Improving Evaporator-Coil Performance Through Air-Filter Maintenance

The evaporator-coil area is the area of an AC system where the cooling process takes place. What this means is that if there is a performance drop in this area, the efficiency of the overall air-conditioning system will be affected.

As it turns out, simply cleaning your air filters and changing them regularly is sometimes enough to improve performance in the evaporator coil area and hence the entire air-conditioning system. Here is what you should know about the relationship between the state of air filters and the performance of your air conditioner.

Dirt accumulation and evaporator coil performance

Air filters play the important role of trapping dirt and mold particles that enter the air-conditioning system from the air. When the filters perform this role effectively, this usually has two effects. The first is that it guarantees improved air quality, something that then helps reduce the risks of allergic reactions around the home. The second is that effective filtering helps to protect parts of the air-conditioning system from dirt accumulation.

If the system's air filters are worn out, they won't be able to keep dust particles away from the air-conditioning system. These particles may eventually find their way to the evaporator coil. Continued accumulation of these particles on the coil surface will eventually lead to the formation of a layer of insulation. This may then reduce the effectiveness with which heat exchange takes place in the area and hence affect the rate at which air is cooled by the air-conditioning system.

In such a case, all that it takes to prevent this from happening is to simply replace the filters. Doing so at least once after every three months is an easy way of proofing your system against performance drops.

Restricted airflow and evaporator-coil performance

Since every ounce of air that finds its way into the air-conditioning system has to pass through the system's air filters, the state of the filters usually plays a role in determining the availability of warm air in the evaporator-coil area. And since continued dirt and dust accumulation over the filters can reduce the amount of air that filters let in at any given time, clogged filters are a common cause of restricted air flow over the evaporator coils.

Restricted airflow usually results in less-than-designed-for warm air availability in the evaporator coil area. As a result, the cooling effect of the refrigerant is usually enough to cause both condensation and freezing of air moisture, something that then leads to evaporator coil icing. This then causes reduced air-conditioner performance because of the insulating properties of the ice layer. The good news is that this is something that can easily be avoided by simply cleaning the dirty air filters with a damp piece of clothing.

For more information about AC maintenance, call your air-conditioning service