Condenser Coil Cleaning: Low-Cost Option To Save Energy

By Richard Fennelly, CoilPod, LLC

The vast majority of building owners who have invested 5 or 6 figures for good, reliable roof-top heating and/or cooling units do not invest so wisely in the area of maintenance. Many operators have informal or no maintenance procedures to ensure that the equipment you paid so much for will operate properly, at a high efficiency, and for a long time before needing replacement. One common, but critical, example are self-contained condenser coils that are not cleaned on a regular basis under a preventative maintenance protocol. They are allowed to run dirty, causing more electric usage than necessary to operate. This is not just wasteful, but in an age of rising energy costs, needlessly expensive. Investing in cleaning the coils will result in significant energy cost savings.

One refrigeration expert recently stated: “Eighty percent of operators do nothing, no maintenance, ever. Maybe 20% do some, but not enough”. Source: Refrigeration Magazine December, 2015.

Coils need cleaning at least quarterly for the following benefits:
(a) reduced electrical usage;
(b) reduced service calls; and
(c) prolonged equipment life.
Dirty coils are the main reason for service calls. With routine quarterly maintenance, operators have virtually no breakdowns. Sources: Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), San Ramon, CA and Refrigeration Magazine December, 2015.

And, of course, this leads to cost savings. Exemplary yearly savings per unit if the coils are clean: Electric energy savings of from $220 to $625, depending on the type and size of unit (or from about 46% to 50% electric savings). Source: Cool Savings Project – FSTC and the City of San Francisco.

What is the best way to clean coils? Compressed air can quickly and effectively remove deeply deposited dirt/debris deep inside the coil’s structure. Source: CoilPod LLC (manufacturer of the COILPOD dust hood – described at The data presented below was developed by the Food Service Technology Center (San Ramon, CA)/City of San Francisco Environment Department and announced at the RFMA (Restaurant Facility Managers Association) and CFESA (Commercial Food Equipment Service Association) 2015 annual conventions. The electric rate used was at $0.11/KwH:

Double Door Merchandiser (6 yrs old): Dirty: $1,325/year/unit
Clean: $700/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 89.3% = $625/year/unit

Larger Double Door Fridge:                     Dirty: 24 kwh/day/unit = $950 /year/unit
Clean: 13 kwh/day/unit = $517/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 83.8% = $433/year/unit

Single Door Freezer:                                   Dirty: $546/year/unit
Clean: $289 /year/unit
Wasted Electric: 88.9% = $257/year/unit

Double Glass Door Fridge:                          Dirty: $439/year/unit
Clean: $219/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 100.5% = $220/year/unit

Similar energy usage reductions and cost savings were observed from other restaurant equipment whose coils were cleaned regularly, as presented at the 2015 RFMA meeting.

In August 2017, a summary report was released stating that a total of 10 units were examined with coil cleaning giving savings ranging widely from 2% to 49%, with the average being 17%, representing savings of $138/year-unit at $0.11/KwH. The electric rates in the NYC Metropolitan area and other large cities are significantly higher than this, meaning potential cost savings would be higher.

CoilPod, LLC is a major vendor in the coil cleaning industry. Their compressed air system helps to maintain coils and have them work optimally, using less electricity, reducing costs.

CoilPod Contact: Richard Fennelly,, 914-819-8937, for more information.