Having dirt and grime on your AC coils can make it harder for your air conditioning system to transfer heat. This means it has to run for longer periods of time and work harder to do its job, causing wear and tear to parts and using more energy. Dirty coils can also become corroded which can lead to refrigerant leaks.
It’s important to keep your AC coils clean so heat can be exchanged efficiently through the coils without being blocked by dirt and debris. Without routine maintenance on the coils, you can expect higher energy bills and consumption or your air conditioning unit overheating. In this post, the Carrollton HVAC professionals at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating will cover the basics on what an HVAC coil is and why you need to have air conditioner coil cleaning regularly.
What is the Purpose of an HVAC Coil?
There are two different types of coils located within your air conditioner: the evaporator coil and the condenser coil.
The evaporator coil is located in your indoor air conditioning unit near the air handler. When the warm air is absorbed by the indoor AC unit, it is then blown across the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil holds the chilled refrigerant, which absorbs the heat from the air to dump outside. If dirt is built up on your air conditioner’s evaporator coil, it becomes a barrier for the coils being able to absorb much heat. That being the case, all the extra heat only continues to circulate within your home.
The condenser coil is located within your outdoor unit. The job of the condenser coil is to release the heat outside after it’s carried out of your home by the refrigerant. If the coil is covered with dirt, the heat will be trapped and the air blowing back into your home will be warm.
Do You Need To Clean AC Coils?
When the outside of the coils collect layers of dirt and contaminants, the transfer of heat becomes less efficient. That can cause a number of problems that you’ll notice as they get worse.
If you ignore the signs for too long, your system can overheat and fail completely. This is why you should have your air conditioner coils cleaned before these issues become a reality.
How Often Should You Clean AC Coils?
The frequency of cleaning your air conditioner coils varies based on a few factors:
- The age and condition of the equipment – if your equipment isn’t well maintained, it may have corrosion collecting more debris
- Usage – if your system runs continuously, you’ll need to clean your air conditioner coils more frequently
- Location – you’ll need to have the coils cleaned more often if it’s close to street level where pollution levels are higher or if there’s construction going on nearby that’s releasing debris into the air
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Air Conditioning Coils?
When dirt and debris build up on your air conditioner’s evaporator coils and condenser coils, there are consequences, including frequent breakdowns, higher energy bills, a frozen evaporator coil, and an uncomfortable home.
More Frequent Breakdowns
Dirt buildup on your air conditioner’s coils forces the system to run for longer because it’s not cooling your home as efficiently as it should be. The extra pressure on your air conditioner makes it more likely that it will break down in the future and that you will need more frequent AC repairs.
Higher Energy Bills
Dirt buildup on your air conditioning coils will make it difficult for heat to be absorbed and dumped, causing your air conditioning system to be less efficient. It may even start to feel like your air conditioner is running constantly.
When your air conditioner needs to run longer, it will use more energy, meaning you’ll pay more to cool your home and those hot summer months may become a financial strain.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
An indoor evaporator coil can’t absorb the warm air blowing over it when it’s dirty. Without warm air to counteract the refrigerant inside of it, the coil can freeze over.
If a coil remains frozen while your air conditioner runs, it will put increased pressure on your system and could cause extensive damage. The air conditioner’s compressor is the most vulnerable to damage if your evaporator coils become frozen because it can overheat and burn out.
You should turn off your air conditioner immediately if your evaporator coil is frozen. Signs of a frozen coil include:
- Ice around the outdoor refrigerant line
- Puddles of water near the blower unit
- Warm air coming out of your air conditioner
- AC running constantly
An Uncomfortable Home
Dirty coils make it far more difficult for your air conditioner to cool your home.
Air conditioners don’t create cool air. Instead, they extract heat and humidity from the air within your home. Unfortunately, air conditioner coils that are covered in dirt will insulate your air conditioning system and prevent it from releasing the heat that it extracts, resulting in warm air continuing to circulate and your air conditioner struggling to remove it.
You’ll definitely feel if your air conditioner isn’t working properly. Your home will continue to get hotter and more humid than normal. This is why it’s important to make sure your get your AC coils cleaned.
Do I Need a Professional To Clean My HVAC System Coils?
Due to the delicate nature of the coil fins, ensuring that they don’t get damaged is important. Thats why getting the job done right is crucial. We recommend hiring a professional for regular, scheduled coil cleaning and AC maintenance. You might be tempted to clean the coils yourself to reduce the expenses associated, but that’s not the best idea. If you use the wrong type of cleaners or wrong technique, the fins could become damaged. Hiring a professional and paying the small expense to have them cleaned properly can help you save money on repair costs.
For a Thorough Coil Cleaning and Other HVAC Maintenance Tasks, Call the Certified Technicians at Lex Air Conditioning & Heating Today
Without the proper routine maintenance, the summer heat can get the best of your air conditioning system. Keep your system working as efficiently as possible by cleaning the air conditioner coils at least once a year and following through with your regular maintenance. Have you had your air conditioner coils cleaned lately? Call the Roanoke HVAC experts at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating to schedule your AC coil cleaning today.