Cleaning AC Coils: Why does it Matter?
An AC that malfunctions or breaks down in the peak of a Bay Area summer will cause great inconvenience and will make indoor temperature uncomfortable. Regular cleaning and preventive maintenance keep the AC functioning smoothly.
If your AC is not cooling or making too much noise, for example; there could be a problem in one of the parts inside the system. It is also possible that there is no problem with any of the components but they are very unclean. Unclean coils and filters, for instance, can hamper cooling in a big way.
Take a look at what AC coils actually do and why is keeping them clean so paramount.
Types of AC coils
AC coils are one of the most essential components of your air conditioning system. There are two types of coils.
- Evaporator coils
These are part of the indoor unit of your AC (also called the air handler unit) and are responsible for absorbing heat and humidity from the air inside your house.
- Condenser coils
These are located in the outdoor unit of the AC and expel all the absorbed heat outside the house.
Air conditioning systems often malfunction when either of these coils have dirt or grime on them and have not been cleaned for long. As the condenser unit is located on the exterior, it is more prone to getting dirty and collecting dust, leaves, soot, and other debris.
Consequences of unclean coils
The coils transport refrigerant for cooling. A layer of dirt and grime creates a separation between the coolant and the air that blows over it, rendering the heat absorption and cooling process futile.
- The system is overworked
If the evaporator coil is dirty, it cannot absorb heat very well. This will result in your system running constantly but your house will still not be cool.
- High energy use
As the system is running all the time, you are consuming more energy. This will also majorly increase your energy bills and send monthly expenses soaring.
- Early wear and tear of parts
Your system has to face extreme heat and pressure due to over use. This will cause the various parts to wear out very soon and replacing them time and again will be costly.
- Corrosion and refrigerant leaks
If the condenser coils are covered in dust and grime, they are highly prone to corrosion, especially because they are also exposed to pollution and smog. Over time, corrosion can cause cracks and holes in the coils which will lead to refrigerant leaks.
As the refrigerant levels drop, so does the cooling capacity of your system. And it will thus, have to run for a longer period of time, trying to compensate for the temperature loss and end up in a malfunction cycle.
Research shows that if your AC coils have even a 1/100th of an inch of dirt on them, it can reduce your system’s cooling efficiency by 5 percent. Although this may not sound like a lot, it is a substantial increase in energy consumption and energy costs.