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For an air conditioner to work efficiently, it must be able to transfer heat from inside your home to the outside effectively. A coating of dirt, dust and other debris on the A/C coils can prevent this, by insulating the coils from the surrounding air and reducing the efficiency of the heat transfer process. To minimize energy usage and reduce utility costs, the A/C coils should be cleaned at least once a year.
The Importance of Clean A/C Coils
It is estimated that dirty evaporator and condenser coils can increase the energy usage of your air conditioning system by over 30 percent. Additionally, reduced heat transfer efficiency can cause other problems, such as poor cooling performance, frozen evaporator coils and compressor overheating.
How to Prevent Dirty Coils
To keep the evaporator coils clean, it is important to check the air filter at least once a month and replace it as necessary. A dirty air filter can allow dust and debris to accumulate on the evaporator instead of the air filter, and it can also reduce airflow in the system, leading to other problems. To keep the condenser coils clean, keep an area of two feet around the condenser unit clean of vegetation and debris, including trash, tall grass, plants and overhanging trees or bushes. Remove large debris as it falls into the condenser coils, and when mowing, be sure to discharge clippings away from the condenser.
Cleaning the Coils
The fins on the evaporator and condenser coils are extremely delicate and can be bent with very little force. It is best to leave the majority of the cleaning to an HVAC professional, who will clean the coils during a routine maintenance visit. Ideally, maintenance should be performed twice a year, though once is sufficient for some systems. Between visits, the condenser coils can be cleaned by removing large debris and rinsing the coils with a hose, after shutting the power off. The evaporator is often difficult to access, and should be cleaned professionally.
To have your A/C coils inspected and cleaned, contact our team at Conditioned Air, serving Southwest Florida.
Air conditioning problems can be inconvenient and uncomfortable even on mild days in Southwest Florida, but in many cases, the cause may be simple, such as airflow problems from a dirty filter or a compressor that overheats on an especially hot day. Before calling a professional, there are a few air conditioner troubleshooting tips that you should try first, possibly saving valuable time and money.
Check for Power
When the air conditioner will not turn on, make sure that the thermostat is set correctly and that it has power, replacing the batteries if necessary. If the thermostat is working, check for tripped breakers, and reset them, even if they are not tripped. This will often reset the control systems or safety systems. If the compressor has an overheat safety switch, reset it, as well.
Check for Airflow Problems
Poor cooling performance or frozen coils could be the result of airflow problems. Check for a dirty air filter and replace it if necessary. Check all vents and ducts for obstructions, such as furniture or curtains that block the vents, or items that have fallen into floor ducts. If the problem remains, check the evaporator and blower fan for dust or dirt accumulations, and carefully clean them with the power off.
Clean the Condenser
Poor cooling performance can also be caused by a dirty condenser outside. Make sure the area around the condenser is free of debris, such as tall grass or lawn furniture. Check the condenser coil for debris, such as leaves and grass, and clean it with a garden hose, if necessary. Make sure the fan spins freely and operates properly.
Clean the Condensate Drain
If you notice water leaking from the air conditioner or it will not turn on, make sure the condensate drain is clean. Some systems will shut down automatically if the drain is clogged. Use a shop vacuum or a thin wire to remove dirt and algae from the drain line.
For more air conditioner troubleshooting tips, talk to our professionals at Conditioned Air today. We have been serving homeowners throughout Southwest Florida since 1962.