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Your Guide to Air Conditioner Coils

air-conditioner-evaporator-coilWhenever you’re dealing with refrigerant-based air conditioners, you’re bound to hear about coils. But just what are they? In this post, we’ll go over what they are, their purpose, and how to keep them out of trouble.

What Are They?

First, it helps to understand refrigerant. Refrigerant is a chemical that, in air conditioners, is used to transfer warm air from the inside of your home to the outdoors. It does this by changing from a liquid state to a gaseous state. But where does this process take place, exactly? In the coils, of course!

Your coils, then, are two sets of (typically) copper tubing housed in a metal box. We’ve included a picture of one at the top of this post so you can get a mental picture.

How Do They Work?

One set of coils, called the evaporator coil, lives in the indoor unit. This coil is responsible for absorbing the heat from inside your home. It’s this absence of warm air that makes your home feel cooler after you’ve been running the AC.

The other set is housed in the outdoor unit, and it’s called the condenser coil. This coil takes the absorbed heat from the evaporator coil and releases it into the outdoors, thus allowing the evaporator coil to absorb more heat and to repeat the cycle of heat transference.

Caring for Your Coils

You don’t have to do much for your coils to keep them working smoothly. However, there are a couple things to look out for.

Dirty coils

For both coils, dust and dirt can inhibit their functions, causing your AC to malfunction or break down.

In the event that your air filter is clogged, dust and dirt might find its way onto the evaporator coil. If it keeps up for too long, it won’t be able to absorb heat properly, and that can lead to a frozen coil. If your evaporator coil is covered in ice and frost, you should shut off the AC immediately and call a repairman. Let the ice defrost while you wait (don’t chip away at it!).

As for the condenser coil, the very fact that it’s outside has its share of troubles. You’ll want to check it every now and then to ensure it hasn’t become covered in dust or debris. A dirty condenser coil will prevent it from being dissipating heat, which can lead to overheating.

Check for leaks

If your AC is making any strange noises or just isn’t working as well as it should, one thing you can do is try checking for a leak in the coils. These leaks are typically pinhole leaks, so don’t expect to be able to see them easily. Sometimes they create bubbles or noises which makes them more visible. If your unit is clearly leaking refrigerant, it’s best to turn it off and call for repairs immediately.

There are no DIY fixes for leaks, so you’ll have to call for AC repair in Salt Lake City, UT regardless of how the leak formed. Leaks can form due to various kinds of corrosion, but it’s not something that you should expect to see if your system is only a few years old.

Got a problem with your coils? Contact At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today!


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