You rely on your air conditioner during our hot Raleigh summers but for it to do its job efficiently, it needs regular maintenance. One of the most important parts of AC maintenance is air conditioner coil cleaning. 

Let’s discuss the coils in your AC unit and why it’s important to keep them clean.

What are Air Conditioner Coils?

Your AC unit has two coils: the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. 

The evaporator coil is located in the air handler unit (indoors) and absorbs the heat and humidity from your home. The condenser coil is located in the outdoor portion of your unit and releases that excess heat from your home to the outdoors. Both of these coils have refrigerant running through them.

When your air conditioning coils are covered in grime, that adds an extra layer between the air blowing over the coils and the refrigerant inside that absorbs and releases heat. The layer of dirt acts like an insulator, making heat transfer less effective. This poor heat transfer diminishes the efficiency of cooling cycles and makes your unit run longer, hotter, and with more pressure to produce the same degree of cooling.

Other problems that can arise when your air conditioner coils are dirty:

  • Decreased cooling due to your AC unit not running as efficiently. This means a less comfortable living space.
  • Higher electric bills due to decreased efficiency and wasted energy.
  • More wear on your system, which can result in expensive repairs or even shorten the life of your unit.

How Air Conditioner Coils Get Dirty

You might be wondering how much dirt is enough to make a difference in your AC unit’s performance and how coils get dirty in the first place.

FIrst, it only takes 1/100th of an inch of dirt or dust on the coils to impact your system. This fraction of an inch of grime can cause your AC unit’s efficiency to drop by 5%! As build-up grows, the efficiency shrinks.

And there are a variety of ways your coils can get dirty. If your outdoor unit is located near a street, it is exposed to exhaust, which can build up on the coils. Dirt, foliage, and other natural debris can also build up on your condenser coil and cause issues. As for the indoor evaporator coil, dust and pet hair can build up, especially if your air filter is dirty (or if you don’t have an air filter.)

Air Conditioner Coil Cleaning 

There are two questions we get frequently when it comes to air conditioner coil cleaning:

  1. How often should I clean my air conditioner coils?
  2. Can I clean the coils myself?

As for how often your air conditioner coils should be cleaned, it depends on how quickly they get dirty. Like we mentioned, there are a lot of ways dirt and grime can build up. If your unit is near a street, it will likely get dirtier faster and need to be cleaned a few times a year. Regardless of where your unit is located, we recommend having both the evaporator and condenser coils cleaned once a year before summer starts. 

When it comes to cleaning the coils, we always recommend having it done by a professional. Cleaning air conditioner coils requires a bit of knowledge and skill. To reach the coils, panels and/or the outer case of your unit will need to be removed. Once we’ve done this and can see the coils, we inspect them to ensure they’re in perfect working order. Damaged or faulty coils can lead to major problems down the road so having a professional do the job gives you peace of mind.

Sign Up for Our Quality Comfort Club and Get Peace of Mind Year Round!

Our maintenance program, Quality Comfort Club, is an affordable way to ensure your HVAC unit is always in tip top shape. As a Quality Comfort Club member, you’ll enjoy biannual inspections performed by an experienced, NATE-certified HVAC technician. These inspections include air conditioner coil cleanings, air filter replacements, safety control tests, and much more! 

To join the Quality Comfort Club or schedule your air conditioner coil cleaning, call us at (919) 230-2678 or fill out our online contact form!

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