Under some conditions, the evaporator coil in your air conditioning system can develop a leak. When this happens, refrigerant will be lost and the performance of the equipment will decrease. Here are some of the causes of evaporator coil leaks and what you can do to prevent them.
Causes of Evaporator Coil Leaks
Evaporator coils are usually made of copper. They contain the refrigerant that circulates through your HVAC system, absorbing and releasing heat as needed. The coils are designed to be sturdy and difficult to damage, but sometimes outside factors can create problems and cause the coils to leak.
The most common cause of evaporator coil leaks is the presence of formic acid inside the coils. Formic acid causes corrosion to the coils that can eat away at the copper and open holes in the coils, creating leaks. The acid can be created during a chemical reaction that occurs between copper, water, and oxygen. These things are commonly found around evaporator coils, which means that the conditions that create leaks are often present.
Evaporator coil leaks can also be the result of damage to coils caused by reactions between the coils and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as cleaning solutions, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, and emissions from products created by or treated with chemicals. When VOCs contact the copper, they can create formic acid which damages the evaporator coils.
Preventing Evaporator Coil Leaks
Leaks caused by formic acid are more common in hot, humid southern climates. You can help prevent leaks if you:
- Replace the coils: Copper coils can be replaced with nonreactive aluminum or plastic coils.
- Clean the coils: Make sure the coils are cleaned during regular preventive maintenance visits.
- Reduce the use of VOCs: Cut back on the use of materials that contain VOCs.
- Increase ventilation: Increase the flow of fresh air around the coils to disperse VOCs.
ACS Absolute Comfort serves heating and cooling customers in Houston and the surrounding communities. Contact us today for more information on the causes of evaporator coil leaks and what you can do to prevent these types of leaks.
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