3 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Its Evaporator Cleaned

It is recommended that your air conditioning unit be professionally cleaned yearly. However, due to time and money constraints, you may not do this. If you do not do this, certain parts in your unit may get dirty and stop working correctly. Should that happen, you need to have those parts cleaned, oiled or repaired immediately to restore efficiency to your unit. One of the parts that gets dirty easily, and then causes problems, is the evaporator. Here are a few of the signs that your air conditioning unit may be giving you that indicate the evaporator needs to be cleaned. 

The Condenser Unit Turns On and Off Over and Over

When you hear your air conditioner turning off or turning back on again, you are actually hearing the condenser turn on and off. When the condenser is running, air is being sucked into the unit and cooled. When the condenser is not running, that is not happening. 

One of the signs that your evaporator needs to be cleaned is the condenser turning on and off again over and over. The evaporator and condenser work hand-in-hand to cool air and feed it into your home. Unfortunately though, if your evaporator is dirty, it will have a hard time cooling air. The end result is that the evaporator may heat up and become too hot. When this happens, the condenser is signaled and automatically shuts down. As the evaporator cools, the condenser turns back on again. However, it is only a matter of time before it heats back up and the unit shuts off again.

If you notice your air conditioning unit is turning on and off repeatedly, you should call in a professional to determine if your evaporator is the problem. 

Your Air Conditioning Unit is Not Evenly Cooling

There are many reasons why your air conditioning unit may not be evenly cooling. You may have a dirty air filter, you may have leaks in your ventilation system, your unit may need more refrigerant or you may have a dirty evaporator. 

When your air conditioning unit is cooling air, refrigerant is sprayed into the evaporator. This makes this metal part extremely cold. As air passes through it, the air becomes chilled, resulting in the cold air that is blown into your home. However, if the evaporator is covered in residue, the part may not become as cold as it should. The end result is that the air is not as cold as it should be, and thus, the air being blown into your home may not be as cold as it should be. 

When this happens, you may notice your home is not cooling well or that certain rooms in your home are not as cold as other rooms. If you notice this, call in a professional to troubleshoot your unit and determine whether the evaporator is the cause of your air conditioning problems. 

The Air Conditioning Unit is Not Cooling at All

If you have neglected the above signs of a dirty evaporator, and continue to use your air conditioning unit, your unit may suddenly stop cooling all together. Over time, dirt, dust and other outdoor debris builds up in and around the evaporator. Cleaning helps remove this build up. However, if you don't clean it, it will continue to accumulate and eventually it can block the small opening that leads air from the condenser into the evaporator.

If air cannot get from the condenser to the evaporator because of debris that has built up, there will be no air from your unit to cool. If it sounds like your air conditioning unit is turning on, but you don't feel any air being blown into your home, there is a good chance that this is what is occurring.  

If this is happening, stop using your air conditioning unit until you can have it inspected and cleaned. If you continue to use it, you can cause permanent damage to the condenser or evaporator. 

In the majority of newer air conditioning units, the evaporator is housed in the plenum, behind foil-wrapped insulation. Because of its location, it is not easily accessible. If your air conditioning evaporator is showing signs that it needs to be cleaned or repaired, this is a job best left to an air conditioning specialist (go on for additional reading).