Last week we discussed some of the reasons that your air conditioning system may become inefficient during the summer and start draining more power than it should. One of those reasons is dirty evaporator and condenser coils. We’re going to take a closer look at this phenomenon, how it reduces AC efficiency, and what can be done about it.
Dirty indoor (evaporator) coil
Dust and dirt that enter through the return ducts can coat the indoor evaporator coil, particularly if the air filter is clogged. (Make sure you change the filter every 1 to 3 months as needed.) Because of the insulating effect of dirt along the coil, the cold refrigerant running through the coil won’t be able to absorb sufficient heat. The refrigerant will stay so cold that moisture vapor along the coil will freeze, and this will only make is harder for the unit to absorb heat from the air.
Dirty outdoor (condenser) coil
This is a more frequent problem because the condenser cabinet is exposed to elements and can easily pick up dirt from the outside. (It’s always a wise idea to keep plants, shrubs, and mulch at least a foot away from the cabinet to help avoid trouble.) A layer of grime across the coil won’t cause freezing, but it will limit how well the coil can release heat, and that can cut down energy efficiency by as much as 35%. It could also result in the AC running continuously without cycling off.
Professional coil cleaning
Do not attempt to clean off either coil yourself! In order to clean the coils effectively and without damaging them, professionals must access the coils and use special chemical foams or pressure cleaners. If you detect a drop in AC energy efficiency and notice either ice or dirt along either coil, call right away to have the repairs taken care of. And keep in mind that regular maintenance each spring is the best way to prevent dirty coils in the future.
JW Heating and Air offers air conditioning repair services to Whittier, CA, as well as throughout Greater Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, and Gabriel Valley.