What is an Evaporator Coil and How Does It Work?

What is an evaporator coil

In a split-system air conditioner, your evaporator coil is located inside, away from the condenser. This equipment in the shape of an A keeps your home cool and dry all summer long. With this guide, you will know what your evaporator coil does, how to maintain it, common problems and when you need to schedule air conditioning repair.

Evaporator Coil Design

The evaporator coil is located inside the home, near the air handler. It may be built into the space where your furnace is housed, especially if your furnace functions as an air handler for your air conditioner. The evaporator coil is made of metals like copper or steel because they conduct heat well. Outside the coil are fins, which protect the coils and allow the air to pass through to the coils.

Evaporator Coil vs Condenser Coil

You have two coils in your air conditioning system, and they work together to remove heat from your home. The process of cooling is somewhat of a misnomer, because air is not cooled so much as the heat is removed. Refrigerant is sent to the evaporator coils inside the home to remove heat and humidity from the indoor air. Tubes connecting your interior and exterior HVAC equipment transfer the heated air and the hot refrigerant gas to the condenser coils outside. There, the refrigerant is cooled and recirculated back to the evaporator coils. This system cycles over and over again daily, all summer long.

Evaporator Coil Cleaning

The evaporator coils must be kept well-maintained for efficient cooling. As air is drawn into the air conditioning system from the outdoors, some debris may come with it. This debris, in the form of dust, dirt or other airborne particles, can collect on the evaporator coil fins and make it harder for the coils to remove heat from the air. The coils should be cleaned at least once a year. When you schedule Sacramento air conditioning service, your technician will clean the coils and fins, and confirm that they are in good working order.

Evaporator Coil Repairs

Your air conditioner’s evaporator coils also need repairs on occasion, particularly related to maintenance. Without regular maintenance, the coils may become too dirty. If you wait too long, they may accumulate condensation and freeze from the refrigerant. Frozen coils do not work as well, and could even overheat or cause the system to stop working. Replace your air filter to minimize the collection of dust on the coils. The coils may also corrode and leak over time, which often calls for replacement.

When summer comes around, you count on your air conditioner’s evaporator coils to remove warm air from your home, eliminate excess humidity and deliver that warm air outside. With careful maintenance, your evaporator coils will do their job well for many years. Maintenance is the difference between effective cooling in the hot summer, and a system that seems perpetually overworked and at-risk for breaking down. For more information about your Sacramento HVAC system, contact us at Ace Plumbing.