Home with outdoor lighting

Why Clean Coils Are Important for an Efficient Air Conditioner

California may be known for mild weather, but summer can be anything but mellow in the Inland Empire. With temperatures into the triple-digits being extraordinarily common, it’s absolutely critical that you have an air conditioner you can depend on to keep your home cool and comfortable. However, running your air conditioner can get expensive, especially with California’s rising energy prices. Naturally, you want your system to be as effective and energy-efficient as possible in order to keep costs down and stay comfortable.

One of the ways you can improve your system’s efficiency is to make sure that your air conditioner’s coils remain clean. Every air conditioner has two coils which facilitate the heat transfer which makes the cooling process possible: one located in your indoor unit (known as your “evaporator coil”) and one in your outdoor unit (known as a “condenser coil”). These coils are metallic tubes, often copper or another metal that’s adept at transferring heat. That are filled with a fluid known as refrigerant, which is what transports the heat from inside your home where you don’t want it to the outside where you do.

Why Dirty Coils Are Inefficient

The air conditioning process is quite simple: air is forced over your indoor coil, where the heat from the air is absorbed by the refrigerant in the coil. The refrigerant in your indoor coil is cold, which makes it great at absorbing heat, and makes the air that passes over it feel cool. When the refrigerant moves outside, the heat from the coil is then disbursed into the atmosphere, where you don’t want it. This is done by once again forcing air over your outdoor coil, which is why the air from the fan in your outdoor unit feels warm or even hot.

But here’s the thing: any dirt, dust, or other debris that gets on your coil’s surface acts as a sort-of blanket, preventing the heat transfer you want from happening. The dirt and dust do not transfer heat well, and that means they block heat from leaving your coil in your outdoor unit, or preventing your indoor coil from absorbing heat from your inside air. While you more than likely won’t notice the different of just a few specks of dust on one of your coils, even a thin layer of dust coating the majority of your coil can reduce your efficiency by as much as 10 percent or more, and that’s a huge chunk added to your energy bills.

Signs Your Air Conditioner is Inefficient

How can you tell you’re dealing with dirty coils? The first and most obvious side effect is increased energy bills. When you notice that your energy costs have increased significantly and you can’t seem to find any reason why, then your air conditioner may be the reason. You can also tell by the length of your air conditioner’s cycling. If it seems as though your air conditioner is running for a long, long time to cool your home by even just one or two degrees, then this could be because of a lack of cooling efficiency, resulting in longer run times, less cold air, and more energy being used. Finally, if your air conditioner freezes over, there’s a good chance it happened because of a dirty coil. Freezing tends to be the end result of the water vapor on a cold coil coming into contact with a piece of dust or dirt, causing it to immediately freeze. Eventually, when enough ice accumulates, your air conditioner freezes over and has to shut itself down.

Schedule your coil cleaning and annual maintenance by calling All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical at (909) 253-0664 today!