If you live in a hot climate, then your home's air conditioning system provides necessary comfort during excessively hot or humid weather.
While air conditioners are fairly simple appliances and don't have a lot of moving parts, the parts they do have are vital for cooling success.
One very important part of every residential air conditioner is its evaporator coil. While evaporator coils are vital for cooling, their small metal tube system is also prone to a variety of problems. And, evaporator coil replacement can be very expensive, so preventing the need should be a priority.
To avoid unnecessary coil repair or replacement bills, it's vital you understand what the coil is and take proactive steps to protect it. To this end, here's some basic information to help you out.
How a Residential Air Conditioner Works
To understand the role of an evaporator coil, first, you need a basic understanding of how an air conditioner works.
When you turn down the thermostat and the air conditioner fires up, it has a fan that pulls in air from outdoors and passes it over evaporator coils that are filled with a gas refrigerant.
When the outdoor air passes over the evaporator coils, the coils absorb the heat and pass it back outside via the condenser fan. The cold air is moved by another fan that sends it into your house.
Evaporator Coil Problems
If the air coming into your home is too warm or seems like it isn't flowing as well as it should, then you should check the evaporator coils.
Since the evaporator coils are located outdoors, they tend to get dirty and sometimes covered in leaves or twigs. Additionally, the metal coils are continually in contact with water and air pollution which corrodes them. Corroded coils leak refrigerant into the atmosphere and then the system can't effectively cool anymore.
To prevent these problems, clean the coils and remove any leaves, weeds, or twigs from around the system.
Clogged Drain Lines Lead to Damage from Evaporated Water
As your air conditioning unit passes ambient warm air over the evaporator coils, humidity in the air turns into droplets of water. This is the same thing that happens on the outside of a glass of ice water on a hot day.
As the evaporator coils build up water droplets they drip down into a drain pan. The drain pan has a drain line to empty the water well away from the mechanical parts of the air conditioner.
When the drain line becomes clogged by dirt or biological matter, the pan fills up with water. Standing water around your unit's condenser and fans can cause fatal problems for the air conditioning system. In addition, if you have a roof-mounted air conditioner, the pan can leak water onto the roof and cause mold to grow. For more information, reach out to an AC service in your area.
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