Evaporator Coil Leaks
Acid and mold are two main causes of evaporator coil leaks in your Largo-area air conditioner. These causes in a split-system A/C generally begin with the indoor environment of the home instead of the coil itself. The function of the evaporator coil is to extract heat and water vapor from the flow of indoor air pulled over the coil by the blower fan. The volume of air passing over the coil is substantial: In a typical three-ton residential A/C system, it’s more than 1,400 cubic feet of air per minute. Indoor air quality directly affects the condition of the evaporator coil and vice versa.
The evaporator coil contains frigid refrigerant vapor that continuously circulates between the evaporator and the outdoor condenser coil. When a leak develops and the refrigerant level drops, A/C efficiency declines precipitously until eventually all cooling function is lost. Only an HVAC professional can properly measure the level of refrigerant in the system and diagnose a leak. Here’s a quick look at those two potential causes of evaporator coil leaks.
Common building materials and some household cleaning products release vapors containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde into the air. As VOCs circulate through the airflow of the HVAC system, they contact copper surfaces of the evaporator coil, which is usually wet from condensation. VOCs react with copper and water to create formic acid that corrodes the coil, eventually causing leakage.
The narrow, wet surfaces of an evaporator coil can also spawn mold growth. Dormant airborne mold spores present in the indoor environment circulate through the system airflow and become active mold growth when they contact moisture present on the evaporator coil. Chronic mold growth on the coil may cause disintegration of the coil, clogging coil passages and obstructing all airflow.
Regular annual maintenance by an HVAC professional, including evaporator coil cleaning, can reduce the damaging effects of VOCs and airborne mold spores. In addition, whole-house air purifiers that utilize ultraviolet light degrade VOCs and neutralize mold spores.
For more information on the causes of evaporator coil leaks and how to prevent them in your Largo area home, contact United Air Conditioning.
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