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Caring for your coils

Keeping your air conditioning system’s coils and condensate trays clean is essential if you want to maintain a pleasant, healthy indoor environment – and avoid additional costs. Dirt on coils reduces system efficiency, which means bigger energy bills and shorter component life. It also acts as a breeding ground for the microbes that cause nasty smells, allergic reactions and airborne transmission of diseases. In other words, poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

To understand why this should be, let’s take a quick look at how and where dirt accumulates. A typical air conditioning system has an indoor cooling coil (evaporator) and an outdoor condensing coil (condenser) – both of which ‘attract’ dirt.

The building’s air is constantly circulated through the evaporator coil. Dirt in the air will stick to its cooling surfaces as it passes over them. To minimise this, and to help prevent the recirculation of airborne dirt, a filter is often fitted. Sadly, filters are rarely 100% efficient – particularly when it comes to stopping very small items such as dust and microbes. Dirt on the evaporator coil, and in the moist environment of its associated condensate tray, is the main habitat in the system for microbes.

The job of an air conditioning condenser is to dissipate heat absorbed from the refrigerant. The coil may be air-cooled or water-cooled and will accumulate dirt just as an evaporator does. If the condenser is positioned indoors – in a large warehouse, for example – it can harbour microbes that affect IAQ. (Incidentally, the refrigeration condensing units found in kitchens can also be breeding grounds if they are dirty.)

The dirt coating any air conditioning coil’s surfaces acts as an insulating blanket, which seriously affects its ability to function effectively. To achieve the same cooling effect, your system has to work harder. This uses more energy and puts extra pressure on its components – particularly the compressor, which is an expensive item to replace.

Preventative maintenance is the key
The simple answer to all of these problems is preventative maintenance – but, of course, AC&R systems are complex and their circumstances vary greatly between applications. To be fully effective, your cleaning and care regime must be planned carefully, using treatments developed specifically for each purpose.

Advanced Engineering is the leader in this field and offers a comprehensive range of specialised products to meet every need. To help you find the perfect solutions in each case, we also provide full explanatory literature, advice and even free site surveys – with no obligation.

The following case study will give an idea of what needs to be considered. It concerns our visit to Old Trafford to help Manchester United Group Property Services sort out some AC&R maintenance problems.

Everyone there appreciated that it was essential to avoid the build-up of contamination within all of the club’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. In fact, they were already using coil cleaners. What they wanted from us was correct advice on an effective cleaning regime and on specific products for each different application.

We viewed systems throughout the stadium, including the kitchen, restaurant areas, boxes and supporters’ areas. We then specified appropriate cleaners for each unit, taking into consideration the applications and working environments.

We recommended the following:

EnviroCoil (environmentally friendly, general purpose) for all condensing units
HydroCoil (heavy duty) for heavily soiled evaporators
CondenCide (disinfectant/cleaner) for all cooling coils
GreaseGobbler (solvent cleaner) for kitchen areas
StayClean (long-lasting treatment) to avoid smelly coils in restaurants and VIP boxes.
StayClean Strips (long-lasting treatment) to prevent condensate contamination problems in all air handling units
EasyFinish (surface cleaner) to make heavily soiled diffusers and cases visibly clean

Our recommendations are now being built into a regular programme of coil cleaning. But remember, every case is different, and we will be delighted to advise you on the best treatments for your particular system and environment. If you would like further information on coil care, or a FREE site survey, please contact us at:

Advanced Engineering Ltd, Guardian House, Stroudley Road , Basingstoke , Hants , RG24 8NL , UK . Tel: +44 (0) 1256 460300. Fax: +44 (0)1256 462266. Email: [email protected] or visit the Advanced website www.advancedengineering.co.uk.

Two-stage treatment of coils with PreClean and StayClean will give lasting protection from corrosion, dirt and microbes. Correctly applied, StayClean will keep the coil free of microbes and smells for up to six months.

For both condensers and evaporators, EnviroCoil is an effective, safe and environmentally friendly general purpose cleaner. This is just one of a huge range of products from Advanced Engineering which offer a specialised solution for every situation.