How to Clean Heat Pump Coils Without Damaging Them

Heat pumps are essential for maintaining a year-round comfortable indoor environment. They expertly transfer heat between the indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing our residences to be cooled or heated as necessary. Dust, grime, and detritus can accumulate on the heat pump coils over time, reducing their efficiency and possibly causing damage. 

This article will discuss effective methods on how to clean heat pump coils without causing damage, thereby ensuring optimal performance and longevity of your heat pump system.

Understanding the heat pump coil 

Before knowing how to clean heat pump coils, it is crucial to understand the two categories of heat pump coils: indoor coils and condenser coils. The air handler contains the indoor coils, while the condenser coils are located in the outdoor unit. Both of these coils are indispensable for heat transfer during the cooling and heating cycles. Let us first take a look at how to clean indoor heat pump coils.

Cleaning indoor heat pump coils

To maintain the efficiency of your heat pump system, it’s important to learn how to clean heat pump indoor coils effectively. Here is a step-by-step guide to assist with the procedure:

Turn off the power


Start by turning off the heat pump system’s power supply. This guarantees your safety throughout the cleaning procedure.

Access the indoor coils

Determine the location of the access panel to the interior coils. Typically, the panel is located near the air handler machine. To acquire access to the coils, remove the screws and fasteners.

Remove loose debris

Check the coils carefully and remove any loose debris, such as dust, foliage, or animal fur. To delicately clear the surface, you can use a gentle brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.

Apply a coil cleaner

Utilize a coil cleanser designed specifically for heat pump coils. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that the cleaner is appropriate for your coil type. Avoid using caustic chemicals and abrasive substances that could potentially damage the coils.

Brush away dirt and debris

Scrub the coils with a gentle brush or a coil cleaning brush to remove any stubborn grime or debris. Pay strict attention to the fins, as they are fragile and prone to breaking.

Rinse with water


After cleaning the coils, thoroughly cleanse them with water. Use a delicate water stream to prevent damaging the coils. Ensure that all cleansing solutions and grime have been thoroughly removed.

Let it dry

Before reassembling the access panel, let the coils dry thoroughly. The presence of moisture on the coils can result in the growth of mold or mildew.

Cleaning Condenser Coils on Heat Pumps

The outdoor unit’s condenser coils are exposed to the elements and can collect grime, foliage, and other debris. To ensure optimal performance, it’s also essential to know how to clean heat pump condenser coils properly. Here’s how to safely clean them:

Turn off the power

As you would when scrubbing indoor coils, turn off the heat pump’s power supply to assure your safety.

Remove external debris

outdoor unit of a heat pump heating system surrounded by flowers

Debris such as leaves, vegetation, and branches must be removed from the area encircling the outdoor unit. So they will be prevented from getting into the coils during the cleaning procedure.

Spray the coils with water

Using a garden sprinkler equipped with a spray nozzle, lightly spray the condenser coils with water. The water pressure should be adequate for removing grime and debris without causing damage to the coils. The delicate fins can be deformed or flattened if you use a pressure washer.

If necessary, use a coil cleaner

If the coils are exceptionally dirty, you can use a coil cleaner designed specifically for condenser coils. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and ensure that the cleaner is compatible with your coils.

Rinse completely

After applying coil cleaner, thoroughly cleanse the condenser coils with water. Ensure that all cleansing solution and grime are removed from the coils. Ensure the finned surface is clear of any obstructions by paying close attention to it.

Check the fins

After cleaning the coils, observe the fins for any bowed or damaged areas. Use a fin comb or gentle brush to delicately realign any bowed fins. This step helps to maintain the coils’ correct ventilation.

Let it dry

Allow sufficient time for the condenser coils to properly air-dry before turning the power back on to the heat pump system. This guarantees that there is no moisture left behind, which eliminates a potential source of corrosion or other problems.

Tips on cleaning heat pump coils

It’s helpful to know some tips on cleaning heat pump coils. Let us have a look.

Preventive maintenance

It is recommended that you clean the heat pump coils at least once a year, or more frequently as required by the environment. Regular maintenance prevents the buildup of grime and detritus, thereby ensuring optimal performance.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and suggestions when cleansing your heat pump. Different coil manufacturers may have different cleansing instructions or requirements.

Utilize gentle cleaning techniques

When cleansing the coils, avoid using abrasive materials, caustic chemicals, and excessive water pressure. These can cause damage to the heat pump’s fins and other components.

Safety first

Before beginning any cleansing process, ensure that the heat pump system’s power supply is turned off. This decreases the likelihood of an electrical shock or other catastrophe occurring during the cleaning procedure.

Consider professional cleaning

Installation service of an air conditioner heat exchanger outdoor unit

Consider employing a qualified HVAC technician if you are unsure of how to clean the heat pump coils or if you prefer to have a professional handle the task. They have the knowledge and specialized equipment to safely and effectively clear the coils.


Cleaning the heat pump coils is an essential maintenance task that guarantees the system’s optimal performance and durability. You can safely clean both the indoor and condenser coils by following the article’s step-by-step instructions. 

During the cleansing process, remember to exercise caution, observe the manufacturer’s instructions, and prioritize safety. Regular maintenance and cleaning of heat pump coils will help maintain the system’s efficiency, allowing you to enjoy comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year.

Autumn Air offers HVAC services that are carried out in a top-notch manner, and you may want to consider us if you need your system serviced. You may schedule our services online here or call us at (602) 266-5247.