Did you know that a dirty condenser coil can increase air conditioners energy consumption by 30 percent substantially increasing your HVAC cost? This is according to estimates conducted by the federal government’s Energy Star program. They add that 50 percent of the energy used in American households goes toward heating or cooling. Many homeowners are unknowingly wasting their hard-earned money on dirty, clogged coils — making their systems run longer, work harder, and wear out faster.
How Often Should You Clean Your HVAC?
It’s recommended that you have your system cleaned annually. Other experts may be a little more liberal in their assessment. “If you haven’t had your home heating and cooling system inspected and cleaned within the last 5 years, you’re wasting energy and money,” says John Schulte, executive director of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. He adds, “Running a home heating and cooling system with dirty coils is like trying to run a marathon with a dirty rag tied over your face.”
What Happens When Coils Are Dirty?
Here’s what’s going on inside your system:
- The dirty coil decreases airflow.
- Heat transfer becomes less efficient.
- The dehumidifier process declines.
- Less air pumps through the system.
- Air quality becomes poorer.
- Sensors are less efficient, causing the system to run longer.
- The motor begins to work harder and overheat.
- The entire system is in danger of failing and decreased life expectancy.
What About Newer, High Efficiency Models?
Essentially, there is no point in buying a high SEER model HVAC system if you are going to let it run dirty. Though these systems are designed to operate with greater efficiency, they are also less tolerant of increases in static pressure and require more efficient heat transfer across larger coils to work optimally. The fan speed of these newer models adjust depending on demand, but your model will have trouble gauging demand if the unit is grimy. Furthermore, you can expect to pay higher utility bills on top of all that wear-and-tear.