As an Arizona homeowner, you know how important it is to have a functioning air conditioner and reliable AC system. One of the key components of your AC system is the evaporator coil. When this coil fails and stops properly cooling your home, you are faced with an important decision:
Do you replace just the evaporator coil or do you replace your entire AC unit?
Weighing the two options is not an easy task, but educating yourself can help you make the best decision for you, your home, and your wallet.
What is an evaporator coil?
Simply explained, the evaporator coil is the part of your air conditioner that absorbs the heat from the air inside your home. In more technical terms, the evaporator coil holds chilled refrigerant. As the blower or air handler moves air over the coil, the refrigerant captures the heat and travels to the outdoor condenser unit.
During the cooler months when you are running your heat pump, the process is reversed. The evaporator coil will discharge warm air from the refrigerant instead of absorbing it.
Why does it fail?
The evaporator coil within your cooling system can malfunction and fail for plenty of reasons. Some of these include:
No Routine Maintenance – Preventative maintenance is the best way to discover the smallest issues with your AC system. Without performing this maintenance, you may save a few dollars now, but could pay for it later when your evaporator coil fails.
Dirty Filter – Not changing or cleaning your air filter might not seem like that big of a teal, but a dirty filter can cause damage to the coil. Be sure to change your air filter approximately every 30 days.
Other Issues w/ The Unit – Typically when one component of your system has issues, it may lead to problems with other parts of your unit. If you have problems with your condenser coil especially, you might have future issues with your evaporator coil.
Age Of The Unit – The older your air conditioner, the higher your chances of a malfunction occurring. In Arizona, we use our air conditioners a lot! Each time they are used, the tubes within the evaporator coil expand and contract. This movement can make the coils weak over time and is increased the older the system is.
When the evaporator coil malfunctions and fails, you may have the opportunity to replace it. Doing so is more cost effective, but in the long-run, is it worth it?
When should you replace the entire AC unit?
Your AC System is Old – A standard lifespan of an air conditioner is between 10-15 years. If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old and the evaporator coil breaks, you may want to replace the entire unit. Doing so will also help with the efficiency of your entire HVAC system and end up saving you more in the long-run.
Outdated Evaporator Coil – All AC units have a minimum SEER requirement of 14. If you have an older unit, there is a high chance that your unit has a SEER rating below 14 and parts are hard to find or obsolete. Installing parts that are not what your system and unit needs can cause additional damage.
R-22 Refrigerant Is Used – If your current AC system utilizes R-22 as refrigerant and your evaporator coil breaks down, you will need to have a new unit installed. R-22 is no longer being produced because it is harmful to the environment. With it becoming increasingly more rare and more expensive, purchasing a new unit is definitely the way to go.
Consult A Professional
When faced with the choice of whether to replace an evaporator coil or replace the entire AC unit, be sure to educate yourself and weigh all options. Ultimately, the decision may come down to what is best for you at the time. Consult with your trusted HVAC professional if you are unsure of your options.
Reliable Air Conditioning is available for all of your evaporator coil and new air conditioning unit installation needs. We offer premium service and FREE estimates for new AC systems. Contact our office to discuss your options and for a professional option!
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