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What Happens When Your Evaporator Coil Is Dirty?

A: When the evaporator coil is dirty, a couple of things happen. If debris gets in there, it’s going to reduce airflow and slow down the rate at which air flows thru the coil. So, it’s going to compromise cooling, humidity control.

Eventually, it can overwork the compressor and the blower motor, causing them to over amp and possibly fail. So, you have to make sure you replace your filters in a timely manner—make sure the system is off when you replace it.

An evaporator coil should always be clean because there’s a filter before it. There’s no reason why there should be any debris there.

Then, all the seals in the attic assembly where the return ductwork connects to the furnace and the evaporator coil, need to be sealed properly. If not, you’re introducing unconditioned are from the attic, more than likely with dust. Most people don’t go up in the attic and dust, so all that will end up trapped in your coil and eventually lead to system failure.

The primary function of your HVAC system’s evaporator coil is to absorb heat from the air circulating in your home. Given that it is such a crucial function of the HVAC system, the slightest amount of debris on your coil can impact performance. A majority of calls for AC repair in Houston are due to a dirty evaporator coil.

In fact, if your system doesn’t seem like it’s cooling like it used to, you too may have a dirty evaporator coil.

If you’re not sure—keep reading, we’ll cover common symptoms of a dirty evaporator coil. You might need to place a call for service if your system is showing these signs.

Two Main Symptoms Of A Dirty Evaporator Coil

You should always pay attention to how your HVAC is performing in cooling your home. It could be showing you signs of trouble early on. Catch the signs of a dirty evaporator coil early, and you’ll save yourself a financial headache.

Always Running But Not Cooling— Sure, it may seem like an obvious sign, but you’d be surprised how many Houston homeowners attribute this to the weather. Just because it’s 101° outside doesn’t mean a good HVAC unit should struggle to keep your home cool.

If your unit is running constantly but your home isn’t getting very cool, that’s not the heat in Houston. The system is designed to turn on in cycles. When the temperature in your house goes over the setting you specify, it kicks on until it reaches your setting. If it has trouble cooling, it will cycle more often seemingly running constantly. These issues are almost always an issue with a failed or dirty evaporator coil.

The more dirt buildup on your coil the less effective it’s going to be in absorbing the hot air in your home. Naturally, it’s going to have trouble cooling it down as well. So get that coil checked out, it shouldn’t be dirty!

Frozen Evaporator Coil— An evaporator coil is supposed to be cold, about 40° normally. But when dealing with a dirty evaporator coil, it can’t absorb as much heat. This leads to condensation on the coil and eventually, it can freeze, causing serious damage to your unit. So, if you see ice built up on the evaporator coil, turn off your system immediately. Contact AIRTEAM to schedule a service call to prevent any further damage.

Preventing A Dirty Evaporator Coil

Typically, with proper maintenance and care, your evaporator coil shouldn’t accumulate debris or dirt. However, it’s not impossible as this article wouldn’t be necessary if it were. The good news is, there are a few easy tips to keeping dirt at bay.

Proper Filter Upkeep

Your air filter may seem like an insignificant part of your Houston HVAC system. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s responsible for keeping all sorts of debris from penetrating your system. It gets dirty over time though and with more dirt, it becomes less effective, so it should be replaced.

Usually, you should replace it every 2-3 months for basic systems and some high-end systems—once or twice a year. Your home environment is a big factor in replacement frequency. If you have pets that lose a lot of their coat often, you’ll need to replace the filter more often. You should also clean the air return vents and individual vents to remove any dust or dirt.

Upgrade The Filter

Tying into the filter aspect, it might be worthwhile to upgrade your filter as well. Filters are made from many different materials and you have basic materials and advanced materials. You need to be sure whatever you upgrade to is fully compatible with your system and fits properly or it will cause issues. The filter rating should not exceed what your unit can handle or it will also cause issues.

Get A Preventative Maintenance Plan

You need to have your AC serviced and tuned up twice a year if you want it to run its best. One of the best ways to keep it running smoothly is with a preventative maintenance plan like our MVP program. With our Houston HVAC experts keeping an eye on your system, problems can be caught early. When an evaporator coil gets buildup or fails, it usually could have been detected before becoming an issue.  The MVP plan is only a fraction of what it would cost you to repair a major breakdown—completely worth it.

Do Not Attempt To Replace Or Repair It Yourself

While it might seem like a simple fix to clean or replace a dirty or failed evaporator coil—it’s deceiving. To access the coil you have to get inside the internal unit up in the attic near the blower fan. Not only can it be dangerous traversing an attic, but there’s also a lot of voltage in that unit.

AC units due to their design, still hold electricity within their components after being powered down. To get to the coil you have to reach far into the unit. Without proper training, you could easily electrocute yourself.

For this reason, it’s best to contact a Houston HVAC professional to properly discharge the components. Then, and only then would they then service the evaporator coil, it’s just too dangerous to take any “shortcuts.”

Keep That Evaporator Coil Clean—Become an AIRTEAM MVP Today!

We know your schedule is busy and while home projects like painting the walls or planting flowers are simple—HVAC repair is not.

Not only that, it can cause you harm and potentially ruin your system or void the warranty. With our MVP preventative maintenance program you won’t have to worry about a dirty coil.

We’ll make sure your system stays in top working order and catch simple issues before they can turn into failures.

Contact us today to become a member and schedule your first maintenance call!

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