As we close our windows, turn on the heat, and prepare for the colder weather it should be a top priority to think about the quality of the air inside your home. Many pollutants can get into our systems throughout the season, but these pollutants do not have a way out. This can contribute to many symptoms including headaches, allergies, flu-like symptoms, and lightheadedness.
Staying on top of furnace cleaning throughout the heating season is a must to heat your home dependably and keep your indoor air healthy. Dust and debris covering the parts inside your blower compartment and ductwork compromise the entire system and can lead to safety problems.
When it comes to improving energy efficiency, improving the inside air that you breathe, and saving money, a coil-cleaning program should be an integral part of maintaining your HVAC system.
If not cleaned annually, dirty condenser coils can cause many problems, including:
- Dirty HVAC coils can increase energy consumption by approximately 37%.
- When a coil is dirty, it can no longer provide the designed heat transfer, causing higher discharge pressure and increased energy usage. This leads to increased utility costs.
- When the coils are dirty, the compressor needs to work harder, which adds excessive heat to the system and can result in a loss of up to 30% of the system’s cooling capacity.
- Dirty coils create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, directly affecting the air quality of your building.
- The increased workload, operating pressures, and temperatures that dirty coils cause can significantly shorten the life of your HVAC equipment. Replacing a compressor is a fairly expensive repair.
Over time HVAC equipment will fall into differing levels of disrepair leading to energy waste and compromised comfort for a building’s occupants. The condenser and evaporator coils are, to a large extent, where much of the work gets done in an HVAC system. Maintaining these coils, and keeping them clean, is essential to efficient operation.
The condenser coil is exposed to unfiltered outdoor air, so it will accumulate dirt and debris at a predictable and consistent rate from year to year. Because of this continued accumulation of dirt, annual cleaning of the condenser coils makes sense in almost all circumstances. Studies have shown that unmaintained condenser coils can decrease overall unit efficiency by 5% in 15 years and 30% in 20 years. Monitoring the cleaning and amount of dirt/debris that is removed, will quickly tell you if it is necessary to do it on an annual basis.
The evaporator coil is quite a bit different in that it is only exposed to your indoor air. The rate of dirt and debris build-up can be far slower if your furnace or air handler has a good air filtration system such as an electronic air cleaner and if your ducts are clean and sealed. However, if you don’t have an air cleaner and you use 1-inch disposable filters, then your evaporator coil can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, and the impact on efficiency and operation can be significant. An evaporator coil that is compromised by dirt and debris will inhibit both airflow and heat transfer causing a substantial reduction in temperature control and overall efficiency.
The best time to get your coils cleaned is during your seasonal heating tune-up, which we recommend scheduling in the fall before the first truly cold days of winter arrive. The earlier you book, the easier it will be to schedule.
Regardless of the preventative maintenance schedule, you perform on your equipment, keeping your coils clean is essential to having your system operate at the optimal efficiency, as well as to keep the overall comfort inside your home.