If you’ve read other of our blog entries or articles about air conditioning systems, you may have seen compressors called the “heart” of air conditioners. You may also know that when a compressor dies, it often spells the end of the whole air conditioner. (Whether you need to replace the compressor, the whole condenser, or the entire AC system depends on several factors we addressed earlier this year.)
Aside from these points about a compressor, many people don’t know what it is the compressor does that allows for an air conditioner to work. We’ll put the compressor under a microscope in this post to help you understand more about how your air conditioning in Van Nuys, CA works from day-to-day.
So, your service technician recommended a coil cleaning and I wanted to explain it’s value.
Not many people even know what an air conditioning coil is! This is what an indoor coil looks like:
…and an outdoor coil:
Coils have lots of delicate metal fins that create surface area where temperature transfer can occur. Warm air becomes cold as it passes over the coil. Sometimes your coil looks clean but we can tell by the rust in your drain pan that things are not functioning properly.
To give you some idea about how important clean coils are: 1/100th of an inch of dirt on your air conditioner’s coil hampers efficiency by 5%.
Now I understand that you may think, “So what. Five percent? I can live with that!”
But what’s worse is what it does to the condensation!
You know how water condensates on your cold drink in hot weather? Well, the same condensation forms on your cold air conditioning coil in hot weather. Sometimes so much condensation forms that it cannot easily be dispersed through your air conditioning system back into the air in your home. That’s why you have a condensate drain line.
Dirt on your coil is TERRIBLE when it mixes with condensation because the dirt grabs onto the water and keeps it pressed against the cold coil. That water then FREEZES and sets off a chain reaction of freezing and grabbing more condensation and freezing and grabbing until your WHOLE COIL becomes frozen.
Like this frozen coil:
Shocking, isn’t it? When the coil freezes like that ^^^ your whole system shuts down. You can see that the coil in this photo doesn’t even look that dirty!
Now, here is the important part: Before your coil becomes a block of ice it has probably had many days where it partially freezes. It may produce just enough frozen condensation to cause your system to be less effective and efficient during the day. Then at night the ice melts and sits in your drain pan causing rust – that little telltale sign that something is wrong.
So, yes, it seems like your system is working. You may even ask yourself, “Why is Kilowatt telling me that I need a coil cleaning, my system is fine!”
Then a particularly hot day comes along, your system is producing and freezing more and more condensation and suddenly the system shuts down.
Dust on the coil is like high cholesterol in the blood stream – a silent killer. The symptoms are not dramatic but a dirty coil can cause serious damage.
That is why we are recommending a coil cleaning.
Obviously, investing in a coil cleaning is your decision. No hard feelings if you choose to wait. But I wanted to make sure that you understand why we are recommending one so that you can keep an eye on your system. Here is a list of things that can exacerbate the situation… Watch out for:
• Pet fur • Loose fiber glass insulation • Ashes and soot from wildfires • Street grinding and repaving • Construction dust • Tree trimming • Pollen and other plant matter • Dusty wind • Smoking indoors – tar build-up on the coil
As always the best thing you can do for your system is regularly scheduled professional maintenance twice a year and changing the filter yourself as needed in between visits. Other than that we are a phone call away and at your service.
As older home specialists, our Kilowatt team often works with
ductless mini split systems. Going ductless is an excellent choice for these
homes because they allow for cooling and heating around the house, much like a
central HVAC system, but without needing to add an inch of ductwork.
But ductless mini splits offer other benefits for
homeowners, such as improved energy efficiency. How much of a difference can a
ductless mini split make in home comfort? We can’t give you specific dollar savings
amounts because every home is different, but we can show you how ductless
systems improve efficiency.