How Does Dirt Affect Your Air Conditioner?

Posted on: 13 March 2018

If you have central air conditioning, there is a good chance that your HVAC company -- and probably the owner's manual for your unit -- have reminded you time and time again to keep it clean. But it's tough to keep up on maintenance, such as cleaning your air conditioner, if you do not have a thorough understanding of why you are doing that maintenance. To that end, here are some consequences that may occur if you let dirt accumulate on your air conditioner.

Reduced Efficiency

Cooling your home is expensive enough when everything is working properly, let alone when something is getting in the way of your air conditioner's efficiency. Your air conditioner works by exhausting heat into the outdoor air. This occurs across the coil. If the coil is dirty, then it has a harder time transferring that heat, and the unit needs to run for longer to cool off your home. As a result, your AC bills will climb higher and higher until you clean your air conditioner.

Frozen Air Conditioner

The dirt, as described above, can get in the way of heat exchange. As a result, the coil itself will grow colder and colder, until it becomes so cold that it may freeze over. You may physically see ice and snow building up on the air conditioner! Sometimes, air conditioners turn off completely when they freeze over, and other times, they just seem to take forever to cool your home. If you just clean the ice off, your unit will keep freezing again and again until you get to the root of the problem: the dirt.

Premature Failure

Your air conditioner experiences a lot more wear and tear when it is dirty since it has to work harder to keep up. As a result, it might break down a lot sooner than would be expected. For instance, the average AC unit should last at least 10 years, but if you run yours while dirty, it may break down when it's only 6 years old or so. Even if the unit is able to be repaired, this is an unnecessary expense that you could have prevented by cleaning the AC unit.

Uneven Cooling

As the dirt starts impeding the exchange of heat across your air conditioner, your home may no longer cool evenly. Some rooms may feel colder than others, which feel downright warm!

Now that you know why cleaning your air conditioner is so important, it's time to get out there and do it! Keeping it clean is a lot easier than calling for repairs. For more information, contact local ac services.