Should You Replace AC Systems with Damaged Evaporator Coils?

Modern air conditioning systems are complex devices and have several vital components that must all be in full working order for the system to function. Damage or malfunctions in any of these components can render your AC useless, but evaporator coil damage can be particularly crippling. In many cases, replacing an air conditioning system with evaporator coil problems is more economical than repairing the system.

What Are Air Conditioning Evaporator Coils?

The evaporator coil is the "business end" of your air conditioning system and is directly responsible for cooling the air inside your building.

Evaporator coils are usually located close to your system's air handler and/or blower fans and consist of densely packed networks of narrow, metal tubing. These tubes are bent into curved, zig-zag patterns to maximize their surface area.

When your air conditioner is functioning properly, the tubes of the evaporator coil are filled with chilled refrigerant liquid. Warm air from inside your building is blown over the coil, and the refrigerants absorb some of the heat from the passing air. The newly chilled air is then vented into your home or commercial building, lowering ambient temperatures.

Why Should You Replace an AC System with Damaged Evaporator Coils?

There are several reasons why it may be more practical to replace an air conditioner with damaged evaporator coils rather than have it repaired:

Difficult, Expensive Repairs

In most cases, evaporator coils fail because their refrigerant tubing has become damaged and started to leak. Unfortunately, these tubes are so narrow and densely arranged that finding and fixing leaks can be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

For this reason, many AC repair services do not offer evaporator coil repairs and will replace damaged evaporator coils outright. Replacement evaporator coils aren't exactly cheap — a new evaporator coil for a large, central air system can easily cost four figures. 

Reduced Post-Repair Efficiency

If you do have your system's evaporator coil repaired, there is no guarantee that it will function as effectively or efficiently as before. Repairing a damaged evaporator coil may necessitate sealing or removing damaged tubing, reducing the coil's overall surface area and cooling power.

Replacement evaporator coils can also be less effective than the original coil. If you have an older or lesser-used AC model, you may be forced to use generic, off-the-shelf coils instead of coils produced by the system manufacturer. These coils rarely function as well as the originals and are still expensive to purchase and install.

System Age

Evaporator coils are built to last, so if your system has failing evaporator coils, the system itself may be getting too old to function efficiently. If your system is more than a decade old, it is probably reaching the end of its useful lifespan, and you may find yourself dealing with other problems soon after fixing problems with the evaporator coil.

Older AC systems are also less energy-efficient than the latest models, even if they are kept in perfect working order. Over time, replacing your stricken system with a newer model can pay for itself by significantly lowering your energy bills.

If you choose to replace an AC system with a faulty evaporator coil, you should call in a professional AC installation service to handle the work for you. These services will install the new system quickly, position its components to maximize cooling efficiency, and safely remove and dispose of your old system.

Reach out to a service like Total Comfort HVAC to find out more.