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  1. #1

    Evaporator coil access and hiring a pro to clean evaporator coil

    My mother asked me to figure out exactly what needs to be inspected on her AC before she calls in a HVAC pro to "tune it up" for the season.

    She has owned this house for about 7 years. I'm not sure when the unit was installed.

    There's a Payne HE furnace and Carrier AC unit out in the driveway.

    I taped all around the evaporator coil access because it was leaking a lot of hot air on the send side.

    We had the ducts cleaned, the blower cleaned, change the filter often.

    I had found one of those porous green plastic fiber "reusable" filters in the furnace room from the previous owner. We use filtrete filters.

    I also noticed the filter cage was about 1/2" too tall and long, I used some neoprene weather stripping to get it to fit properly.

    Also, they never sealed the cage to the furnace. There was all kinds of dirty unconditioned air being sucked in AFTER the filter. I got that taped up:




    Now looking at the evaporator coil access, I think the only way they got this on was when it was installed. It looks like they ran the refridgerant lines through the cover, connected them to the coil, then slapped the cover on and bent the lines up and to the right like this:



    I'm assuming this needs to be cut to inspect the condition of the coil. Something like this?



    So since this has never been serviced and the return was leaky I think it's going to be crazy dusty in there. I seem to remember the AC at my mother's house not working very well, run forever, slow to cool...


    What should we do? Hire a pro to clean, inspect, replace coil? I guess he would try to clean it in place, check refridgerant level, etc... Is it possible to remove it to clean it or?

    Thanks,

    Nathan

  2. #2
    I have someone coming in to service the AC tomorrow morning. I'll be there and I want to see a before and after of the coil to make sure it gets cleaned.

    I read somewhere that the weather has to be warm in order to wash the evaporating coil? It's not going to be over 50F tomorrow. Maybe he can just open the panel and diagnose tomorrow?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Galveston Texas
    Posts
    530
    They won't be cleaning it in place. It's best to pull the coil and clean it. And that can be done pretty much no matter the temperature. If it's too cold granted I wouldn't want to do it, cause I don't like the cold..hehehe

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cuchulain View Post
    They won't be cleaning it in place. It's best to pull the coil and clean it. And that can be done pretty much no matter the temperature. If it's too cold granted I wouldn't want to do it, cause I don't like the cold..hehehe
    Thank you. I'm in Canada so they should be able to handle the cold.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    2,106
    Cleaning the coil won't be affected by the outdoor temperatures. Checking cooling performance would be.

    My approach would be to remove the front panel of the plenum and slide the coil out because the under surface of the coil is where dirt will accumulate. Viewing through the cut-out you propose will only show the clean side of the coil. This is in instance where a cased coil would have given easier access.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by kdean1 View Post
    Cleaning the coil won't be affected by the outdoor temperatures. Checking cooling performance would be.

    My approach would be to remove the front panel of the plenum and slide the coil out because the under surface of the coil is where dirt will accumulate. Viewing through the cut-out you propose will only show the clean side of the coil. This is in instance where a cased coil would have given easier access.
    Thank you very much. I had read about the underside being the important part. I will make sure he gets the job done then.

    It certainly doesn't look like they put it together with any foresight to maintenance.

  7. #7
    If they tech pulls out the coil, will he be charging us to drain and refill the refridgerant? Or is there some kind of valve that keeps it in place?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Boise, ID
    Posts
    4,398
    On older systems it's pretty rare to not be able to pump the system down and store the refrigerant inside the condensing unit.
    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what will never be. (Thomas Jefferson 1816)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Gib's Son View Post
    On older systems it's pretty rare to not be able to pump the system down and store the refrigerant inside the condensing unit.
    Thanks. BTW I'm a Gibson guy .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,516
    cleaning in place isnt a big deal but if he has to pull the coil be prepared for a high labor bill

    this isnt not part of a tune up it is an extra and a costly one

    in your case i most likely would pull the blower to inspect the coil and see it it is in fact dirty enough to pull

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Posts
    6,051
    Filtrete filters are worse.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by SBKold View Post
    Filtrete filters are worse.
    Ok, that doesn't really help me.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jpaulsmith View Post
    If it is a furnace then the heat exchanger will be in the way still if you pull the blower. If they pull the coil they should be able to pump the freon back to the compressor, but you will be charged for them pulling a vacuum on the system.
    Thank you. Yes it is a furnace, I'm in Southern Ontario 2 hours west of Toronto.

    The blower is on the bottom, then heat exchanger, then coils up on top of the furnace.

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