Why Do You Need to Clean AC Coils?
The short answer is to improve your system’s efficiency. AC coils when caked in dirt or grime are not able to transfer heat. This means that the system needs to run longer and work twice as hard to get the job done during those changing Bay Area weather systems. You may be looking at costly repair bills and an imminent breakdown if you do not invest in a little preventative maintenance.
What happens if you don’t have your AC coils cleaned?
This is what happens when debris or dirt builds up on the air conditioning unit’s condenser and evaporator coil.
- System loses its efficiency
Evaporator coils when dirty cannot absorb adequate amounts of heat. The system may have to run almost consistently to achieve a comfortable temperature.
- Consumes more energy
Your air conditioner would drive up your utility bills by running more. If you have recently noticed a spike, it may well be because of dirty coils.
- Faster wear and tear
Excess pressure, heat, and increased run time will result in a faster degradation of AC moving parts. You would soon have multiple problems with belts, fan, and other components.
- Refrigerant may leak
Corrosion can occur on the outside of grimy AC coils. This is particularly true for outdoor condenser coils that are exposed to exhaust fumes, smog, and other pollutants. Over a period of time, corrosion would cause holes and cracks in the coils, which may cause the refrigerant to leak out. Your system’s ability to cool would significantly decrease.
- Before time system replacement
Without functioning coils, refrigerant is unable to convert from liquid to gas. This can put increased strain on the compressor which is the single most important part in your air conditioning unit. You may need a system replacement if the compressor goes or an expensive repair at best.
And, this is not it. You would have to go without your AC for a few weeks or longer while you purchase a new system and have it installed or wait for repairs. Don’t let things reach a point of no return. Take care of your coil problem right away.
How many times do AC coils need cleaning?
Ideally, your service vendor would clean both evaporator and condenser coils as part of routine preventative maintenance. If you don’t have a maintenance contract, you should get someone on ad hoc basis to take a look at your entire air conditioning unit at least twice a year.
There are a number of factors that determine the frequency:
- Condition and age
Your equipment may be corroded if you have not been routinely maintaining it. Corrosion means more debris.
Is the outdoor unit at street level with higher pollution levels? Is the unit exposed to debris in the air from construction activities or exhaust from nearby factories and kitchens? If yes, you would have to get them cleaned more often.
If your system remains on 24/7, you would need frequent cleaning.
Coil cleaning is not a DIY task
You need to call in the professionals regardless of how tempted you get to clean the coils yourself. Small fins on the outside unit are fragile and sensitive. The wrong type of cleaner or the wrong pressure may damage the fins.