The evaporator coil in your air conditioner holds the refrigerant that cools your home. If you keep up with maintenance, the coil can have a long life. Otherwise, the coil can develop pinhole leaks and allow the refrigerant to escape slowly. Here's a look at how an evaporator coil can be damaged and the AC repairs that might be needed.
Signs Of An Evaporator Coil Problem
The evaporator coil works along with the condenser coil to circulate refrigerant from the outside AC unit to the indoor air handler. The cold refrigerant in the coil pulls heat from your home and releases it outdoors. If the coil is damaged in some way, the refrigerant can't do its job and your AC won't cool your home very well.
Signs of evaporator coil problems include your AC running longer but not cooling your house and warmer than usual air flowing from the registers when your AC is running. The evaporator coil is difficult to see inside the air handler, and pinholes are so tiny, you can't see them anyway.
You probably won't be able to tell by looking if your AC is malfunctioning due to an evaporator coil issue unless the coil is covered in ice, which can happen when refrigerant gets low.
Causes Of Evaporator Coil Damage
One of the main reasons for evaporator coil damage is VOC gasses in the air of your home. These gasses come from a variety of building materials and products you use daily. They're acidic in nature, and they can cause tiny pits and holes to develop in the refrigerant lines and coils.
Another reason the evaporator coil may fail is due to age and wearing down of the inside of the coil due to refrigerant fluid circulating constantly.
Repairs Your Evaporator Coil May Need
An AC repair technician has to figure out the cause of the AC malfunction, and a refrigerant leak can be verified or ruled out by testing the pressure in your air conditioning system. If the pressure is low, there's a leak in the refrigerant line somewhere. If the leak is caused by exposure to VOC gasses, it's possible there will be multiple leaks since the entire coil has the same amount of exposure.
The repair technician, like those at Nathan's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. and other locations, might repair a single leak and then fill the refrigerant. If there are multiple leaks, the technician might try using a sealant on the lines to seal all the leaks from the inside. These two types of repairs might be temporary depending on the condition of your coils. The technician might suggest replacing the coils instead.
Since replacing the coils is an expensive AC repair, you'll need to consider the age of your air conditioner and if you intend to stay in your house for a few more years. Switching the damaged coil with a new one gives you peace of mind the leak has stopped and your AC will work more efficiently.