Cleaning your commercial HVAC condenser and evaporator coils

When it comes to improving your facility’s energy efficiency, a preventative maintenance agreement is key. Your heating and air conditioning account for as much as 30% of a commercial building’s annual energy use. 

This means that when your HVAC system is not performing at its peak efficiency, your utility bills are significantly impacted. That’s the reason that Reitmeier approaches preventative maintenance with the intention of controlling your monthly energy costs, eliminating expensive repairs, and maximizing the life of your HVAC equipment.

One of our recommended add-ons to your preventative maintenance agreement is cleaning your evaporator and condenser coils. An air conditioning system has two coils, condenser coils and evaporator coils usually made of copper tubes with aluminum fins. 

Why is it so important to clean your HVAC coils?

The evaporator coil, or indoor coil, is often described as the “cold” coil because it provides indoor cooling. The coil works by absorbing heat from the indoor air that is blown over by the air handler’s fan. The condenser coil or outdoor coil is the “warm” coil as it rejects the heat as a fan blows outside air over the surface. 

Coils are highly prone to dirt, dust, and contaminant buildup. As outside air moves over the coils, dirt contained in the air gets deposited over time onto the coils and settles between the fins. In addition, airborne plant debris such as cottonwood, dandelion seeds, pollen, grass clippings, leaves, and so on clings to and clogs the coils.

When your coils are coated with dirt and grime, your HVAC unit has to run longer and work harder to do its job, using more energy and causing parts to wear and break down. Dirty coils also get corroded which leads to refrigerant leaks. If you ignore the symptoms for too long, your HVAC system can overheat and ultimately fail completely.

The consequences of not cleaning HVAC coils

When dirt, dust, and contaminants build up on your air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils, a number of detrimental impacts occur on your overall HVAC system. 

These HVAC system issues include the following:

1) Your HVAC system runs longer without cooling as effectively. Dirty coils decrease airflow, resulting in reduced heat transfer and a degradation of the dehumidification process. This can result in cooling capacity that’s reduced by as much as 30%. The compressor works harder and still has trouble reaching the set temperature.

2) Your HVAC system uses more energy, driving up utility costs. The longer your system runs, the more your utility expenses go up. HVAC systems that have dirty coils use up to 35%-40% more energy compared to similar units with coils that are cleaned and maintained.

3) Your HVAC system parts require more repairs. Dirty coils create excess heat, pressure, and longer run times which cause HVAC system parts to wear out sooner. They can also negatively impact critical equipment such as chillers, cooling towers, and boilers.

Increased operating pressure and higher temperatures from contaminated coil break down the compressor’s lubricant and can result in equipment failure. A failed compressor means an expensive repair. Your system will also have more problems with fans, belts, motors, and other components.

4) Refrigerant leaks can occur. When HVAC system coils are not cleaned, they can develop exterior corrosion from exhaust fumes and other outdoor pollutants. Over time, this corrosion can cause cracks and holes in the coils, which allows refrigerant to leak. This can further reduce your system’s ability to cool your facility and elevate utility bills. In addition to being costly, refrigerant leaks can cause significant impact on the environment.   

5) Coils that are not cleaned regularly are a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. As contaminants get pulled into the moist coils, they build up and create an ideal place for mold and bacteria to proliferate. This can directly impact the air quality of your building and cause bad smells that annoy your tenants. Worst, there can be health risks for your facility’s occupants such as respiratory problems, eye irritation, and nausea. 

The benefits of cleaning your evaporator and condenser coils

Overall, the benefits of preventative maintenance to your HVAC system’s coils include lowered monthly utility savings, maximum heat transfer, system and equipment longevity and improved air quality. It’s not just old systems that need cleaning. The newer and more efficient HVAC systems also greatly benefit from regular coil inspection and cleaning. 

Reitmeier cleans evaporator and condenser coils with a biologically, environmentally-friendly cleaner. We offer a free inspection so call us today and we will give you a report on the state of your evaporator and condenser coils.

Call us today at 503-603-0205 to set up a free coil inspection for your HVAC system.