Why Cleaning Your AC Coils Is Important: Every appliance, regardless of the warranty, needs proper maintenance to ensure sustenance. You are probably already aware of this and that is why you ensure regular cleaning of the different components of your AC – the AC filters, the fins, and everything else. But for some reason, you leave out the AC coils.
The AC coils (composed of the evaporator and condenser coils) are the most important part of the AC unit, as this is the means through which heat is absorbed from inside your home and then replaced with cool air.
However, it is very easy to overlook this very important component during your regular AC maintenance. This is because the AC coils cannot easily be accessed without exploring the insides of the AC and this would require a level of technical skill and expertise.
What Happens When the AC Coils are Left Dirty?
When you do not clean your AC coils, dirt is bound to accumulate. The following are some of the ways the functionality of your AC unit is tampered with due to dirt accumulation:
1. An Inefficient AC Unit
Due to the vital role the AC coils play, leaving them dirty would take a huge toll on the efficiency of your AC, making it a lot difficult for it to transfer heat and cool your room the way it ought to.
This is a highly cost-inefficient process, as your AC would need to consume more energy, trying to work harder, and running for longer periods. Eventually, the parts could wear out and break down, shortening the life of your AC unit and leading to costly repair calls.
2. Refrigerant leaks can occur
AC coils can develop corrosion over time due to the accumulation of pollutants (dirt) such as aerosol sprays and fumes from paints on the insides of the coil.
On the outside, fumes from vehicles as well as industrial air pollutants can affect the coil. This can cause the refrigerant to leak out through the cracks and holes in the coils created by corrosion. When the refrigerant charge is reduced, your system’s ability to cool is gradually reduced as well.
This kind of AC unit issue is very difficult to repair and even if repaired, your AC would no longer function at its optimum capacity. In which case, getting a new AC would be a better option.
It is therefore advisable to avoid this issue before it arises. A simple way to prevent this is by routinely cleaning your AC coils (both inside and outside).
3. Your AC unit fails sooner than expected
As earlier stated, regardless of the warranty of your AC unit, without proper maintenance, it would wear out sooner than it should. With the refrigerant leaking out due to corroded AC coils, or with the refrigerant flowing through a dirty coil, it would be difficult for the coils to change from liquid to gas (and back) as it’s supposed to.
This causes increased strain on the compressor, which happens to be the core of your air conditioning system.
A continuous strain on the compressor can cause it to wear out quickly or develop a fault that is rather difficult to repair. Ultimately, you will need to replace the AC unit. This can take a huge toll on your finances.
Excess heat, pressure, and increased run times can also cause AC parts to wear out sooner. The fans, belts, and other components could wear out too, which would most likely fail the entire AC unit.
4. A spike in utility bills
Aside from the excess cost that would be incurred trying to fix faults your AC unit develops due to dirty coils, the spike in utility bills is also a major concern.
An inefficient AC Unit would generally require a lot more energy to effectively provide your home with the cooling effect that you desire. A higher amount of energy would naturally mean a spike in your utility bills.
5. Frozen Evaporator Coils
When the AC coils are left dirty, it becomes difficult for the cool air to properly circulate through the coils. This prevents the cool air that gets transferred from the condenser coil to the evaporator coil to flow freely.
This can make the evaporator coils get too cold and consequently, freeze via the buildup of ice.
How Often Should Your AC coils be Cleaned?
To avoid all of the above complications and more, you must incorporate cleaning your ac coils into your routine AC maintenance. Wondering how often this should be done? The following factors should be considered:
- The age of your AC Unit: An older AC would need to be cleaned a lot frequently.
- The condition of your AC unit: If you generally have a poor AC maintenance routine, then there are higher chances that your AC coil would have corrosion that collects more debris.
- Your usage: An AC system that runs for longer hours is more prone to having a larger amount of dirt accumulated on the AC coils. These AC systems would need to be cleaned a lot more frequently.
- Location: An AC system that has been installed in a building that is located in an area with high exposure to dust and other pollutants would have more dirt accumulate on the AC coils. For these ACs, frequent cleaning of the AC coils is required.
However, as a general rule of thumb (if the majority of the above factors do not apply to your AC system), it is recommended that you make coil cleaning a part of your routine AC maintenance. This can be done once or twice a year.
You shouldn’t carry out AC Coil maintenance by yourself. This is because of the lots of technicalities involved. Those small fins you see on the outside of the coils are very sensitive.
If you use the wrong types of cleaners or the wrong technique, they can easily become damaged. And you might end up tampering with something in the AC coil, consequently incurring more cost, in a bid to clean it yourself. Be sure to employ the services of professionals.
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