Importance of Filter Maintenance

An evaporator coil impacted with debris and dirt.

Utilization of an air filter, along with changing of the filter with new, is one of the most important maintenance tasks a homeowner can do. Dust, dirt, pollen, hairs, pet dander, mold and fungus spores, and general debris can all be found moving around indoor air. An air filter’s job is to catch this debris in the air before it has the ability to enter the ducts or the air handler. If a filter is not changed often enough, or not used at all, contaminants in the air will begin to build on the walls of the ducts, and inevitably the evaporator coil itself. If the evaporator coil becomes impacted, it cannot transfer heat from the indoor air, causing the coil to form ice and stop cooling. The photo above is an example of an evaporator coil that has become impacted with debris due to poor filter maintenance.

Evaporator coil treated with a coil cleaner to remove dirt and debris.

When an evaporator coil becomes too impacted with debris to allow airflow, the coil must be removed from the air handler and cleaned. This involves recovery of the systems refrigerant, and cutting of the copper lines, which is why it should only be provided by an air conditioning contractor and is never a DIY project.

Once the coil is properly pulled and protected, a foaming coil cleaner is introduced to the coil to begin the debris removal.

Victoria Moore, HVAC Technician with Beacon Services & Appliances cleaning a evaporator coil.
Victoria Moore, HVAC Technician with Beacon Services & Appliances

Once the coil cleaner has had time to process the debris, it is rinsed out. In the above photo, you can see Vicky using medium pressure water to rinse the coil cleaner from the coil. Depending on how impacted the debris is, the coil may require multiple treatments.

An almost clean evaporator coil that needs another rinse.

After several treatments and rinses, the foam begins to run clear, and the coil begins to look new.

Clean evaporator coil after a coil pull and clean.

Finally, all of the debris is removed, the coil can now be re-installed into the air handler, the copper lines soldered and vacuumed, and the refrigerant re-introduced to the system. In most cases, a liquid line filter dryer is also replaced/installed to protect the refrigerant from contaminants since the “closed loop” system has been opened.

Now that the evaporator coil is clean, air can freely pass over it, and heat can again transfer onto it from the indoor air. Again, with proper filter maintenance, this service should never be required. Only when the filter is forsaken does the evaporator coil have no choice but to become the filter.

Are you experiencing poor indoor airflow? Do you have debris on the inside of your air handler and need expert help? The friendly technicians at Beacon Services & Appliances | Beacon Air & Heat, Inc can help. Call us today at 352-726-7530.

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