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Dirty Air Conditioner Fins And Coils

What happens when there are dirty air conditioner fins and coils?

This might not look like a big deal.

But underneath these fins are the coils.

When air conditioner compressor coils get dirty it can be a big deal!

Visibly dirty, these coils are where air blows out and the coils are cooled while the air conditioning is on.

Since this unit is a heat pump it is also where the cool air blows out during the heating season.

But the coils are the key, especially to a system that works 9 or 10 months a year.

What happens?

>  Your energy consumption goes up!  As it does the efficiency of the system drops dramatically.
The life span of the unit is reduced!  Typically, the two most expensive things of a house are the roof and the HVAC system.
How much is efficiency affected?  By as much as 30%!  That is a big deal!

Another problem happens when the AC compressor is located too near to a dryer vent discharge hood!

The fins can fill up with lint and the system can get clogged beyond belief.  Consider the efficiency and life span of any unit when that happens!

My recommendation:  check your AC or heat pump compressor!  Check its location as related to the dryer.  Check the coils to see if they are dirty and need cleaning.  If they do, get them cleaned!  I have cleaned mine with my hose.  Professional cleaning can always be done too.  When the unit operates efficiently and lasts a long time, THAT is a big deal!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • January 26 2016 03:55AM

Comments

Great article @jaymarkanich. Hope your tips make its way to many homeowners. I do property management and sometimes it's like pulling nails to get owners to service their HVAC systems. I often get questioned, what do you think. My answer, do you drive your car without servicing it, HVAC systems is the engine to your house.

Posted by Michelle Tucker ~ Pooler Real Estate, Rincon~Savannah~Richmond Hill (!Daley Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Jay Markanich Your photo of the a/c with the lint is unbelievable!  We baby our a/c's here in south Florida as they run 12 months a year.  The compressors are outside the house, no where near the dryer's vent (good to know!)   I have mine under a service contract where they come to clean the coils, etc twice a year.  

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL - (561) 716-7824 - CRS, ABR, GRI (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Thanks Michelle!  And maintenance is very much like vitamins.  If not more...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Elyse - all good!  Few consider the dryer vent problem, including builders.  My understanding is the rule of thumb is 12" apart, but so often I see the dryer right beside the discharge hood.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Oh yes, it is a double whammy for sure.  and, yes, very costly.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 2 years ago

That's a good word for it Debbie!  It's something many don't ever consider.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

The dryer vent is the one that gets me.... see it alot!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 2 years ago

I don't remember where I heard that 12' rule of thumb for distance between the dryer and compressor, Fred, but it's a good rule nonetheless.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Jay, I've never seen an AC compressor loaded up with lint like that one! For the relatively minimal cost involved, I  think everyone should have their HVAC serviced in the spring and before winter sets in.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 2 years ago

Tom - some kind of service at least!  Imagine how inefficient that clogged one was operating!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

What about the filters on the back of refrigerators?

I'm very glad that today's refrigerators are on wheels.  Yes, I remember when they weren't so easy to slide around.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 2 years ago

The filters are on the bottom of the new ones Lenn!  The grill to vacuum is in the front.

You need to call and keep in touch!  You aren't next door, so I wasn't expecting you tomorrow, but you were invited nonetheless!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Never heard about the 12' rule, but I agree!!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 2 years ago

I picked it up somewhere, but don't remember.  No problem.  It is a good rule of thumb.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Always learning something new from Jay.  Never put the dryer vent near the heat pump!  How would have thought?

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 2 years ago

I hosed mine down in the early spring.  Figured if I saw no improvement, I'd go for the chemical clean the A/C company wanted to do.  The hose did the trick.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 2 years ago

Stephen - you might not be surprised, but I see it all the time!

Chris Ann - that is probably all it takes.  And regularity.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

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