Frequently Asked Questions about Air Conditioning Coil Fins

Directly underneath the metal that houses your air conditioning unit is a wave-like metal surface. If you look between the slits in your air conditioner, you are looking at this surface. It generally has similar dips and valleys to a filter, but is made from aluminum or copper. This part of the air conditioning unit is referred to as the coil fin. The coil fin plays an important role in your air conditioning unit. However, many homeowners don't understand what its purpose is or how to maintain it. Learning more about this part will help you to understand its function as well as care for it. This can help your unit run efficiently. Here are a few frequently asked questions you may have about your air conditioning system's coil fins.

What Does a Coil Fin Do?

The primary purpose of a coil fin is to protect and house the evaporator coils. The fin blocks out rocks, sticks, and other debris that may be drawn into the unit from hitting the coils. The coils are responsible for housing refrigerant and coil air, so if they are damaged, your unit may be unable to cool. This is why the fins are so important to the unit.

What Happens If a Coil Fin Is Not Maintained?

As coil fins protect the evaporator coils, they can become dirty and/or dinged and bent. The biggest problem with this is that air may not be able to flow into your air conditioning unit as it should if debris or bent fins are impeding the air's path. If there is not enough air coming into the unit, there may not be enough air to cool and then blow in your home. Because of this, routine maintenance to clean the coil fins and unbend any bent fins is important. Luckily, this is a task the average homeowner can complete on their own.

What Are the Signs Coil Fins Needs Maintenance?

The exterior of your air conditioning unit has slits or gaps in it. These slits allow air to enter your air conditioning unit. Directly under these slits are the coil fins. The easiest way to tell when your coil fins need maintenance is to look at the fins through the slits. If you see debris, such as grass or dirt, built up on the fins, it needs to be cleaned. If you notice the wavy pattern of the fin is off and several fins look bent or out of place, the fin needs maintenance.

How Can the Coil Fins Be Cleaned and Straightened?

If your coil fins need to be cleaned or straightened, follow these steps to complete this task:

  1. Shut off the electricity for the air conditioning unit. If the unit is hot to the touch, allow it to cool before touching it.
  2. Access your coil fins. This process is going to vary based on the type and manufacturer of your air conditioning unit. Some air conditioners have access doors, while others require you to remove the metal housing panels. Always read your manufacturer's owner's manual to find out how to access the coil fins in your air conditioning unit.
  3. Spray the coil fins with water using your hose. This will remove debris and buildup.
  4. Purchase a condenser coil cleaner from your local home improvement or hardware store. Water down the cleaner with water per the instructions on the bottle. This type of cleaner has a high pH value, which removes stubborn buildup. However, it can also burn your skin, so wear gloves and eye gear when using this cleaner.
  5. Coat the coil fins with the condenser coil cleaner. Leave it on for about five minutes, or until the dirt begins to loosen. Rinse it away with a hose. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, as the cleaner can eat away at the metal if it is not removed.
  6. Allow the coil fins to dry.
  7. Purchase a coil fin comb. Gently comb the peaks and valleys, pushing into place any dented or distorted fins. Continue this process on the entire surface until all of the peaks and valleys are aligned and straight.

The frequency with which you will need to clean and straighten your coil fins varies based on how much debris gets into your unit. However, looking at the fins frequently will help you to know when yours are in need of maintenance. If you are unsure if your coil fins need to be maintained or you feel uncomfortable maintaining them yourself, an air conditioning repair and service company can help you. They can inspect the unit and let you know what maintenance is needed and then perform that maintenance, helping to ensure your air conditioning unit is running smoothly and efficiently. If you need help from a professional, find one through a website like

About Me

Keeping Kids Comfortable

I grew up in a small, rural town. The elementary school I attended contained less than two hundred students. And, this small school educated children from kindergarten to the seventh grade. The actual school building was extremely old and run down. Because I grew up in the southern United States, the spring and summer months were often extremely hot and humid. Unfortunately, the air conditioning system at my school was hopelessly inadequate. I remember sweating to the point of dehydration inside the classroom on a number of occasions. Whenever I was hot, I didn’t feel much like paying attention to my teachers. If you are the principle of a school, you should do everything in your power to keep your students cool and comfortable during the warm weather months. On this blog, you will discover the best HVAC systems to install in schools.