Air Conditioning Coils
When performing routine maintenance on your heating
and air conditioning system, be sure not to overlook
your unit’s air conditioning coils. Just
as air conditioning filters collect dust and
debris, air conditioning coils will become
dirty over time, and even begin to rust. This air
conditioning part must not be ignored if you want
to run an efficient home air conditioning system.
In standard HVAC systems, air conditioning
coils are spiral copper tubes encased in aluminum
fins located in both the evaporator and the condenser. Evaporator
coils, which can be found indoors, vaporize
refrigerant gas, thereby pulling heat out of the indoor air
and cooling your home. Their companion part, condenser
coils, which can be found outdoors, compresses refrigerant
gas back into a liquid, which then carries the heat outside
through the coils.
Because your air
conditioning unit's coils constantly
circulate gas and liquid, they are magnets for residue.
Over time, your HVAC evaporator coils will accumulate
dirt, which reduces air flow and insulates the coil, thus decreasing
its ability to absorb heat. Clean evaporator coils
contribute to a more efficiently running system and decrease
conditioning system and refrigeration system's
energy bills. In fact, poorly maintained air conditioning
coils can reduce the performance of your air
conditioner by up to 10%. To combat this, your
air conditioner coils should be checked once
a year by a trained air conditioning technician,
who can clean, repair, and replace the coils as necessary.
In addition, regularly changing or cleaning your air conditioner
filter, which is conveniently located on top of the evaporator
coils, will prevent dirt and debris from collecting as
HVAC condenser coils are also prone to accumulating
dirt, especially because they are located outdoors. Snow,
ice, dryer vents, falling leaves, foliage, and lawn mowers can
all contribute to reduced production from condenser coils.
Cleaning the area around the air
conditioning coils, removing any
debris, and trimming foliage back at least two feet will allow
for adequate air flow around the condenser.
The method for cleaning air conditioner coils is
similar for the evaporator, or the inside unit,
and the condenser, or the outside unit.
First, unplug the air conditioner, making sure
that no power is still running through the unit. Then
remove the grill protecting the coils, and in the case of the
evaporator, remove the air conditioner filter,
which can be cleaned or changed as necessary. Finally, use
a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dirt and dust on the coils, and
replace the grills (and filter). When cleaning the aluminum
fins on evaporator and condenser coils, take
care not to bend the metal, which can obstruct air flow.
conditioning companies, including those that manufacture
Honeywell, Rodgers, Lennox, and Carrier coils,
sell a tool called a fin comb, which can be used
to coax the fins back into their original state. Homes with
pets, homes in dusty climates, and homes with high energy usage
might need to change their air conditioning filters and
clean their air conditioning coils more often
to combat dirt and debris.