When you discover that a major component of an appliance or home system needs repair, it’s easy to wonder whether you should fix that component or invest in an entirely new system. If you discover that you need a new AC evaporator coil, you may be wondering the same thing. Let’s explore the details of this challenge including when it makes sense to replace the coil and when it makes sense to replace your whole system.
What is an Evaporator Coil and Why is It Broken?
An evaporator coil is a critical component of your air conditioning system. It is part of the inside component of your AC system, which absorbs heat and humidity from your home before sending the refrigerant to the condenser and compressor outside.
Over time, the refrigerant that travels through the evaporator coil can erode the inside lining and cause coolant leaks. These leaks are both costly for the homeowner and bad for the environment. When this occurs, you are faced with the decision on whether to replace the coil or the AC system.
When to Replace the Coil
Evaporator coils are generally designed to last the life of your air conditioning system. Although some people may try to patch or repair an evaporator coil, this is a bad idea. Coolant leaks will still continue, increasing both your energy bills and damage to the environment.
The only time it makes sense to replace just the evaporator coil is if your air conditioning system is still under warranty and relatively new. A trained, certified professional can then ensure that the evaporator coil still matches your overall system
When to Replace Your AC System
If your air conditioning system is near the end of its 10- to 12-year lifespan, it may make more sense to replace your whole AC system.
First, you don’t want to mismatch your inside and outside unit because you may create energy inefficiencies, reduce your comfort, and overwork the newer components of your system. Both portions of your air conditioning system should match in SEER rating, refrigerant and age.
A mismatched system causes multiple problems because the components need to work together to gain the most efficiency. For example, if you put a new evaporator coil in an old AC system, you’ll lose the efficiency gains on the inside unit because your outside unit won’t be able to keep up. In addition, the inefficiency of the older unit will make the new equipment work harder than necessary, shortening its overall lifespan.
Older systems traditionally used R-22 refrigerant, which is no longer being produced because it’s harmful to the environment. As a result, purchasing this coolant for recharges will be increasingly difficult and expensive. By investing in a new system, you’ll be switching to one that uses the modern, safer R-410A refrigerant.