Air conditioning systems have to be built tough in order to withstand the punishing demands of cooling your home during the hot months of summer. Yet, even the strongest systems will accumulate wear and tear as the years go on. Eventually, one or more components may reach the point where they need to be replaced.
Problems often first strike one of an air conditioner’s two coils, either the condenser coil or the evaporator coil. In order to keep repair costs as low as possible, many homeowners — and many contractors — choose to simply replace the damaged coil. Unfortunately, this can lead to even worse problems if the replacement coil does not match the original precisely.
If you would like to learn more about why mismatched coils are such a threat to an air conditioning system, keep reading. This article will provide a useful introduction to the topic of air conditioner coils and why they have to be matched in order to ensure consistent cooling for your home.
Air Conditioner Coils
Before delving into the problems of mismatched coils, you may find it helpful to brush up on the purpose of each of your air conditioner’s two coils.
The evaporator coil can be found near the air handler inside your home. As liquid refrigerant flows into the evaporator coil through the expansion valve, its pressure rapidly drops.
This causes the refrigerant to become even colder. Your air handler then circulates indoor air around the evaporator coil. The frigid refrigerant absorbs heat from this air, turning into a gas as it does. Once all of the refrigerant has become a gas, it flows back out to the condensing unit in your yard.
The condensing coil plays virtually an opposite role from the evaporator coil. In other words, the condensing coil allows the refrigerant to shed the heat it absorbed while inside of the evaporator coil. In the process, the refrigerant undergoes an opposite phase change, turning from a gas back into the liquid.
Manufacturers express the cooling capacity of an air conditioning cool in terms of tons. In a brand-new system, both the evaporator coil and the condenser coil have the same capacity rating. When one of the coils reaches the end of its lifespan, many homeowners assume that they can improve the performance of their system by installing a coil with a higher capacity rating.
In other words, someone might upgrade from a 4-ton condensing coil to a 5-ton model, thinking that this will improve the cooling power of their system. Unfortunately, however, this kind of mismatching ultimately causes parts of your system to work much harder than they should, vainly attempting to perform at the same level as the upgraded coil.
Mismatched coils lead to numerous problems for an air conditioning system. The first thing you’ll notice is that your system simply doesn’t operate with its usual efficiency. Instead, seemingly basic cooling tasks will consume a much greater amount of energy. As a result, your monthly cooling bill will be noticeably higher.
Mismatching also has a negative effect on the lifespan of your system. Overworked parts will be at a much greater risk of burnout because they will have to run double-time in an attempt to match the output of the higher capacity coil. When other components eventually begin to break down, you may find that your original warranty no longer holds valid.
Many manufacturers explicitly state that an updated coil’s capacity and SEER rating must exactly match the original. If a mismatched coil is at fault, your warranty may be rendered null and void.
A natural part of owning an air conditioner system is having to replace coils from time to time. To prevent unwanted problems when that time comes, contact the cooling experts at Advanced Heating & Cooling.