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Troubleshooting Evaporator Coil Leaks

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Introduction


Your HVAC system's evaporator coil is a crucial component responsible for cooling the air in your home during hot weather. However, like any mechanical part, evaporator coils are susceptible to issues, with leaks being one of the most common problems. In this blog post, we'll explore the causes of evaporator coil leaks, how to identify them, and what steps you can take to address these issues.

Evaporator Coil

What Is an Evaporator Coil?


Before we delve into evaporator coil leaks, it's important to understand what an evaporator coil does. The evaporator coil is located inside the air handler or furnace unit of your HVAC system. Its primary function is to absorb heat from indoor air by evaporating refrigerant, thus cooling the air that is then circulated throughout your home.


Causes of Evaporator Coil Leaks


Evaporator coil leaks can occur due to several factors, including:


1. Corrosion: Over time, the metal in the coil can corrode, leading to tiny holes or cracks in the coil's surface. This corrosion can result from moisture, exposure to contaminants, or poor maintenance.


2. Refrigerant Pressure: High levels of refrigerant pressure can stress the coil, causing it to develop leaks over time. Pressure issues can be due to factors like improper installation, system overcharge, or clogged filters.


3. Age and Wear: As HVAC systems age, components, including the evaporator coil, may deteriorate, increasing the risk of leaks. Normal wear and tear can lead to cracks or holes in the coil.


4. Vibration and Stress: Vibrations or excessive movement within the HVAC system can lead to wear and tear on the coil's joints and connections, potentially causing leaks.


Identifying Evaporator Coil Leaks


Detecting evaporator coil leaks can be challenging, but there are some signs to watch out for:


1. Warm Air: If your HVAC system is blowing warm air when it should be cooling, this could be a sign of low refrigerant levels due to a leak.


2. Hissing Sounds: A hissing or bubbling noise coming from your indoor unit may indicate a refrigerant leak.


3. Frozen Coil: A frozen evaporator coil can be caused by a refrigerant leak, restricting the coil's ability to absorb heat.


4. Increased Energy Bills: If your energy bills are higher than usual without any apparent reason, it could be due to reduced efficiency caused by a refrigerant leak.


Addressing Evaporator Coil Leaks


If you suspect an evaporator coil leak in your HVAC system, it's essential to take prompt action:


1. Contact a Professional: HVAC systems contain potentially harmful refrigerants. Do not attempt to repair the coil yourself. Instead, contact a licensed HVAC technician to diagnose and repair the issue.


2. Refrigerant Leak Repair: The technician will identify the source of the leak and repair it by welding or using a compatible sealant. They will then recharge the system with the appropriate amount of refrigerant.


3. Preventive Maintenance: Regular HVAC maintenance can help prevent evaporator coil leaks. Changing air filters, cleaning coils, and maintaining proper refrigerant levels can extend the life of your system.


Conclusion


Evaporator coil leaks can compromise the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system, resulting in discomfort and increased energy bills. If you suspect a leak, it's essential to address it promptly by contacting a professional HVAC technician. With proper maintenance and timely repairs, you can keep your HVAC system running smoothly and enjoy consistent comfort in your home.

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