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Tips, Tricks & Insights About HVAC

What is an Evaporator Coil Leak

The evaporator coil in your air handler plays a crucial role in keeping your home cool during the Louisiana summer. A leak can be small enough that it goes undetected on a day-to-day basis, costing you money as you attempt to compensate through reduced thermostat settings. Your air conditioning system will also compensate by running for longer periods to reach the desired temperature. Although the issue may seem minor, you should realize that an undercharge of about 10 percent in your refrigerant supply could result in an efficiency decrease of 20 percent. Leaks need to be identified and addressed as promptly as possible to limit your costs.


What is the Evaporator Coil?

The coil is responsible for the movement of refrigerant through the air handling unit, resulting in the energy exchange process that pulls heat out of the surrounding air so that the cooling effects can be felt. As the cool air moves through the ducts and into your living spaces, the heat absorbed is carried out of the home and released into outside air. Refrigerant must go through pressure changes to absorb and release heat, and the evaporator portion of the system uses higher pressure.
Why Would My Coil Leak?

A leak in the metal of the coils may seem unusual, but there are structural factors that contribute to weakness in the coils. For example, the metals used to craft such coils can be dissimilar, resulting in the potential for corrosion. This can lead to leaks in the unit. Rifling is used to create additional surface area inside the coil by making grooves, an issue that increases the efficiency of the heat exchange process. Although efficiency levels can be increased by 50 to 60 percent through this structural feature, the metal can be weakened. This may cause your coil to be more susceptible to leaks.
How Do I Know if There’s a Leak?

A minor leak may not be easily detected on your own. You may notice that your air conditioner runs more frequently or that your home doesn’t seem as cool. You might notice higher cooling bills. These issues alone won’t indicate that a leak is present. A leak typically requires professional diagnostics. You might call for air conditioning repair if you’re noticing poor system performance, but you may also want to consider preventive maintenance.
During routine AC maintenance, your refrigerant levels can be tested to determine if the charge is appropriate. If there’s an undercharge, your technician will also look for leaks and identify the need for repairs in the evaporator coil or in the refrigerant lines. If a leak is very mild, your air conditioning repair needs may be minimal. With a major leak, you may require a replacement coil. In some cases, a new air conditioning system may be a better choice based on the age of the system and the availability of compatible coils.
If you have a major leak, you may notice the problem right away. Failure of your system to cool in spite of proper settings could be a sign of a serious refrigerant problem in your Lafayette, Louisiana, home. Call us at Lee’s Air Conditioning right away when an emergency situation like this occurs.

 

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