I have a 20 year old heating and cooling system. I was able to remove an inspection panel and clean the backside of the evaporator coils.

To clean the front, it appears the only way I will be able to is if I remove the heat exchanger from the natural gas portion of the furnace. I disconnected the natural gas and turned off the power. I was able to remove the portion that supplies natural gas.

I then removed about ~15 screws around the perimeter of the heat exchanger. However, there is no clearance between it and the top of the stamped steel cabinet. Any attempt to remove it just results in it getting caught on stuff and wedged at odd angles. There is no possible way that is was installed like this. It appears the top of the cabinet is literally resting on this now.

Is it likely that over the years it has become only thing holding my A/C unit together? Should I give up on trying to remove it if it is this bad of condition? I'd like to clean those evaporator coils, but it seems that trying to get this apart is just going to be destructive overall.

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2 Answers 2


Firefox, firebox who cares (it's just a typo). But why would you take the furnace apart to clean the evaporator coil. Does it really need to be cleaned. If really needs to be cleaned, there are service companies in business to do this type of work and to protect people from themselves. I and many others on this site have worked on furnaces and A/C units for many years and I don't think any of them have ever taken a furnace apart to clean an evaporator coil. Please call a licensed furnace service company to correct the mistakes you are making and save your family from a pending disaster. If you do not know what you are doing PLEASE PLEASE call for help.


The heat exchanger is sealed to keep noxious / potentially lethal gasses out of the living quarters and the Firebox sealed. If you took the air plenum off you could blow air over it. To help remove dust buildup. Don't try to open the chamber .

  • If there is a firefox in my heater exchanger, I think I have bigger problems.
    – Eric Urban
    Aug 8, 2017 at 0:02

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