Your summer comfort depends on having a reliable cooling system, but you may not realize that clean A/C coils have a major impact on your system’s performance. An air conditioner has two sets of coils that work in tandem to capture heat indoors and send it outside:
- Evaporator coil — This coil of copper tubing is situated inside the air handler unit next to the blower fan. As the fan sends warm indoor air over the evaporator, cold refrigerant flowing through the coil transforms into a gas and absorbs heat from the air.
- Condenser coil — This second coil of tubing is located inside the outdoor unit with the compressor. As hot refrigerant in gas form moves through the coil, it reverts back to a liquid and releases the heat it contains into the air.
How Dirty Coils Impact A/C Performance
When dirt builds up on the coils, its insulating effect makes the absorption and release of heat less efficient. The buildup affects the system’s performance in other ways too:
- Any drop in efficiency means the A/C uses more energy, so your cooling costs rise as well.
- Inefficient operation raises the temperature and pressure inside the HVAC system, and this can reduce its cooling capacity significantly.
- If they’re not addressed, a higher internal pressure and temperature can degrade the compressor’s lubricant over time and cause a premature failure.
Taking the following steps can help you avoid the problems caused by dirty coils:
- Check the system’s air filter monthly throughout the cooling season and replace it when you see any dirt accumulation to help keep the condenser coil clean.
- Have the A/C professionally serviced each spring. During a maintenance visit, a technician cleans the coils using the latest industry tools and techniques, such as a specialized vacuum, a pressure washer and foaming detergent.
- Once a month, open the outdoor condenser cabinet and rinse any dust buildup from the coil using a gentle spray of the garden hose.
To learn more about the importance of clean A/C coils, contact the Grand Traverse County home comfort pros at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about A/C coils and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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