Air conditioning maintenance is so important that your AC may stop operating if you don't keep up with basic care and cleaning. Skipping an annual service call could lead to problems later in the summer when your AC has to run most of the day to keep your home cool. One important part of AC maintenance is cleaning the evaporator coils. Here are three reasons it is so important to keep the evaporator coils clean.
1. Dust Can Cause The Coils To Ice Over
Evaporator coils are the tubes that refrigerant flows through, so if they are covered in a layer of dust, the refrigerant can't do its job. Even worse, the dust acts like insulation that traps the cold refrigerant in the coils and causes the condensation on the lines to freeze. Once freezing starts, the ice builds until your AC can't work properly.
If this happens, you have to turn the AC off so the ice melts. Then an air conditioning maintenance technician can clean the coils. This might be done by applying a foam cleanser to the outside of the coils that are easily accessible, but if the coils are extremely dirty, the technician may have to dismantle your HVAC so the inner coils can be pulled out and cleaned.
2. Corrosion Can Cause Pitting And Small Holes
A pinhole leak in an evaporator coil is a bad situation because this allows the refrigerant to leak out. Even if the leak is slow, over time all the refrigerant escapes, and your AC won't be able to cool your home. When the refrigerant starts leaking, your AC won't operate efficiently, and your home may not be cool even if the AC runs all the time.
Corrosion can happen due to exposure to VOCs in your home. These volatile organic compounds are released in the air from the outgassing of carpet and other building materials. When the gasses circulate through your HVAC and combine with the moisture on the coils, they react with the copper to cause pitting. A pit might eventually lead to a tiny hole that allows the refrigerant to escape. When a maintenance technician cleans the evaporator coils, the corrosive substances are removed, so the risk of developing a pinhole leak is reduced.
3. Mold Can Grow And Irritate Your Allergies
It's normal for the evaporator coils to be damp. This happens because of condensation, and your HVAC is designed to handle the moisture and drain it to the outdoors. If the coils are dusty as well as damp, they can create the perfect place for mold to grow. Since the air that circulates through your home blows over the coils, the air can pick up mold spores and spread them around your home or irritate your allergies.
A technician uses a cleaning product that kills the mold on the coils and anywhere else it has spread through the air handler. If the mold spreads to the condensation drain line, it could cause a plug that makes the water back up in the air handler. This can cause your AC to shut down or sustain water damage. Keeping dust off the coils through annual cleaning helps prevent problems with mold in your AC.
For more information on AC maintenance, contact Nathan's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.