When you receive the news that your Bryant AC coil is leaking and causing the room to not cool properly, various concerns may arise. However, there’s no need to panic. We consulted experts to understand the reasons behind Bryant AC coil leaks and what steps you should take to address the issue effectively. Here is their advice:
The leakage of your Bryant AC coil occurs when the copper surface corrodes or disintegrates. This corrosion is a result of chemical reactions with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), constant vibrations, and the growth of mold and bacteria.
In such situations, you have two options: either replace the evaporator coil or purchase a new AC unit. The cost of repairing the coil and the price of a brand-new unit are typically similar.
To gain a deeper understanding of AC coils and their leakage causes, keep reading. We will explain how an AC coil functions, what triggers its leaks, how to prevent leakage, and what steps you can take to mitigate the issue. Additionally, we will discuss the expected lifespan of an AC coil. Let’s delve into the details!
What Leads To AC Coil Leaks?
Many people are unfamiliar with the components of their air conditioning units. All they know is that the AC keeps their rooms cool, and when a critical component malfunctions, they find themselves in a dire situation, especially during scorching summer afternoons.
Therefore, before addressing the main issue, let’s clarify what an AC coil is, where it is located, and how it operates. This will provide you with a better understanding of the topic at hand.
The AC coil, also known as the evaporator coil, is responsible for absorbing heat from indoor air and replacing it with cool air. The coil consists of copper tubing and is located inside the indoor air handler or connected to the furnace.
The heat extracted from the room is absorbed by the refrigerant within the coil. The refrigerant then flows to the outdoor unit of your AC, where it reaches the compressor and condenser coil, releasing the heat into the outdoor air.
Leakage in the evaporator coil is a common problem in AC units. It occurs due to condensation within the cold copper tubing.
As warm indoor air passes through the tubing, it comes into contact with the cool air and condenses into liquid form. Normally, this water should be captured in the condensate pan and drained out of the AC system.
However, in some cases, the water fails to reach the condensate pan, indicating an issue with your AC unit.
Reasons For AC Coil Leaks
There are three primary causes of evaporator coil leaks:
- Corroded Copper Tubing
Corrosion of the copper coils occurs when copper and water interact frequently with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in your indoor air. These substances combine to form formic acid, which corrodes the copper surface, leading to leaks in the evaporator coil.
- Constant Vibrations of the Copper Tubing
The copper tubing is prone to developing holes due to continuous vibrations within your air conditioning system. This friction on the surface gradually weakens the copper material, resulting in surface holes.
- Bacteria and Mold Growth
Since the evaporator coil remains moist, it creates an ideal environment for mold and bacteria to thrive if not properly cleaned and maintained. Over time, these organisms settle on the copper surface, leading to material disintegration.
When there are holes or corrosion in the copper tubing, water and refrigerant can escape, posing a problem for your AC unit.
Consequences Of Evaporator Coil Leaks
When the evaporator coil in your AC leaks, both water and refrigerant escape. The refrigerant is the heat-absorbing substance inside the coil tubing that carries warm air to the compressor and condenser coil for release outdoors.
Insufficient refrigerant levels make it difficult for your AC unit to cool your home effectively. Consequently, it takes longer to achieve the desired indoor temperature, and your AC must work harder to transfer heat from inside to outside.
This results in higher energy costs for you. As the leaks persist, your air conditioning system eventually loses its ability to cool your home altogether.
Furthermore, if your air conditioning unit uses R-22 refrigerant, it poses health hazards and can cause respiratory issues. Hence, it’s crucial to address this matter promptly to prevent adverse health effects and excessive energy consumption.
How To Prevent AC Coil Leaks
To resolve a leaking evaporator coil, you should seek the assistance of an experienced HVAC technician. The technician will assess the extent of damage to the copper coil tubing. Temporary fixes may include adding more refrigerant and applying sealant to cover small holes or gaps in the coil.
However, if the copper coil tubing is significantly damaged, the technician may recommend replacing the entire AC coil. Additionally, the remaining refrigerant gas must be recovered, and the air filter should be replaced.
Overall, this process involves dismantling your AC unit and soldering a new evaporator coil. It is essential to emphasize that such tasks should be entrusted to a professional.
However, in most cases, replacing the AC coil is not advisable. Instead, it is more practical to invest in a new air conditioning unit since the cost of repair is nearly equivalent to the price of a new AC unit.
The average repair cost for a leaking evaporator coil ranges from $250 to $1,600, covering both material and labor expenses.
Preventing AC Coil Leaks
If you are not currently dealing with an evaporator coil leak, consider yourself forewarned about the potential consequences if you neglect proper care for your AC unit. To enjoy the benefits of your air conditioning system for an extended period, it is recommended to practice appropriate usage and maintenance.
Here are some tips from experts on avoiding evaporator coil leaks:
- Select household products that emit low levels of VOCs. For instance, when using paint or adhesives, opt for those with zero or minimal VOC content.
- Install UV lights in your air handling unit, where the evaporator coil is usually located. These lights help eliminate mold and bacteria that may settle on your AC coil.
- Utilize an energy recovery ventilator. This not only reduces HVAC costs but also filters the air, minimizing the entry of contaminants into your AC unit. As a result, the VOC level decreases, improving indoor air quality.
- Consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier, which helps control indoor humidity. This reduces the strain on your AC unit, allowing it to maintain the desired temperature more efficiently.
These are just a few expert-recommended tips for caring for your evaporator coil.
AC Coil Lifespan
With proper operation and maintenance of your AC unit, the evaporator coil should last approximately 10 to 15 years, which is similar to the lifespan of the AC unit itself.
To maximize the lifespan of your AC coil, it is advisable to have your AC unit inspected and cleaned by a trusted HVAC service provider annually. This helps prevent the accumulation of unwanted particles in various internal components of your air conditioning system and eliminates mold and bacteria before they can damage the evaporator coil.
The leakage of your Bryant AC coil occurs due to the deterioration of the copper surface caused by corrosion, vibrations, and the growth of bacteria and mold.
When faced with such a situation, it may be more cost-effective to invest in a new air conditioning unit rather than spending almost the same amount on repairing or replacing the evaporator coil. Regular maintenance of your AC unit is crucial to prevent coil leaks.