Although the air conditioners are built strong enough to endure snows, winds, heat, rains or biting cold, it needs regular maintenance like all things good or bad. The filters, the coils, fins, hoses et al must be kept in a fine condition to help the whole unit run smooth and easy all around the year for as long as you have it. Especially the coil of the condenser needs better maintenance since it’s exposed out in the open, unlike the coil in the evaporator. The exposed condenser coil gets dirty far too often due to the dust and pollution or because of trees near or above it. Anything coming in contact with the coil can have an insulation of sorts—dust particles, grease, dirt, soot, dry leaves, seeds, corrosion, bugs and even microorganisms like bacteria can be an impediment to the much needed heat transfer from the refrigerant to the outside air. Unwanted heat needs to be given out from the refrigerant.
The amount of refrigerant used in an air conditioning unit determines whether the makers would get the highest SEER level of efficiency or not—the lesser, the better. The units are designed in perfect balance, and so the slightest hindrance to the heat transfer usually conks out the balance and deteriorates the functioning of the unit. If dust or dirt accumulates on the coils, the right amount of heat doesn’t go out, thus increasing the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant going into the compressor to abnormal degrees. Consequently, the compressor stresses itself to work more on the cooling of the ‘abnormal’ refrigerant, thereby drawing more amperes of electricity. As a result of this fiasco, the cooling capacity of the air conditioner obviously dwindles and the mechanical parts wear out. So a dirty coil simply boils down to three things—insufficient cooling, fagged out machine parts and a higher cost for functioning.
Over time, if you keep the coils unclean, they get choked with seeds and dirt and restrict proper airflow. And if the airflow is impeded on a hot day, the head and cylinders of the compressor automatically gets too much hot. Next, the oil will start breaking down and fail to lubricate. This fosters decay and allows contaminants into the air conditioning unit. If that happens, the pistons, rings and cylinders indispose and as a result, the compression lowers, valves leak, metal debris float in the oil. Finally, total failure of the compressor nears. Air conditioners function in a closed circuit system. It is not at all an easy and simple procedure to replace the full lubricant. The oil used in air conditioning units is originally quite resilient but impurities in it or into the system and regular neglect accelerate the end. The result is same as trying to drive a car without changing its engine oil for a decade. In an air conditioner, when the compressor stops working, there’s no way out other than to throw it away and replace it with a new one. And this of course means opening the system, removing the refrigerant and the oil, and filtering dryers to tidy up the unit. Moisture and acid sets in as you open the system or when the system fails. Evidently, this is a very time-consuming and expensive process. And the worst news is that, many air conditioners, at this point, are not in a condition that’s worth the trouble.
The advantages of cleaning the coils regularly are as follows:
•More heat gets out of the room, cooling is faster and the system functions at quite a low temperature.
•Electricity costs remain low as a clean system always draws minimum amperes.
•The compressor can operate stress-free, at ease and with optimum efficiency.
•All the components remain healthy and thus ensure more reliability and a longer life for the unit.
For all these reasons, it is always advised to keep the coils free from dust and dirt with the help of an air conditioner cover when you are not using it, like in the winter months.