Dirty A/C Condenser Coils: Why You Need Them Cleaned in Phoenix

2013 Aug 20
Posted in: Air Conditioning

Haboobs are certainly a sight to see in the Phoenix-area. The wind during a haboob usually gets up to 30 mph as the dust rises high into the air over the Valley--sometimes for up to 3 hours!

However, the problems of the Haboobs (another name for large desert dust storms - for the uninitiated) don’t stop when they’re over. All that dust from the storm engulfs your air conditioner’s outside unit, called the condenser.

When the condenser coil gets dirty, a variety of annoying and costly problems happen. We’ll show you what those problems are so you’ll know why the coils need to be cleaned. 

But first, let’s explain why your air conditioner's condenser coil is so important…

Importance of the condenser coil

Your air conditioner uses three main mechanical components to cool your home:

  • a compressor (a pump that pressurizes the refrigerant)
  • an evaporator coil (inside cold coil)
  • a condenser coil (outside warm coil)

The compressor’s job is to tightly pack your air conditioner’s refrigerant closer together, causing an increase in temperature. That hot, high-pressure refrigerant then flows into the condenser.

The condenser coil’s job is to release that heat outside, so that the refrigerant can cool off. Once cooled, the refrigerant flows back inside and through the evaporator coil where the warm air inside your home is blown over the, now cold, refrigerant to be cooled.

That cold air is then distributed back throughout your home through the supply vents.

(Learn more about an air conditioner’s components, and how it works.)

OK, here’s the important part: Imagine if the condenser coil is caked in dirt and dust: it won’t be able to overcome the heat properly! The dirt basically becomes like the insulation you put in your attic--except this is insulation you don’t want.

Problems caused by a dirty condenser coil

Since the condenser coil can’t dissipate the dirt on the condenser coil, a few annoying and costly problems arise, like:

  • Higher electric bills: When the coil is covered in dirt, your air conditioner uses 30% more energy than it needs to, according to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) study.
  • Decreased comfort: Since the condenser coil can’t cool down the heat because of the dirt build-up, the refrigerant can’t cool down enough to produce colder air for your home.
  • Higher chances of your system breaking down: Since the air your system blows into your home isn’t very cold when this problem occurs, your air conditioner needs to run much longer to match your thermostat setting, increasing your system’s wear and tear.

Clean it up to save big and stay comfortable

If you’ve experienced a dust storm at your home in Phoenix recently, then chances are, your air conditioner's condenser coils are dirty. To keep your energy bills low and stay comfortable in your home, we suggest contacting George Brazil to schedule a condenser coil cleaning.