All About Your AC Unit’s Condenser Coil
As the proud owner of a modern AC system, you need to know the basics about AC anatomy, problems, and care. Your AC unit has two coils: the evaporator coil and the condenser coil. The evaporator coil is typically located indoors if you have a central AC system, whereas the condenser coil is part of your outdoor unit.
Here are the basics you need to know about your AC unit’s condenser coil:
Condenser Coil Location
The AC system’s outdoor condenser unit has the condenser coil wrapped around its outside perimeter. This provides the condenser coil with maximum access to the fresh outdoor air.
However, this location can also leave the coil more vulnerable to physical damage. Condenser coil fins are often damaged by hail, rocks kicked up by lawnmowers, or even neighborhood vandals. Some AC owners opt to surround the coil with a hail guard or an anti-theft cage for this reason.
Condenser Coil Function
The condenser coil is made up of two main parts: the piping with coolant flowing through it and the fins that help disperse the heat. When the coolant arrives in the condenser coil, it’s hot because it has just absorbed excess heat from inside your home.
Removing this excess heat from the coolant into the outdoor air is the condenser coil’s job. The coolant runs through thin piping behind a wall of thin vertical metal fins. The fins conduct heat away from the piping and into the air, using their larger surface area to allow faster heat transfer.
This process causes the nearby air to heat up, so the AC unit’s fan draws fresh air into the unit constantly to keep things going.
Condenser Coil Care
Like the rest of your AC system, your condenser coil needs both home care and professional care. Home care can include checking the fins to make sure they haven’t been flattened. You can also vacuum the fins off occasionally if you see debris building up, and it’s recommended to keep the area around the coil clear of vegetation for at least three feet to allow free airflow.
Professional maintenance visits will typically include some type of condenser coil care, such as cleaning the coil and checking for and fixing bent fins.
Condenser Coil Troubleshooting
Condenser coils can suffer from several different common problems. One of the most common problems is blocked airflow. In spring and summer, any grass or landscaping plants near the unit could grow so fast it’s hard to keep them trimmed back. Falling leaves, blown pine needle mulch, or even grass clippings thrown by a mower or weed eater can block up the fins.
If you’ve checked the airflow and something still doesn’t seem right, try vacuuming out the fins (turn off the electricity to the unit first) or have the coil professionally cleaned. Dirt doesn’t transfer heat well, so fins that are dirty may reduce your unit’s functionality. Bent fins may need to be combed out as well before the coil will function at its best.
Condenser coils can also suffer from more serious problems, such as coolant leaks. If you suspect your coil has a leak or some other major issue, call for AC repairs.
These basics will help you care for your AC unit’s condenser coil well so it’s less likely to incur any damage or suffer any malfunctions. But whether your condenser coil needs repairs or whether you’d just like to schedule an annual checkup for the whole system, Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar is here to help. Get in touch today to learn more.