Jul 07 2015

The A/C evaporator coil is a critical component of the home cooling process, but it can often develop leaks and interfere with the functioning of other parts of the system. The coil is located inside your home, usually on the top of the furnace or inside the air handler. As warm indoor air passes over the coil, the refrigerant inside absorbs heat, leaving cool air behind to circulate through your home.

Manufacturer defect is sometimes the cause of A/C evaporator coil leaks. Formic acid build-up is the primary cause the remainder of the time. This build-up and corrosion occur when the combination of copper (which is what the evaporator coil is made of), oxygen and water is just right. That is why A/C evaporator coil leaks are most commonly found in humid climates.

Here are the top proven ways to reduce formic acid buildup and prevent evaporator coil leaks:

  • Reduce the use of VOCs: Volatile organic compounds (VOC) produce formic acid on the copper coil. To reduce the presence of VOCs in the air, avoid chemically laden cleaning products, air fresheners, aerosol products, certain paints and anything that was created in a chemical process.
  • Bring fresh air inside: Whenever the temperature is mild outside or tolerable, open windows and doors to introduce fresh air to the space.
  • Have the air conditioner serviced regularly: Annual tune-ups involve cleaning the evaporator coil, which slows the acid buildup.
  • Install an ultraviolet (UV) light system: This air cleaning product fits within the ductwork and neutralizes many contaminants, including VOCs. A special lamp aimed right at the evaporator coil keeps acid and bacterial growth down between professional cleanings.
  • Use a micro-channel coil: This aluminum version eliminates the copper from the equation so the acidic corrosion can’t form. If you do decide to replace the A/C evaporator coil, remember the outdoor unit might need to be replaced as well. The key is for both components to run on the same refrigerant.

To learn more about issues with the A/C evaporator coil, or for other home comfort concerns, please contact Gray’s Heating & Air Conditioning Co. at 1-843-689-3111. Our experienced technicians are ready to help serve your HVAC needs in Hilton Head Island and surrounding areas.

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