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Your Air Conditioner: Killed by a Filthy Evaporator Coil

August 6, 2013 | Blog

Your air conditioner evaporator coil is where heat is removed from your home, and cool comfort is left behind. Located inside your system’s air handler, it’s also where every bit of dirt, dust and other airborne particulates circulating in your air ducts may collect. Even a small residue on the surfaces of the coil reduces the efficiency of heat transfer. That means your A/C system has to work harder and run longer “on” cycles to achieve thermostat settings. Energy consumption and cooling costs rise. Here are other unpleasant consequences of a dirty air conditioner evaporator coil:

  • Dirt and dust build-up plugs narrow air passages, eventually obstructing system airflow. With no air circulation, your house receives no cooling, but the system continues to run. Continuous operation can lead to overheating and damage to compressor components.
  • Dirty coils also cause coil icing. When airflow over the coils is reduced by dirt, refrigerant circulating through the coils drops into the freezing range. This causes condensation on the coil to freeze in layers, ultimately turning the entire coil into a block of ice. Airflow is obstructed, cooling is terminated and water damage may occur when the ice melts after the system is shut down.
  • Mold spores also collect in the air passages. The dark, wet passages are a perfect breeding ground. These colonies may interfere with heat transfer, obstruct airflow and serve as an ongoing source of mold spores in your indoor air. These microorganisms have been associated with allergies, asthma and other respiratory symptoms.

Following a few simple steps can prevent the negative effects of a dirty air conditioner evaporator coil:

  • Change the air filter regularly.
  • Use a good High Efficiency air filter that is the proper size for your system.
  • Test ductwork for leakage, and seal the ducts as required.
  • Schedule an annual air conditioner tune-up with your HVAC contractor, including an evaporator coil inspection and cleaning.

CCAC is Corpus Christi’s source of year round cooling and heating expertise. Ask us about more efficiency and comfort benefits of regular maintenance of your air conditioner evaporator coil.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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