The Effects of Faulty AC Coils

Faulty AC coils can cause serious problems, so schedule AC repair as soon as you notice something is wrong. Evaporator and condenser coils transport refrigerant so an HVAC system can collect and dissipate heat. It won’t do so effectively if the coils are damaged. Fortunately, the effects are noticeable, so you should know when to call a local AC contractor.

How Do AC Coils Work?

The evaporator and condenser coils are connected by coolant lines, which bring refrigerant to and from the condenser. A fan in the condenser unit dissipates heat from the refrigerant in the lines. The compressor then pumps the coolant back to the evaporator, where coils absorb heat and a blower pushes cool air into ducts. The coolant returns to the condenser to dissipate heat once again.

Signs You Have Faulty AC Coils

The most common effects of faulty AC coils in your home include:

  • Refrigerant Leak: A leak can occur if an object falls against the coils. The coils can also become corroded due to exposure to acidic compounds in the air. If you see a refrigerant leak, call for help right away. It can do major damage to your AC and is a toxic chemical; exposure can lead to skin and respiratory problems.
  • Environmental Damage: Coolant can harm the environment if it leaks from a damaged AC coil. It can contribute to atmospheric warming and ozone layer depletion (especially older R-22 Freon). A hissing sound from the coils means refrigerant gas is escaping.
  • Reduced Cooling Efficiency: Refrigerant enables your AC system to generate cool air. A lack of cooling is one of the leading signs of faulty AC coils. Damaged coils cannot absorb heat effectively, so the system may not cool your home, or the cooling it provides will be inconsistent. Some rooms can be much cooler than others instead of the normal uniform distribution of air.
  • A Noisy AC: Most air conditioners operate nearly silently. You should be used to the sound of the fan and airflow. If the evaporator coil is broken, you may hear a hissing or banging noise. These sounds mean refrigerant is leaking or loose or misaligned components are hitting other parts of your AC system. Ignoring any unusual noises can lead to even more significant damage.
  • Frozen Coils: Ice can form on coils due to a refrigerant leak. Low refrigerant levels reduce the amount of heat transported through the lines, cooling them enough to cause condensation to freeze (poor airflow can also do so). The ice further contributes to the problem because it insulates the refrigerant, inhibiting heat transfer. Therefore, the air in your house is not cooled.
  • Higher Energy Bills: Worn or damaged coils force your air conditioner to work harder to maintain a cool temperature. The extra work increases energy consumption. As a result, your monthly energy bills may increase suddenly or gradually without a clear reason. And, if your AC system works harder for a long period, major components can wear out, requiring costly repairs.
  • The AC Short Cycles: The air conditioner may cycle on and off frequently if the evaporator coils can’t absorb enough heat. Short cycling wastes energy and can strain the system. The extra wear and tear can lead to expensive repairs or premature system failure. Call an AC contractor near you if the unit starts to run in shorter cycles.

How Do I Protect My AC Coils?

Check the AC coils often to reduce the risk of damage. Dust, hair, grime, and dirt can build up on them over time. The longer you wait, the harder the buildup is to remove. Use an AC coil cleaner or hose off outdoor coils to prevent damage, or call a contractor for help. If the coils freeze, have them check for a leak or airflow issue and, if necessary, correct it.

What’s the Safest Coil Cleaner to Use?

Use an AC coil cleaner that’s labeled for use with your type of system. The user manual or your AC installer may recommend certain products. You can also use a mix of water and mild dish detergent, and even add a little distilled white vinegar, for effective cleaning.

Should a Faulty AC Coil Be Repaired or Replaced?

Coils may be sealed or repaired if the damage is limited to a small area. However, a leak is often caused by eroded metal and corrosion. If part of the coil is corroded, other areas are likely affected. An HVAC contractor will generally recommend replacing it, which can be less expensive than a repair and recharge.

Call Trio Heating & Air

We provide high-quality AC repair services in The Greater San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a faulty AC coil or any other problem, our skilled professionals find the most cost-effective, permanent solution. They promptly evaluate the effects of any problem so it can be quickly diagnosed and repaired. Our team also provides high-quality AC installation and maintenance. To learn more or schedule air conditioning services from experienced AC contractors near you, book an appointment online or call (415) 223-5096.

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