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How a Dirty Coil Affects Your Air Conditioner

Central air conditioners in homes are usually “split systems”: they consist of an outside cabinet (the condenser) and an inside unit (the evaporator) which connect to each other through refrigerant and power lines. Both the evaporator and the condenser contain refrigerant coils that are essential for the process of heat exchange that makes the air conditioner work: moving heat from the inside of your home and then releasing it to the outside.

Both coils need to remain clean to effectively do their job. If either starts to develop a layer of grime or dust, it will impair the AC’s performance. For this reason, you should always have air conditioning maintenance done once a year; the technician will always check the coils to make sure they are clean, and detach and clean them if necessary.

If your AC is not cooling as well as it should, or if it’s time to schedule annual maintenance, contact Cool Air Mechanical. We offer 24-hour air conditioning repair in Duluth, GA and throughout the Greater Atlanta Area.

What Goes Wrong When a Coil Grows Dirty

The reason that the evaporator and condenser coils must remain clean is that any layer of dirt, dust, or grime will restrict the coil’s ability to either release or absorb heat, and this will unbalance the heat exchange process in the air conditioner. If the outdoor condensing coil cannot release sufficient heat from the hot refrigerant moving through it, the refrigerant will not be cool enough when it returns indoors to absorb heat.

The situation can get even worse with a dirty indoor coil. If the coil cannot absorb enough heat to warm up the refrigerant, the cold refrigerant will freeze the moisture forming along the coil. This ice will further restrict heat absorption, causing more ice to develop, eventually freezing over the entire coil and stopping heat exchange altogether. If you see ice developing along the indoor coil, call for repairs immediately: aside from a dirty coil, icing could also indicate leaking refrigerant.

To help prevent dust and dirt from reaching the coils, make sure to change the air filter indoors once a month during times when you regularly use the AC and keep the area around the outdoor cabinet clear of debris for a few feet.

Please note: you should not try to open up your air conditioner’s cabinets to access the coil yourself and clean it. To properly clean off a dirty coil requires removing the coil first, and this task you should leave to professionals. Call Cool Air Mechanical for the necessary air conditioning service in Duluth, GA you need to keep your AC running at its best: call at the first sign of trouble, any time of the day or night.

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