How You Can Maintain Your Unit’s HVAC Coils Properly
The condition of HVAC coils directly impacts your home’s comfort level and energy efficiency. The evaporator and condenser coil in your central air conditioner perform the heavy lifting of extracting heat from indoors and dispersing it into outdoor air. When everything goes as it should, what remains inside your house is cool comfort even on the hottest days.
HVAC coils continuously circulate refrigerant in a loop from the indoor evaporator coil to the outdoor condenser coil and then back again, a process known as the refrigerant cycle. Diminished coil function reduces an air conditioner’s cooling effectiveness, increasing operating costs and wear and tear on the unit. Two issues affecting HVAC coils include:
Dirt and dust. Dirt, dust, and other particulates may accumulate on coil surfaces over time. This accumulation impairs proper heat extraction and heat dispersal at the evaporator and condenser coil, respectively. The system doesn’t cool effectively and consumes excessive electricity, increasing monthly costs.
Refrigerant leakage.Refrigerant loss from leaks in HVAC coils reduces cooling performance. Leakage can also permanently damage expensive components like the compressor. As the refrigerant charge drops below specifications, the system may run almost nonstop. Ice formation on the evaporator coil may obstruct airflow, the compressor overheats, and it eventually shuts down entirely.
What Can You Do?
Do-it-yourself maintenance options for HVAC coils are limited.
The evaporator coil is typically sealed inside the indoor air handler and not readily accessible. The condenser coil is enclosed within the outdoor unit’s housing and requires disassembly to reach. However, ensuring proper airflow into the outdoor condenser coil is a doable DIY task. Cut back encroaching vegetation like weeds, bushes, and other growth to establish at least 2 feet of open space around the unit and ensure adequate air circulation. Also keep the top fan intake grille clear of leaves and other obstructions.
Scheduling annual preventative maintenance by a qualified HVAC professional with the proper tools and expertise to service HVAC coils is the best way to ensure maximum coil life and AC cooling effectiveness and efficiency.