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Broken Evaporator Coils? 5 Signs They Need to be Repaired or Replaced

hvac and plumbing technician in Columbus oh

When it gets hot in Ohio, you need your air conditioner to work properly. One critical part of your cooling system is the evaporator coil. If your evaporator coils are broken, dirty, or malfunctioning, they need to be replaced or repaired for your AC unit to function properly. This issue should be addressed as soon as possible so that further problems do not occur.

Although broken evaporator coils can be an annoying problem, a professional can quickly identify why they are malfunctioning. Here are common signs that can help determine if your evaporator coils are broken or have other issues. By spotting these symptoms, the problem can be taken care of in a timely fashion to restore the function of your AC unit.

What Function Do Evaporator Coils Have in Your Air Conditioner Unit?

Your AC unit has many essential parts that must be working properly to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. Your evaporator coils play a key role in keeping indoor air cool during summer. These coils house your air conditioner's refrigerant that removes the heat from your indoor air. The coil also helps remove moisture from the air. The condenser is responsible for circulating the refrigerant through the system.

In addition to cooling your indoor air, evaporator coils help remove humidity. Dryer air enhances the quality and comfort of your indoor areas. As the coils remove the heat from the air, moisture condenses on the coils. The water drips into the drain pan and flows out of your AC unit through the condensate line. After heat and moisture are removed, the air is re-circulated back into your home or business via the air ducts.

Broken evaporator coils can inhibit the function of your air conditioner unit. Malfunctioning coils can compromise the ability to properly cool and dehumidify your indoor air. It can also cause your AC unit to consume considerably more energy than normal. If the coil is cracked, the refrigerant will leak out, which poses a host of problems. Broken evaporator coils can also indicate that other parts of your AC unit may require maintenance and repair.

Let's look at some of the signs that indicate malfunctioning evaporator coils.

1. Rapid Cycling

Normally, your AC should turn on and off two or three times an hour. Depending on the outdoor temperature, it will run between 10 and 20 minutes each cycle. If there is a problem with the evaporator coil, it can shorten the on and off cycle. You'll notice the air turning on frequently and stopping before the house is adequately cooled.

2. Your AC Does Not Cool Your Air Properly

If your air conditioner cannot properly cool your home to the desired temperature, your evaporator coils are likely responsible. With a broken coil, your air conditioning unit needs to run longer to reach the set temperature. The result is higher energy consumption and higher energy costs. In some instances, broken evaporator coils may not cool your indoor air at all, blowing hot air back into your home or business.

When experiencing inadequate air cooling from their AC unit, it is common for people to turn down the temperature even further. However, this not only consumes more energy but can cause even greater damage to the parts in your air conditioner. If it is blowing warm air, you want to turn off your AC unit immediately and contact an HVAC specialist. We can determine if your cooling problems result from broken evaporator coils and repair or replace it.

3. Abnormal Sounds

Most homeowners are used to the gentle hum that their air conditioner produces when it's operating. Abnormal and erratic sounds can be a sign that your evaporator coils are in trouble. Noises like hissing, buzzing, or rhythmic pulsing can indicate that your evaporator coils need repair or replacement. It's important to know that these sounds are associated with a variety of different problems with the coil. Therefore, it's best to get in touch with an HVAC technician to properly assess whether or not the sounds come from broken evaporator coils or another issue in your air conditioner unit.

4. Corrosion

Corrosion is a common cause of evaporator coil malfunction, and immediate replacement is necessary to get your AC unit back in good operating condition. The corrosion can arise from various reasons, including excessive dirt buildup and residues. Even small, pinhole-sized damage can cause substantial problems within your AC unit. If an oily deposit is present in your drain pan or evaporator surface, your coils likely have corrosive damage. Spots that appear worn and rusted are also signs of damage.

5. Water Leaking From AC

Water leaking from your AC often indicates that your evaporator coils are frozen. Frozen evaporator coils often arise when there is poor airflow or inadequate refrigerant. This can cause excess water to drip off the coils. This can result in an overflowing drain pan. Water leaking can also happen when moisture condenses in an area other than the coil. Whatever the cause, water leakage can create a bevy of additional problems for your air conditioner and your household infrastructure.
One sign that you have a frozen evaporator coil is when you notice that it takes longer to cool your home. Sometimes when you have this problem, you'll only get warm air from the vents. This is because frozen evaporator coils prevent proper heat exchange.

A frozen evaporator coil can indicate an underlying problem with your cooling system. If it is caused by a refrigerant leak, you should schedule a service visit to properly correct the problem. Our HVAC technicians can determine the exact cause of the leak, whether it's in the coil or somewhere else in the system, and fix it promptly. If the cause is inadequate airflow, sometimes simply changing the air filter will fix the problem.

How to Identify and Fix Broken Evaporator Coils

Although the signs we just covered can result from broken evaporator coils, they can also arise from a variety of other issues. Moreover, problems with your evaporator coils may not necessarily mean they are broken and need replacement. You may only need your refrigerant refreshed, filter changed, or another minor adjustment. Our technicians will accurately diagnose the reason for your air conditioner's problem. We can then perform the repairs or replacements you need to restore your air conditioner to excellent working condition.

If you're located in Columbus, OH or the surrounding areas of Dublin, Gahanna, and Newark, our skilled HVAC team at Apex Plumbing, Heating, and Air Pros is ready to help. We offer installation and repair for heating and cooling systems. You can arrange for regular HVAC maintenance to keep your air conditioner or heater at peak performance. We also offer a range of plumbing services, including drain and sewer work. Give us a call or contact us through our online contact form for all your HVAC and plumbing needs.