An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.
Air Conditioner Filters
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
Air Conditioner Coils
The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
What happens when you skip AC coil cleaning
You probably aren’t in the habit of actually looking at your air conditioning unit. But if it’s in an accessible spot, take a look at the coil. If you haven’t had the unit cleaned in a while, it’s probably a nasty sight. Especially when you consider that this unit affects the air you breathe all day long.
Besides the fact that your air conditioner can’t cool your space as effectively when it’s dirty, there are other consequences of dirty coils:
- Higher energy bills. When the coils are dirty, your system has to work harder and run longer trying to keep your space cool. that means it uses significantly more electricity. You’ll see a drop in your bill when you have regular AC coil cleaning.
- More breakdowns. Running longer and working harder puts more strain on the system, causing parts to wear out faster and take down your system.
- Shorter system life. Over time, the increased wear on the system shortens its expected life span. You’ll find yourself replacing it sooner than you thought.