Flushing Car A/C System With Alcohol

Flushing Car A/C System With Alcohol

Automobile air conditioning systems are susceptible to debris that can become trapped inside, inhibiting their performance. The solution to the problem is flushing the car’s A/C system with alcohol, but how do you do it? Keep reading to find out.

What Is The Advantage of Flushing?

The first advantage is cost. A mechanic will charge you for labor, but with a little bit of knowledge, time, and elbow grease you can do it yourself and save money. The second advantage of flushing is that it is a straightforward method for eliminating impurities and will prevent damage to critical A/C parts that would cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix if they broke down.  However, do not flush your expansion valve, orifice tube, or accumulator or you could damage them.

Empty The Refrigerant And Disconnect Things

Empty the refrigerant within your vehicle’s A/C system by adhering to established manufacturer guidelines. Once this is done, you’ll next want to disconnect every pipe from parts you intend to flush, beginning with your orifice tube, which can be found near the evaporator or liquid line. Additionally, extract any hoses which could get in your way.

Flush Your Condenser

Find the condenser’s high side-based inlet, then pour alcohol inside it and begin adding compressed air within. You’ll want to avoid spilling the alcohol by finding a way to catch it when some fall from the outlet port of the condenser. The best way to accomplish this is with a clean cloth or rag. Continue pressurizing your condenser until no contaminant traces are left inside the solvent.

Flush Your Evaporator

Next, you’ll want to flush your evaporator, and to do this you simply have to follow the same steps used for flushing the condenser, such as pouring alcohol into the evaporator’s higher side inlet then adding compressed air flow until every bit of debris is removed.

During flushing, you might want to consider backflushing. To do this, all you have to do is flush from your inlet into your outlet on the condenser and evaporator to force debris out. Then, flush both units continuously from the outlet into the inlet to confirm all the grime has been dislodged.

Recharge Your Evaporator

This is the final step. Once all the grime has been eliminated and flushed out, you’ll want to reassemble everything, then return the refrigerant and test the A/C to verify that it’s cooling properly.

Additional Tips And Guidelines

While numerous brands of alcohol will work, denatured alcohol is best because it doesn’t leave behind residue which could compromise oil viscosity and possibly damage the compressor. Some people also like mineral spirits because they are affordable and effective.

It is critically important to always wear protection, especially over your eyes. If the flushing liquid splashes into your face and gets into your eyes it can create irritation or even permanent damage. Durable rubber gloves should also be worn to prevent injury or irritation to your hands. Ideally, the gloves should be cut-proof since automobile A/C systems do contain sharp metallic components that can cause scratches and cuts.