14/10/2020 Other Services
An evaporator coil is the part of an AC or heat pump that absorbs the heat from the air in your house. It is located inside the air handler or attached to the furnace.As the refrigerant flows, the blower fan draws hot room air over the evaporator coil. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the passing air and, as it does so, it warms up and evaporates.
When the water vapor in your warm household air hits the cold evaporator coils, the water vapor condenses into liquid form and drips down into the condensate pan, which drains the water away outdoors. This is how your evaporator coil reduces the humidity in your home.
Caring for the Evaporator Coil
Because of the way they operate, evaporator and condenser coils both need to be kept clean to perform as intended and reach optimal energy efficiency. A dirty evaporator coil can experience a number of problems, including:
• Impaired heat absorption and cooling capacity
• Higher energy use
• Higher pressures and temperatures
• Frost and ice buildup
Even a fine layer of dust on the evaporator coil reduces its efficiency. The dust acts as an insulator, keeping the heat in and the air away from the cold coils. That means the coil can’t absorb as much heat as it can when clean. Your system will then have to run longer to provide the indoor temperature you want, which means it will use more energy.
Because it isn’t absorbing enough heat, the refrigerant running through a dirty evaporator coil doesn’t warm up as much as it should. This very cold refrigerant causes water vapor in your air to freeze rather than condense into a liquid. Eventually, the whole evaporator coil can frost over.
A layer of frost on your evaporator is never normal. Letting your system run with a frozen evaporator raises the temperature in the compressor and can eventually cause this component to fail. Dust on the evaporator coil, debris on the outdoor condenser unit, a dirty air filter, and a refrigerant leak can all cause the evaporator to freeze. If you can’t pinpoint the problem, contact a heating and cooling technician.
Evaporator coils can also develop tiny pinhole leaks due to corrosion caused by the mixing of moisture from condensation with chemicals commonly found in household air. Oily residue around the evaporator or in the drain pan is a sign your coil is leaky and requires replacement.
The airborne chemicals that encourage these leaks are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and come from new carpeting, upholstery, pressed wood furniture, air fresheners, cleaning chemicals and many other sources. Ensuring good home ventilation reduces the VOCs in your indoor air, protecting both the evaporator coil and your health.
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