Dirty AC Coils: Are They Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Dirty AC Coils: Are They Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

Your AC system relies on coil components to run smoothly and efficiently in your Michigan home. When your outside AC unit has dirty coils, it can cause chain reactions throughout your system, resulting in poor cooling, breakdowns, and more.

Dirty AC Coils — The Hidden Problem

AC systems have two types of coils — a condenser coil in the outdoor unit to remove and dissipate warm air from the home and an evaporator coil in the indoor unit to cool air before distributing it to supply vents.

These components are essential to the cooling process, but dirt can build up on the coils and prevent proper AC function. This may result in:

  • Poor cooling: Coils covered in dirt or other debris can’t absorb heat effectively, causing poor cooling or warm airflow from your vents.
  • Short-cycling: Reduced cooling efficiency causes your system to work harder and more frequently to achieve the correct pressure and temperature, resulting in undue strain on your AC components.
  • High energy bills: Compensation and extra strain throughout your AC system put higher demands on energy use and may spike your utility bills.
  • Frozen coils: Restricted airflow on coil surfaces can cause the coils to drop in temperature and freeze any lingering humidity.
  • Mold and mildew: Moisture around the coils becomes an ideal habitat for mold and mildew growth, resulting in unpleasant odors and reduced indoor air quality.

DIY AC Coil Cleaning — Is It For You?

Homeowners with mechanical and HVAC expertise may be able to DIY coil cleaning. While DIY strategies often save on the costs of AC maintenance service calls and potentially prevent AC coil breakdowns, they can be hazardous.

Coils are delicate components, and inexperienced cleaning can damage the aluminum fins, potentially leading to bigger costs and headaches later. You may need to purchase costly supplies, such as a shop vacuum, brushes and combs, safety glasses, and coil cleaners.

Benefits of Professional AC Coil Cleaning

Professional AC coil cleaning helps keep your AC coils in optimal shape and offers a variety of other benefits.

1. Protect from damage

When inspecting your system’s dirty coils, a licensed HVAC technician can thoroughly investigate to identify or rule out underlying causes or anticipate future repair needs. Promptly addressing these issues can help prevent undue strain or additional damage.

2. Get industry expertise and experience

AC professionals have the knowledge, experience, and tools to efficiently maintain your outdoor and indoor coils. They can quickly diagnose coil problems, identify underlying issues, and provide a solution or repair that makes sense for your system and offers peace of mind. Their experience allows them to safely perform repairs, such as handling hazardous refrigerants.

3. Cost-efficiency

HVAC companies can often access AC system parts for wholesale prices, making some parts replacements more cost-effective than purchasing them from a store yourself. While repairing a dirty coil on your own may save you service costs, mistakes can quickly compound repair expenses. A certified technician can pinpoint the issue, create a clear repair plan, and provide an estimate.

4. Extend AC lifespan

AC coil cleaning extends lifespan and prevents damage, helping your AC system run smoothly and efficiently and reducing its overall strain. Less strain can result in reduced wear and tear on your unit and improve its longevity, lowering the risk of AC replacement expenses.

Preventing Dirty Coils

While dirt buildup is often unavoidable, several strategies can help slow or prevent debris accumulation on your coils.

Clean around units

Your AC system — particularly the outdoor unit — is vulnerable to dirt, leaves, and other debris, and even a small amount of debris can negatively affect the coils’ performance. Keep your indoor unit clean by dusting, vacuuming, and addressing any nearby debris. Brush sticks, leaves, and other debris away from your outdoor unit and hose it down about once a month.

Change air filters

Replacing your air filter at least every 90 days helps keep your AC coils clean, which allows for better airflow and cleaner indoor air. Inspect your filter once per month. Depending on your home, pets, and other factors, you may need to change your filters more often to prevent dirt accumulation.

Opting for a high-quality air filter helps prevent particles from traveling through your system and to your coils. Your owner’s manual or HVAC maintenance technician can recommend a compatible filter.

Regular maintenance

A combination of professional maintenance and DIY efforts between service appointments provides the most thorough care for your system. Have an HVAC technician thoroughly inspect and clean your system once or twice a year. They can tighten or adjust components as needed and provide recommendations for repairs or upgrades.

Schedule AC Coil Service in Troy, Michigan

Keep your AC coils clean to maintain your system’s longevity, energy efficiency, and performance and improve your home’s overall comfort. Since 1980, Hoover Electric, Plumbing, and Heating have provided Troy, Michigan, and surrounding areas with excellent customer service and expert HVAC knowledge.

Contact us today to schedule a service with our experienced HVAC team and receive a free estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do technicians clean dirty coils?

The exact cleaning approach depends on the unit’s model and condition. HVAC technicians generally use a combination of compressed air, coil-cleaning chemical solutions, and shop vacuums to clean a dirty condenser coil.

Can I repair the condenser coils myself?

Repairing condenser coils typically isn’t a DIY job, as the components are delicate and sometimes complex. Some coils can’t be repaired and may require replacement.

Can I replace just the outside AC unit?

Replacing only the outside AC unit can result in an incompatible cooling system that’s less efficient or effective than replacing both the outdoor and indoor units.

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