Air Conditioner Evaporator Maintenance Guide

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Central air conditioning is one of the great luxuries of modern life. For that reason, nothing could be more frustrating than an air conditioner that stops working. If you would like to learn more about saving yourself unnecessary air conditioning repair costs, read on. This article will present an overview of evaporator coil maintenance techniques.

The Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is one of the most important components of a home cooling system. It is responsible for circulating the refrigerant used to cool the hot air inside your house. The evaporator is usually mounted just above the furnace inside of your house. That's because the air conditioner uses the furnace's blowing system to distribute cool air throughout your home.

Common Evaporator Coil Issues

There are three common problems associated with the evaporator coils:

  • inefficient cooling
  • evaporator coils freezing
  • leaking or flooding

All three of these problems may either be caused or exacerbated by a single cause: excessively dirty evaporator coils. You see, when evaporator coils become dust and dirt-coated, they are not able to cool air with the same degree of efficiency. If you find yourself having to turn your air conditioner to lower and lower temperatures, this may well be the case.

This situation can also lead to undue amounts of condensation. Though there is a special tray inside of the evaporator to catch such condensation, this tray can easily become backed up and overflow if there is too much condensate present.

Finally, a dirty evaporator coil can also lead to restricted air flow. When cooled air isn't able to flow out of the evaporator, the temperature of the coil can drop below freezing. As a result, the condensate turns to ice. If not addressed quickly, this can lead to serious issues.

Note: All three of these problems may also have other causes. If cleaning the evaporator coils does not solve the issue, you'll need to contact a licensed air conditioning repair specialist. Consider an HVAC contractor like McCrea Heating & Plumbing Inc or search for the experts nearest your area.

Cleaning The Coils

Begin by turning off your air conditioner completely. Then, having identified the evaporator, remove any metal tape or insulation that may be covering the access panel. Remove the screws that hold this panel in place, and carefully lift it away.

Now you should have fairly easy access to the coils. If they have frozen over, wait for the ice to melt completely before attempting any cleaning. Using a stiff brush, clear away as much dust and dirt as you can.

Then spray the coils thoroughly using a foaming coil cleaner. This product, which can be purchased at your local home improvement store, automatically breaks down into a liquid that runs off the coils into the condensate tray below. All that's left to do at this point is replace the access panel and any insulation, and you should be good to go!

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