HVAC contractors all over the country are struggling trying to maintain inventory with the recent influx of AC repair calls and installations. Production issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to limit supply while demand is at an all time high. Importing logistics and faulty parts continue to be pressing issues when obtaining parts for repairs and installation.
Prepare to Wait for Some Parts
The industry is currently seeing its highest demand to date, and due to an unwelcome raw material shortage inventory is at an all time low. COVID-19, the
"Texas Freeze", and import restrictions have all been contributing factors in limiting materials needed for your HVAC system repairs. Copper, aluminum, and steel are materials commonly used in furnaces, condensers, and coils that have all seen a slow production turnover. Contractors nationwide are struggling to hold inventory with many parts on backorder, and some parts even have up to a six week lead time for install or replacement! Coils, specifically, have been a big topic of discussion around the industry as quality and reliability issues stemming from production have become increasingly concerning.
Industry-Wide Coil Struggles
Across the industry, many contractors are dealing with the same issue: leaking coils. There are two types of coils that usually work hand-in-hand: an evaporator coil and a condenser coil. Evaporator coils are typically made of copper and contain cold refrigerant that, despite its name, absorbs the warm air in your home. Located in or around your air handler, the evaporator helps absorb the heat from the air so that cool air can be pushed through the ducts. Condenser coils are located in the outdoor condenser units and are the second stage of expelling the hot air from your home. After the refrigerant absorbs the heat and becomes a gas, it runs to the outdoor unit to expel the heat. Cool air blows across the condenser coil and cools the refrigerant back to a liquid to be cycled again for cooling.
Leaks are most common in the evaporator coils, where the refrigerant is stored in liquid form. Chemical compounds can combine with the moisture and oxygen in the air and cause pinhole leaks when the air is absorbed by the coil. This can cause pounds of liquid refrigerant to leak out over time, in turn making the unit feel as if it is not reaching its maximum cooling potential. Recharging your system can become costly and eventually lead to needing the coil replaced if not addressed early. Scheduling and annual AC tune-up can help prevent leaks and other issues and maintain the operating lifespan of your unit.
"What actions can I take to help prevent my coil from leaking?"
Preventative maintenance by an professional contractor or opting for a more expensive coated coil are the two main ways to prevent coil leaks. Although, there are other preventative measures homeowners can take without HVAC experience.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the main reason for a number of coil leaks. These chemical compounds join together with oxygen and water to eat away at the copper to create small leaks. These compounds are commonly found in paints, nail polish, pesticides, furniture, cleaning supplies, glue, and many more household appliances. Try to limit the use of these products in your home if possible. If you must these supplies, try opening windows to relieve the airborne contaminants before turning on the AC.
This leads us to the next preventative measure: good airflow. Opening windows intermittently with your AC unit can help reduce the chances of contaminants entering your system. So try turning off the AC on days with a breeze and opt for some natural airflow! Air purifiers and dehumidifier systems can also help clear the air of moisture and bacteria. This simple step can increase the lifespan of your evaporator coil.
Common coils issues and repairs
Some people don't notice their evaporator coil is having issues until it is too late. Here are some common issues that may mean you have a bad evaporator coil:
Your thermostat is set to a cool temperature, but your unit is blowing warm air.
There are hissing noises coming from your indoor air handler.
Your unit continually turns itself off without reaching the set temperature.
Your AC unit won't turn on at all.
The most common repairs reported by our service technicians, that if not handled early can cause coil leaks, are:
Frozen evaporator coils.
Dirty and cluttered evaporator coils.
Dirty air filters.
Although there are industry-wide issues with receiving parts and replacing faulty parts, our company is doing its best to keep our customers happy. If any issues are found, we are there as soon as possible to take a look and make the necessary repairs. While we cannot control lead time and coil leaks, we can control how we respond!
If you live in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia area and would like to find comfort within your home, visit our website or give us a call at 215 - 245 - 3200 to learn more.