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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    822

    Coil cleaning... Compressed air or water?

    I'm just wondering what other companies are doing when they clean the coils on a RTU. Seems like we usually use compressed air on the condenser coil and some leave in coil cleaner on the evaporate coil. If there is any really bad we will first use a brush.

    I'm just a first year that has not gone to school yet for HVAC but it seems to me that we should be using coil cleaner and water. We use air mainly due to the fact the we don't often see hose bibs on the roofs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    southern california
    Posts
    535
    Water would be the preferred choice. As far as chemicals, one must choose the correct one and dilute with water to mfg. specifications. It is very important to thoroughly rinse all residual chemicals from coil surface. Another point is water pressure, use only enough to penetrate fins, too much pressure will damage the coil and cause problems with heat transfer(damaged fins which cannot be repaired).

  3. #3
    I use water on my RTU's. If it not feasible, then I use a pesticide spray bottle with a cleaning solution diluted in water. After I've done that, I'll spray it down with clean water (from the same spray bottle) and blow it down with compressed air. Using a fin comb as necessary.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Posts
    49
    I personally do not recommend coil cleaner on a condenser coil.. Only if it was subject to grease or oil coating. An then it would have to be thoroughly rinsed with water. Evap coils need the proper mix of water/cleaner to be effective and also rinsed thoroughly. For areas with no water near, we use the refillable fire extinguisher bottles that hold about 3-5 gallons of water...fill them up and pressurize with compressed air. Works great for evap, condenser coils, chill water coils, flush out large AHU drain pans and drain lines.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    23
    Most units we use water/hydrofluoric acid (be careful), then power-washer. Coils over four inch we've been using steam with great results.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,295
    I would never recommend using a power washer on a coil. I dont care what pressure is coming out the wand. I use a pump sprayer that you can purchase at home depot and a water hose with a spray nozzle on the end of it. I will only use cleaner if they coils are rather dirty and caked with junk that a water hose wont remove.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    822
    Quote Originally Posted by Gunn427 View Post
    Most units we use water/hydrofluoric acid (be careful), then power-washer. Coils over four inch we've been using steam with great results.
    What do you use for the steam?

    We use the pesticide bottles as well. I assume you would use leave in coil cleaner on fan coils located in a ceiling. I still rinse the leave in cleaner to be safe though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    23
    We have a contractor for the steam, nice trailer set-up with three hundred feet of hose. We only use this for very thick coils, Some of our plant units are six inches thick. We had a new contract a few years ago with plugged coils, we tried everything, then steam, knocked 70lb off the head and the plant back under control within 24hrs. As far as ceiling stuff we mainly handle commercial industrial. Alki-foam works best when used safely. The pressure washer is required when running long hose distances, I use the pesticide sprayer for applying cleaner. Set the pressure washer for a wide fan so as not to damage fin but still get all the way through the coil. I don't know of a decent portable steam unit but it would be nice for fan coils or resi furnaces.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    18,236
    We came to the conclusion that a power washer IS the way to go. Some experience and watching one of us quickly gets the new guys up to speed on how to use it without damaging the fins.

    We use blue alkali cleaner, such as Nu-Brite, one part cleaner and two parts water. You have to play with the mixing valve a little to get that ratio.

    Perhaps THE most important part is learning how to split the multiple player coils. Two layers are frequently used, but some Tranes have three layers.

    Rinsing until clear water with no bubbles runs off is paramount.

    Green cleaner is usually OK for the evaps, but bad ones really need blue cleaner as well. I use sheet metal and a shop vac to keep foam from going down the return air duct.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    822
    Quote Originally Posted by Gunn427 View Post
    We have a contractor for the steam, nice trailer set-up with three hundred feet of hose. We only use this for very thick coils, Some of our plant units are six inches thick. We had a new contract a few years ago with plugged coils, we tried everything, then steam, knocked 70lb off the head and the plant back under control within 24hrs. As far as ceiling stuff we mainly handle commercial industrial. Alki-foam works best when used safely. The pressure washer is required when running long hose distances, I use the pesticide sprayer for applying cleaner. Set the pressure washer for a wide fan so as not to damage fin but still get all the way through the coil. I don't know of a decent portable steam unit but it would be nice for fan coils or resi furnaces.
    Thank for the reply i was picturing something like this for some reason....


    http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows...amCleaners.jsp

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    822
    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post

    Green cleaner is usually OK for the evaps, but bad ones really need blue cleaner as well. I use sheet metal and a shop vac to keep foam from going down the return air duct.
    Good idea with the sheet metal I will try that.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    23
    More like..[IMG]www.slickbar.com/slickbar/images/steam_pressure_washer,jpg[/IMG]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    18,236
    Quote Originally Posted by eddiegoodfellar View Post
    Good idea with the sheet metal I will try that.

    I lay the bottom edge of the pieces (usually two pieces of panning) in the lip of the condensate pan at the evap coil base, and suck the foam off the panning to keep it out of the duct.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







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