Why Evaporating Coils Need to be Replaced

Why They Matter To Your HVAC System

Imagine your skin feeling pasty and moist from sweat, the air around it thick and hot. You’re thrilled that breathing is involuntary… otherwise, you might choose to reject air itself for its offensively torrid existence. It’s officially summer, and the strategically-placed high-powered fans can no longer measure up to what Mother Nature is brewing. Your city’s temperatures have hit a level that your spouse finally deems worthy of the ultimate relief… turning on the air conditioner.

Wife Telling Her Husband What To DoEven the thought of cool air sends a calming wave across your flushed face. Slowly, you rise from your chair, conscious of the fact that walking is now legitimately considered overexertion. You take one sluggish step after the next, after the next… until you reach the thermostat. In one subtle and powerful motion, you shift the indicator from its neutral “OFF” position, slightly left to “COOL.” And then you wait.

It usually takes a few moments for the familiar hum to begin. Your eyes are closed in anticipation. You decide that even if you don’t feel the cool air right away, you’re fine knowing that it’s on its way. You stand there, patiently inhaling and exhaling, feeling proud about the money your family has saved by outlasting your neighbors (on both sides). They’d turned their units on weeks ago. Suckers.

As the seconds tick on, you realize that nothing’s happening. Nothing. You look up at the vent, as if flowing air will show itself to you even as it remains silent. It doesn’t. And you know instinctively that something is wrong. You reach for the thermostat again. “Perhaps turning it off, then back on, will reset it somehow,” you think. It doesn’t. You walk outside, almost in a panic, and find yourself staring at your central air conditioning unit. Besides being a bit dusty, it looks fine to you. What you’re about to discover is a problem happening just beneath the surface.

What Causes Damage To The Evaporating Coils?

As summer approaches, heat and humidity tend to follow. Just like we get our vehicles winterized in preparation for the cooling weather, our air conditioning units must be checked to make certain their cooling functions are working properly. One of the most important components of an air conditioning system is the cooling coil (evaporator coil). Air conditioners remove hot air from inside your home through these coils, and the hot air is cooled by refrigerant that flows from liquid to gaseous form through the coils. If these parts don’t work, it can result in a sweltering, miserable time indoors.

Evaporating CoilsSo, what causes coils to break down? There are a lot of factors that impact the effectiveness of coils, and the wear and tear that takes place as a result.

Geography ::: Although the standard life expectancy of cooling coils is around twenty years, geography has a definite impact. Areas with higher amounts of moisture in the air require lower coil temperatures. If the coils are unable to condense the moisture, it can cause “high humidity, mold, and human discomfort,” according to a 2016 article published by The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS online.

Leaks ::: Over time, cooling coils can develop holes through which refrigerant will leak. This can be a health and environmental hazard, so it is important to quickly seal the leak or replace the coils altogether. Leaking refrigerant oil will leave noticeable stains at the point of the leakage. TO see the leakage, you would have to remove the panel covering the inner workings of the unit, which isn’t recommended unless you’re a professional.

Blockages ::: There are several things that can block the flow of air through the coils, including ice/frost, dirt, and debris. Ice can be the result of incorrect refrigerant charge in your unit, and it can quickly accumulate, blocking the flow of air. Mold can also grow in the coil, closing the opening through which air and coolant are supposed to flow freely. Technicians carry small air flow meters with them, and can measure this with accuracy if you are not sure.

How You Know There Is A Problem

Most people aren’t HVAC experts, so it can be difficult to tell whether or not your cooling coils are in good shape. There are several clues that let you know that there may be a problem with your coils, here are a few:

  • A/C is on, but warm air is blowing out through air vents
  • A/C continually shuts on and off without cooling
  • A/C makes strange sounds such as a banging or hissing
  • There are leaks near the indoor unit
  • A/C will not turn on at all

What To Do When Your A/C Unit Stops Working

HVAC TechIf you notice any of these signs, contact a professional HVAC technician immediately. Turning on a malfunctioning – or worse… non-functioning – air conditioning unit in the midst of a blazing hot -summer is an uncomfortable misfortune. The longer you wait for repair or replacement, the greater the damage. The greater the damage, the more expensive the solution. And the only thing worse than paying a lot of money to fix a problem that could have been avoided… is being really hot while doing it. It’s hard to remember how valuable an efficient air conditioning system is until you are in the middle of your own nature-made sauna. Check your unit today. Don’t wait.

What’s Involved In Gas Furnace Maintenance And Safety?

Gas furnaces are one the safest appliances in a home when they are properly cared for. Furnaces don’t need much attention, but there are certain things you should do on a regular basis in order to keep yours running smoothly. This will help ensure both its longevity and your family’s safety.

Care And Maintenance For Gas Furnaces

The following maintenance routines, performed by yourself and a qualified professional, can keep your furnace in top condition.

  • Clean or replace your filters every other month, or sooner if they become dirty.
  • Keep flammable and combustible materials away from the furnace area.
  • Keep your combustion air free from obstructions.
  • Use louvers or grills to circulate combustion air in small rooms.
  • Keep heat registers and cold-air returns clear.
  • Make sure blower doors are always securely in place.
  • Keep the vent system free from obstructions.
  • Consider keeping your pilot light lit year round for easy use.
  • Have a heating professional inspect your furnace yearly and make sure they replace frayed or cracked blower belts, and oil the blower motor twice a year when applicable.

Why Is Maintenance Important?

While gas furnaces are safe when properly maintained, not caring for it could result in complications involving natural gas. When natural gas isn’t burned completely, it can create an excess of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible, and inhalation of this poisonous gas can result in health problems, including death. Other symptoms of natural gas inhalation include severe headaches, weakness, nausea and vomiting. If these symptoms subside when you leave the home, you may have a gas leak.

Some gas companies will add a pungent odorant that residents are able to smell if there is a gas leak. If you smell natural gas, follow these steps:

  • Don’t light a flame.
  • Don’t use your phone inside or near the home.
  • Don’t use electrically operated equipment or light switches.
  • Call your gas company once you’ve left your home.
  • Also immediately leave if you hear a leak.

Natural gas is completely safe when it’s processed correctly through a furnace. Performing regular maintenance will help ensure that your furnace remains free of complications.

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