Nothing is quite as refreshing as stepping into a cool, comfortable home on a hot, humid summer day. It’s a sensation we’ve enjoyed since 1902, when modern air conditioning was invented by Willis Carrier.
For most people, it’s hard to imagine life without it. However, like many other mechanical devices, air conditioners require basic cleaning and maintenance to continue operating at their best.
It’s like when you buy a new car, you know the key to keeping it running its best is to keep the engine tuned up, the oil changed, and the wheels balanced and rotated.
For central air conditioning, cleaning your AC coils is integral to the system’s long-term health. Air conditioner coil cleaning is an important part of AC maintenance and can help you save money, maintain efficiency, and extend the system’s service life.
TYPES OF COILS IN AC UNITS
In a split-system central air conditioner, there’s an indoor unit, typically a furnace and evaporator coil or fan coil, and an outdoor unit, often referred to as the air conditioning unit. Each unit houses a coil that’s vital to the air conditioning process.
Inside the home, the evaporator coil, sometimes referred to as the cooling coil, is on the air intake side of the fan coil or the outlet side of the furnace. Its job is to remove heat from indoor air so the blower fan can return cool, refreshing air to the home.
The condenser coil, in the outdoor unit, releases that captured heat outside. Most evaporator and condenser coils are made of copper tubing, which runs through a series of thin aluminum strips called fins.
While there are other coil designs and compositions, such as all-aluminum coils or spine fin coils that look a bit like a large pipe-cleaner, airflow across the coil helps the transfer of heating energy into and out of the home.
Because the coils play such a crucial role in the cooling process, keeping them clean helps ensure the long-term health of your air conditioning system. While it may look like a potential DIY project, the easiest and best way to clean your coils is to have an expert do it.
Short Pump Heating & Air knows what’s needed to care for your system and is well trained in maintaining your air conditioner coils for optimal efficiency and longevity.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CLEAN AC COILS?
In short, the cleaner the air conditioning coil, the more efficiently your system will operate. Dirty coils can lead to:
Increased operating temperatures. Excess buildup of dirt and debris can cause undue stress on the system, causing fans and compressors to work harder and at increased operating temperatures to achieve the desired indoor comfort.
Reduced comfort. Your AC helps remove unwanted and uncomfortable humidity from your home as a natural part of the cooling process. Dirty coils can reduce overall system effectiveness, causing higher humidity inside and less overall comfort.
Decreased cooling efficiency. The buildup that accumulates on the surface of the coils forces them to work harder to absorb or release heat, resulting in less efficient operation.
Increased cooling costs. Less efficient operation means higher operating costs. Dirty coils mean spending more money to keep your space cool.
Increased system wear. A blocked evaporator coil often causes the compressor to run at increased temperatures, placing stress on the entire system. Because the compressor is one of the highest-cost replacement items in the air conditioning system, protecting the compressor can help you avoid expensive repair bills.
System repairs or replacement. System breakdowns resulting from over-stressed components can lead to service calls, replacing system components, and in more extreme cases, replacing an entire system.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD AC COILS BE CLEANED?
AC coils should be cleaned whenever they’re dirty. But how quickly they get dirty depends on how often you use your air conditioner, how often you change your filter, whether you have a filter, the amount of dust or debris in the air both inside and outside your home, and how many people live in the space.
As a rule of thumb, you should have an HVAC professional perform a maintenance check on your system at least once per year, before summer.
Need a coil cleaning or general HVAC maintenance? Call Short Pump Heating & Air at 804-364-9040 today, and we’ll get you scheduled.