like to know what the guy should be doing. I never hire anyone anymore without making sure I understand what services they will be performing. I don't want some guy spraying corrosive cleaner into my coils if it needs to be rinse for 30 mins.

    Who should I contact for this type for this type of service, an HVAC company or a duct cleaning company?

    I'm assuming they'd have to clean everything in place since they can't exactly detach and remove all of the parts in the air handler. That being said, I don't see how they could use a chemical that needs to be rinsed for 30 minutes. Is Triple-D a non-rinse requiring chemical, or should they just be using a toothbrush and some water?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
    Posts
    1,582
    there's no issues if he use's Triple D cleaner, spray it on and give it a quick rinse and he's done. If you have a EAC have him give your cells a quick cleaning as well since he's there already, when they clean them it's done with the coil in place where he just peels off the back side of the plenum where the coil is located and sprays them down let it soak and rinse and call it a day. When he's there ask if he will sell you a gallon or a couple of spray cans of the Triple D for your EAC to clean the cells with. It's a good product IMO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
    Posts
    1,582
    Oh, I forgot to reply to your question, stay away from any and all Duct cleaning companies and either call the company who did your orginal install for your equipment or some other company to have them come and clean the coil. If I were you I would let it go until the spring next year when you can kill 2 birds with one stone sort of speak and have them check your entire system out by having them do a tune up and do the cleaning one bill instead of possibly having them come out for a second time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Parma, OH
    Posts
    372
    I spoke with one of our experts, and as these others would attest, this is a job best left to a professional. There are too many issues related to coil damage, fumes, or water drainage that pets might drink. Fins could become bent, or worst case, something could cause the refrigerant charge to escape the coil.

    Tell your contractor exactly what you want them to do.
    Terry McIver, executive editor, Contracting Business magazine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    103
    Yes I don't want to mess with it myself and risk doing any damage, but you've raised a few questions for me:

    How can he rinse the indoor air handler parts he cleans with the triple-D? Where will the run off water go? The inside of that handler, at least before the filter and coils is lined with black fiberglass noise-reduction batting. I would thing I wouldn't want him getting that wet at all.

    What are "cells?"

    What's an "EAC?"

    Should I avoid duct cleaning companies even for duct cleaning?

    This is a heatpump system, so I don't think I need to wait until spring. If anything I'd like to get and dust and mold out of there before I turn on the humidifier. But what exactly are they supposed to do during a "tune-up." I always expect them to do some actual work, but all the places I;ve had come out ever do is check the coolant charge and run the system. No cleaning, lubing, or adjusting going on at all

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Parma, OH
    Posts
    372
    I can't speak to the product, since I'm not a contractor.

    However, only a qualified, licensed HVAC contractor can give you the best advice.

    Here's a list of the procedures performed during a "tune up," also known as a "clean and check."

    1. Inspect and tighten all electrical connections and terminals.
    2. Clean and adjust main gas burners.
    3. Clean and adjust ignition/pilot assembly.
    4. Thoroughly brush and vacuum clean the heat-exchanger(s) and combustion chambers.
    5. Visual inspection of heat-exchanger(s) & combustion chambers for cracks, rusting, or problem areas.
    6. Vacuum out blower compartment; return airdrop, and surrounding area.
    7. Inspect the flue assembly and test flue gas drafting mechanism.
    8. Test and inspect all furnace safety controls.
    9. Test and adjust gas pressure.
    10. Replace or clean standard air filters.
    11. Clean blower motor, drive mechanism and fan assembly.
    12. Lubricate all fan motors and all moving parts.
    13. Adjust all dampers and set proper blower speed(s).
    14. Clean, level, test, and calibrate thermostat.
    15. Measure and record heating system output.
    16. Inspect and test thermocouple output as well as pilot safety switch.
    17. Measure electrical voltage and amperage.
    18. Inspect and test all system transformers, relays, contactors, and controls.
    19. Repair minor air leaks in plenum and return airdrop.
    20. Perform a complete and thorough, room-by-room, electronic carbon monoxide check of the entire house.
    21. Advise you on other ways to reduce energy consumption, improve safety and enhance comfort.
    Visit this website. It contains a contractor locator that will help you find an ACCA member contractor. http://www.acca.org/contractors/
    Terry McIver, executive editor, Contracting Business magazine.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    103
    I love these lists of what contractors are supposed to do. They didn't do any of that stuff. I don't have a gas system, but still, there's a lot on there that they could have done. I don't know who makes these lists up and who actually follows them. To do all of that work would take few hours and I doubt any company would charge you the normal $60 - $80 tune-up fee for all of that work. Why is it so hard to find a company that actually cares about their work and does a thorough job?

    I still don't understand how they could possibly chemically wash and rinse the coil and fan within the indoor airhandler.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Parma, OH
    Posts
    372
    The lists are made up by the contractors who are among the best in the business. Again, by visiting the acca.org website, you will have a better chance of landing a good contractor. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. If they're all standard, safe procedures, they should make it happen.
    Terry McIver, executive editor, Contracting Business magazine.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event