Air Conditioner can be called a complex appliance. And it becomes even more complex when it starts to have problems frequently. A leaking evaporator coil is an issue commonly faced by homeowners with only a handful of people knowing the reason of it and the fixes to it. Before the fixes or reasons are learned, it is imperative to explain what component of the AC is called evaporator coil and what function does it perform.

Evaporator coil - The What, The How?

An evaporator coil is a component located within the condenser unit of an Air Conditioner. It consists of a panel with several twists of tubes. These tubes fill in themselves the refrigerant and then circulate it within the tubes. Doing so lowers the temperature and the cooling of tubes cools the air. The function of the evaporator coil suggests that a leaking coil would definitely result in a AC system losing its cooling efficiency.

Causes leading to evaporator leak - The WHY?

Experts suggest that the manufacturing of the coils is such that they should last as long as the system is generally expected to last; 15-20 years. But for this to happen, routine maintenance and annual tune-up is a must. When that is not provided, the system's evaporator coil may leak or get damaged in a way that cannot be repaired.

While there could be many reasons behind a leaking coil (sometimes a neophyte tech who repaired your system lately) but one of the most common reasons is the presence of volatile organic compounds VOC's in the indoor. These are usually present in paints, air fresheners, cleaning products etc. As the air is sucked by the AC to cool, a chemical reaction takes place when the refrigerant reacts with these VOC's. Resultantly, acid is produced which creates holes in the refrigerant coil/pipe. Since the holes are usually very tiny, they cannot be observed with naked eyes. However, there are signs to figure out a refrigerant leak situation.

Signs of a leaking refrigerant coil 

Look out for 3 major signs to identify a leak in your coil.
- If your home takes too long to cool the indoor and this has happened suddenly with no significantly big change in the temperature outside, consider this sign
- If the airflow right in front on the registers feels very mild and very different from usual, mark this sign as well
- In addition to a mild airflow, a warm airflow is another indication of leaking refrigerant coil. The refrigerant is leaking and therefore, there is not enough refrigerant to cool the air

Fixes for Leaking Refrigerant Coil 

Leaking refrigerant coil also means insufficient refrigerant. Since exposure to the AC refrigerant could be very dangerous, is is highly recommended that a professional is called to repair the leaks and then refill the refrigerant. Homeowners can do little in this regard. The best thing homeowners can do in order to avoid refrigerant leaks is to follow preventive measures.

Preventive measures to avoid Refrigerant Leaks 

- In case you make use of VOC containing products too much; being a painter, artist etc, consider performing these activities in porch or garage to avoid accumulating VOC's in the indoor
- UV Lights and some specific Air Purifiers offer VOC's combat. Consider investing in those
- Ensure proper ventilation on a daily basis
- Keep the signs of leaks in mind and ask your maintenance, tune-up technicians to specifically check out for leaks
- Do not let animals and pests make your outdoor unit their home. Animal urine also leads to corrosion

Instead of spending bucks later on repair, consider spending some time to look out for these signs and some care to not produce the situation for leaks.

2 Responses so far.

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