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Cleaning and disinfection of condensers and evaporators

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In recent years, there has been growing attention to maintaining clean air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. What is important, the care of both the companies that inspect and service the installation, as well as their users themselves.

Certainly it is a positive trend. The presence of various types of pollutants can cause not only an unsightly appearance but, above all, a deterioration of work efficiency, increased energy consumption and even serious damage to the equipment (eg compressor damage). On the other hand, it is also the reason for unpleasant odors and the possibility of numerous diseases and ailments caused by air contaminated by microorganisms that multiply in air-conditioning and refrigeration installations. In an extreme case, they can even be the cause of death.

When talking about cleaning and disinfecting refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, it is necessary to distinguish the cleaning of condensers from steam cleaners – because both these elements of the system, due to their function and location, require a different approach.


To put it briefly, the role of the condenser is to give away the heat “taken” from the cooled rooms and created during compression. The efficiency of this function depends to a large extent on the efficiency of heat exchange between the condenser and the environment.

Because the condenser is placed outside the room, it is exposed to a much higher amount of contamination than the evaporator. It is both dust and dust deposited with air (eg due to atmospheric precipitation), as well as numerous organic solid particles – pollen and plant particles, dead insects, bird feathers, fur etc. These impurities are covered with sipes on one side and other elements of the condenser, creating a layer of thermal insulation on them, on the other they clog the intercostal spaces, seriously limiting the air flow. Both of them lead to a significant reduction in heat transfer, which in turn causes a decrease in the condenser efficiency. In order to meet the given cooling parameters, the load on the compressor increases, which must last longer and / or with increased efficiency. This, in turn, implies further negative consequences:

  • higher energy consumption (even by several dozen percent)
  • louder work
  • greater failure rate
  • reduction of the total life of the device

And finally, it makes our device, despite working at the highest “revolutions”, does not provide cooling at the level required by us.

Regular cleaning of the device does not require a lot of time, it does not involve a serious cost – and certainly the above-mentioned effects of lack of due care for cleanliness will cost much more (energy, breakdowns, time of use).

Sometimes due to the location of the condenser, it is particularly exposed to certain specific impurities. This is the case with devices operating in kitchens, e.g. restaurants or hotels. Typical kitchen fumes are deposited on them, including hard-to-remove fats. The average, even specialized agent may not cope with such strong greasing. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention that the used preparation is adequate to the type and intensity of dirt.

The special cleaning agents of the American Rectorseal concern, which have been present in our offer, have been doing extremely well with all contamination impurities. The offer includes both very strong preparations, such as Con-Coil (mainly for removing organic solid particles) or Renewz (in particular recommended for removing kitchen fats), as well as universal agents with milder effects: Coil-Rite, Foam-A-Coil and Clean-N-Safe.


The evaporator sucks in the room air, which – flowing between its fins – is cooled down and returned to the room.

The contamination of the evaporator’s blades reduces heat transfer and leads to increased pressure in the system. This results in the same consequences as those described above, relating to soiled condensers – higher energy consumption, more frequent failures, etc.

In the case of evaporators, we usually have to deal with other types of contamination than is the case with condensers. These are usually dust, dust, etc. – which, however, due to the current moisture, can “effectively” wrap the fins and other evaporator elements.

Due to the fact that the evaporator is installed in a room, milder cleaning agents are used to clean it. It is safer, but usually there is no need to use strong resources. Usually, because if the evaporator is mounted in places with increased presence of certain impurities, it may be necessary to use preparations with a stronger effect. This applies, for example, to evaporators in kitchens, where a large amount of fat deposits accumulates.

In the case of evaporators, removal of dirt is only one aspect of the broadly understood purity. The right temperature and humidity – with which we are dealing here, create ideal conditions for the growth of mold, fungi and bacteria. And this is a real threat to the health of people staying in air-conditioned rooms. Bacteria that develop in evaporators can lead to many – also very serious – diseases, including:

  • legionellosis, also known as “Legionnaires’ disease, caused by Legionella pneumophila; this disease in 20% of cases ends in death and, according to estimates, in Poland only in 1 to 5% of cases is correctly diagnosed
  • meningitis and cerebral abscesses, bacteraemia with subsequent sepsis – caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • infections of the urinary tract, meningitis in newborns, food poisoning, peritonitis, sepsis, sepsis – caused by E. Coli bacteria (these bacteria are the most common reason for sepsis)
  • skin infections, myocarditis, acute endocarditis, meningitis, brain abscesses, phlebitis, urinary tract infections and many other diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus
  • endocarditis, urinary tract infections, caused by Enterococcus HiraeMicrobes developing in evaporators can also cause allergies and so-called Sick Building Syndrome, which manifests itself with headaches and dizziness, fatigue, fainting, irritation of the mucous membranes and other ailments. It is also a source of unpleasant odor, which can effectively discourage the inclusion of the air conditioner even on a hot day.

Bacteria and other microorganisms develop not only inside the evaporator, but also – and even above all – in condensate drainage systems, in particular in drip trays (if they are of course used in a given system) – where the conditions for their multiplication are extremely beneficial.

For the above reasons, for cleaning evaporators (and condensate systems), use preparations with biocidal properties, eliminating harmful microorganisms, in particular bacteria and fungi.

Coil Disinfectant, manufactured by Rectorseal Corporation, has been such a specialized means for years on the Polish market. Effectively cleans and disinfects surfaces, destroys bacteria and fungi, inhibiting mold growth. Eliminates unpleasant odor and deodorises. It can be used for surfaces that come into contact with food, which makes it ideal for shops, gastronomy and the food industry. And if you just want to clean the evaporator you can successfully use measures such as Clean-N-Safe, Coil-Rite and Foam-A-Coil. The last two perfectly cope, among others with cleaning of kitchen fats and other fatty deposits accumulated on exchangers.


Finally, we should mention the cleaning of filters installed in evaporators of air conditioners. Consequences of contaminated filters are analogous to those described above – limitation of air flow, leading to a decrease in air conditioner efficiency, increased energy consumption and equipment failures, accumulation and development of microorganisms, unpleasant odors, etc. Cleaning the filters does not require the intervention of a specialized service. For this purpose, you can use a vacuum cleaner or a brush, the filters can also be washed with water – clean or with a mild detergent. It is also advisable to disinfect them with a suitable disinfectant (eg Coil Disinfectant mentioned above). However, this applies to standard filters, most other filters, such as bactericidal, air-conditioning or odor absorbing (if the air conditioner is equipped with it), is disposable and after the time of operation specified by the manufacturer, they should simply be replaced.

The above-mentioned Coil Disinfectant is ideal for disinfecting and cleaning air filters.

Summing up, regular and effective cleaning of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment means not only greater aesthetics but, above all, more efficient, more efficient and longer-lasting devices and lower energy costs. It also means taking care of your own health – evaporators in air-conditioning and refrigeration installations are a perfect environment for the development of fungi, molds, bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause various health problems.

Some maintenance activities can be performed by the user himself, others should be taken care of by a specialized service. The effectiveness of cleaning and disinfection will largely depend on the type of preparations used for this purpose. The longest-serving specialist means for cleaning and disinfection of evaporators and condensers (and other elements of refrigeration and air conditioning systems) on the Polish market are the already mentioned Rectorseal products. They have already gained the recognition of many professionals, they also have the necessary permits and approvals – which ensures that their use will be both safe and acceptable under applicable law.

More information on Rectorseal air conditioning products can be found in the Offer section and also on our website www.czystyuklad.pl (polish only).

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