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How Often Should I Clean My AC Coils?

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Your air conditioner’s coils are key players in cooling your Cincinnati home or business. When they are clean and clear of debris, they can easily absorb heat from inside your home and cast it off outside. When your AC unit has dirty coils that are caked with grime, they will not function as expected

In our most recent blog, the heating and cooling professionals at Nelson Comfort discuss how air conditioner coils work and why it’s important to keep them clean. Contact Nelson Comfort today to stay comfortable and safe from the summertime heat.

How AC Coils Work

Your air conditioning system has two sets of coils: the indoor evaporator coils and the outdoor condenser coils. Refrigerant flows through the air conditioning unit, from the expansion valve, which lowers its pressure, to the evaporator coil. As it moves through the evaporator coil, the refrigerant becomes a gas and absorbs excess heat from the air passing over the coil.

Next, the refrigerant is pressurized in the compressor and moves to the condenser coil. The condenser coil transforms the heated refrigerant gas into liquid, allowing it to release heat into the surrounding outdoor air.

Air conditioners cool homes and businesses through heat exchange, rather than creating chilled air. The surface area of each coil is utilized to absorb and release heat. Clean coils allow heat exchange to occur uninhibited, whereas the available surface area of a dirty coil is restricted, so heat exchange cannot occur as effectively or efficiently.

Issues With Dirty Air Conditioner Coils

When your air conditioning system’s evaporator and condenser coils are dirty, the air conditioner won’t be able to conduct heat exchange properly.

  • The AC system is forced to overwork to exchange heat, consuming as much as 30% excess energy, which lowers your unit’s efficiency and leads to higher energy bills. This also places more stress on the cooling system components, which can cause breakdowns that lead to expensive repairs or even complete system replacement.
  • When the heat exchange process is hindered, your air conditioner may not be able to keep your home or business at the desired temperature, creating comfort issues.

How Often Should AC Coils Be Cleaned?

Your HVAC’s air filter does its best to keep your system’s evaporator coils clean by preventing dirt and debris from entering the system. However, over time, evaporator coils still collect dust and will need to be cleaned. To prevent dirt and debris from impacting the heat exchange process, your air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils should be professionally cleaned on a yearly basis as part of your system’s annual maintenance. We recommend leaving the cleaning of evaporator coils to an HVAC professional to avoid damaging any system components.

Outdoor condenser coils, meanwhile, are particularly prone to getting dirty because they’re exposed to the elements, especially in a dusty environment or if foliage is nearby, according to Energy.gov.

Although some homeowners clean their AC condenser coils themselves with a hose, it’s also recommended to leave this task to a professional HVAC company, especially if there’s a strong buildup of dirt and grime. Coils are delicate, and applying too much pressure can cause them to bend or break, which can lead to an expensive repair. You can help prevent debris and grime from building up on your outdoor condenser coils by trimming away nearby trees, shrubs, and other vegetation.

Contact Nelson Comfort for Reliable Cooling Services in Cincinnati

If your air conditioner coils could use a proper cleaning, call Nelson Comfort today. Our NATE-certified technicians will clean your AC coils completely, taking great care to prevent damage to your air conditioning system. Contact us today to learn more about our air conditioning maintenance services.

The technicians at Nelson Comfort can also provide your home with quality repair and installation services for your HVAC system and equipment, including heat pumps, air handlers, furnaces, boilers and ductless mini split systems.

About The Author

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Dan Detmer

Dan Detmer is the owner of Nelson Comfort. Dan was born into the heating and cooling industry, coming from a family of well respected HVAC contractors in Dayton, Ohio. After working in the family business, Dan decided to work for a local HVAC wholesale business helping local contractors grow their business. When he felt his heart moving him back into the residential and light commercial business, Dan joined the Mortimer Heating & Cooling team in Cincinnati, where he had called home and become part of the community for several years. After a short period of time Dan purchased the company and created what is today, Nelson Comfort. Today he operates a company based on integrity, honesty, and stellar customer service. If you have any questions feel free to tweet (at sign) NelsonComfort and we will get right back with you!

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