How the Evaporator Coil Affects Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency

Your air conditioner has run just fine in your Houston, Texas, home until recently. You had the system for about a decade, and you’d love to make it last a little longer. When it stops working and you call in a professional, you find out the evaporator coil is leaking badly. Replacing just this part seems like it will save some money and help you get a little extra life from your old unit.

Before you take the least expensive way out, make sure you understand how your evaporator coil affects your unit’s efficiency, and why replacing it may cost you more in the long run.

What Is the Evaporator Coil?

The evaporator coil is one half of a two-coil partnership. The other half is the condenser coil. Regardless of your unit’s make and model, the manufacturer paired the condenser and evaporator coil sizes together to make sure your system will run as efficiently as possible.

Evaporator coils are located in the air handler of your air conditioner. These coils hold the refrigerant sent in by the compressor, chilled and ready to cool your home. When air moves over the evaporator coil, the refrigerant takes the heat from the air, making the inside of your home comfortable and cool.

When You Have the Wrong Evaporator Coil

Your evaporator coil is done for, and you are wondering if you can just replace it without replacing anything else. That’s a bad idea for a few reasons.

  • Your air conditioner won’t run as efficiently because the replacement evaporator coil isn’t made for your specific unit. Don’t be surprised if your energy bill becomes higher as a result.
  • You will be putting extra stress and strain on your entire system by using mismatched coils. It is common for a “fix” such as this to cause your air conditioner to fail sooner, meaning you’ll have to replace the entire unit.
  • It’s likely that if your evaporator coil died, the condenser is not far behind. It often makes more financial sense to go ahead and replace your entire unit with something newer and more efficient.

If you decide to replace the evaporator coil, keep in mind that it will need to be the same size as your current unit. If not, you’ll get almost no efficiency out of the unit, as it will have to run longer to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. The big problem will be trying to find a new evaporator coil to match your existing condenser. Often, it’s nearly impossible, as your old unit may not even be made anymore, and the newer units and are bigger and built differently.

Prolong the Life of Your Evaporator Coil

Ideally, you don’t want to face the choice between replacing your evaporator coils or replacing the entire unit too soon. The best way to prolong the life of your evaporator coils is with regular maintenance. Between what you do on your own and what a professional maintenance plan can offer, you should be able to keep your evaporator coil and the entire unit working for many years.

Each month, check your filters and replace them if necessary. You will also want to clean the evaporator coil if you can reach it. A soft brush to knock off the dust is fine. A UV lamp is something to consider as well. It will kill mold and other biological growth that can cause problems with your evaporator coil.

Dirty evaporator coils can develop leaks or ice over. Leaks mean you’re losing refrigerant and your air conditioner won’t cool your home. If your coils ice over, it can damage your compressor, which is an expensive fix. As part of professional maintenance of your air conditioner, we visibly inspect your evaporator coils even if they aren’t where you can see them. We’ll make sure they’re clean and free of damage.

When you are ready to have your air conditioner serviced or you suspect a problem with your evaporator coil or anything else, contact us at Davis Air Conditioning & Heating today by calling 888-710-5530.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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