Like many other mechanical devices, air conditioners require some basic cleaning and maintenance to continue operating at their best. It’s kind of like when you buy a new car, you know the key to keeping it running its best is to keep the engine tuned up, the oil changed, and the wheels balanced and rotated.
When it comes to central air conditioning, preventative maintenance and cleaning your air conditioner coils is integral to the long-term health of the system. Having your air conditioner coils chemically cleaned is an important part of maintenance and will help you save money, maintain efficiency and extend the system’s life expectancy.
Most people are familiar with their air conditioner’s outdoor coil because it’s a component they can see. While the indoor coil often resides within the confines of a basement, crawlspace, or attic, the outdoor coil is outside and on full display to the world. And being exposed means the outdoor coil gets dirty. Especially if you don’t have it routinely cleaned.
What are the Benefits of a Chemical Cleaning?
Condenser coils accumulate dirt and dust, and this affects the overall performance of the unit. There are many benefits to cleaning your AC coils for both your AC unit and household:
- Costs Savings: A high performance air conditioner should keep your home cool and comfortable. This can only happen if the condenser coils perform optimally. When a layer of debris or grime covers the coil, it becomes harder for this component to work properly. The unit has to work overtime to cool your home and this leads to a high electricity bill. Dirty condenser coils can’t release heat efficiently, so it’s a good reason to clean this HVAC part.
- Increased Lifespan: HVAC products have a lifespan of at least 10-15 years, but if the system is inefficient, there’s a likelihood of accelerated wear and tear. Dirty condenser coils force your unit to work harder, and this puts a strain on internal components. When the refrigerant system wears out, your HVAC system suffers a shortened lifespan.
- Avoid the Inconvenience of Breakdowns: The last thing you want is a malfunctioning air conditioner in the middle of Summer. This can make your house uninhabitable. When you clean the condenser coils regularly, you reduce such breakdowns and keep your family cool all Summer!
- Enjoy Detailed Professional Inspection: By having your coil cleaned, you will get a detailed assessment report on the health of the system and recommendations on any proactive repairs you may want to consider.
- Improved Indoor Air Quality: Dirty cooling coils have the right conditions for growth of biological contaminants such as fungi, mold, and bacteria. Such contaminants might eventually find their way indoors. Cleaning the condenser coils eliminates such conditions and keeps your family safe.
Why Do I Need to Clean the Outdoor Coil?
The condenser coil is connected to a refrigerant line set, which is the copper tubing that runs between the indoor and outdoor components of your AC. When the air conditioner runs, it transfers heat from your home to the refrigerant inside the evaporator coil. The warmer refrigerant circulates through the line set to the condenser coil (outside), where the heat is deposited into the surrounding air. The result: a cool and comfortable home.
Over time, dirt, pollen, and other outdoor grime build up on the condenser coil. If you don’t clean that stuff off, the system can’t effectively remove heat from your home, resulting in:
- Discomfort: Your AC might not cool your home effectively, leaving you uncomfortable during the hottest months of the year.
- Expense: Since your AC has to work harder to satisfy your thermostat setting, it will run more frequently and use more energy. It won’t live up to its SEER rating.
- Breakdowns: An overworked AC is prone to equipment failure. Parts fail more frequently when an air conditioner is working harder than it’s designed to work.
The solution to this problem is simple: prevention. Just have the coil chemically cleaned every year!
Signs You Need to Have Your System Cleaned
There a few indications that you may need to clean your condenser coil. If you notice that your system isn’t running as well as it used to (i.e. not blowing enough cool air) or that your energy bills are increasing, this may point to an unkempt HVAC unit.
Additionally, there are some common visible signs to take note of. If you notice corrosion on the coils or ice forming around the condenser unit, you should call Pro-Tech HVAC Home to have the unit inspected and cleaned.
What Happens During a Chemical Cleaning?
These are the steps our technicians take to make your AC’s outdoor coil clean and sparkly during a chemical cleaning:
- Turn off power to the unit. We have to temporarily move or remove components to provide a proper cleaning, so turning off the power is essential.
- Check the refrigerant pressure. In many cases, the pressure will be higher than it’s supposed to be for a given size and type of air conditioner. We always record the pressure before cleaning the coil.
- Remove the outer casing. You can’t just spray down the outside of an outdoor unit and call it a day. You have to take the casing off to access the coil.
- Remove all debris from inside the outdoor unit. Sticks, leaves, and straws often accumulate within your outdoor unit. Removing them will improve AC efficiency and help prevent the coil from getting dirty again right away.
- Rinse the coil down with water. Self-explanatory. We get a hose and spray water directly onto the coil.
- Spray the coil with cleaning chemicals. There are special, manufacturer-approved cleaning chemicals designed just for air conditioner coils. After rinsing the coil, we spray it with the appropriate cleaning solution.
- Re-rinse the coil with water. This final rinse removes the cleaning solution, resulting in a clean-looking outdoor coil.
- Check the refrigerant pressure again. Most of the time, a coil with high pressure will now have lower pressure in line with factory specifications. That means the cleaning was effective and the AC will run more efficiently.
That’s it! The resulting gains in comfort and efficiency are often dramatic, so don’t let your coil go a whole season without cleaning.
Schedule Your Chemical Cleaning Today!
It is important to have your AC system properly maintained and chemically cleaned on a regular basis. We recommend chemically cleaning your AC once a year in either the Fall or Spring. CONTACT US today to schedule your cleaning!
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