Do you feel like your home's HVAC system is a bit of a mystery? There are so many components that need to work in unison, which may feel overwhelming to try to understand them all. One part you should know about is the evaporator since it requires occasional cleaning and maintenance that you are able to do by yourself. Here is what you need to know about this important part of your HVAC system.
The Purpose of the Evaporator
The HVAC system evaporator is a single component that helps transfer heat. It works with the unit's condenser by running refrigerant through the system to keep everything running. At its most basic level, know that the evaporator uses refrigerant to absorb heat, and then moves the refrigerant outside your home where it is released. Removing the heat cools the air, which is then forced through the ductwork and into the rooms of your home.
Locating of the Evaporator
You can find the HVAC system evaporator either inside the furnace or within its own compartment on top of it. It's inside a housing unit that is about two feet wide and should have an access panel that allows you to see inside it. The evaporator looks like the letter "A" and is made with metal tubes that are bent to form a coil.
Maintaining the Evaporator
The spaces between the metal tubes are where debris is likely to collect, which is why it needs occasional cleaning. You'll want to remove the debris without damaging the tubes that make up the evaporator, which can be done by using a wire brush or a vacuum.
To clean the evaporator, turn off the unit so that it reaches room temperature. This helps prevent the problem where dust sticks to the HVAC system evaporator due to moisture. Then you can clear off the debris with a brush or vacuum, making sure to scrub off debris that is hard to remove.
Troubleshooting the Evaporator
One common problem with an evaporator is that it can freeze up, which is when frost forms on the evaporator. This makes the part unable to remove the heat from the air. You should turn the HVAC system off and let the frost melt on its own, but it is also a sign that you have a refrigerant leak if the problem repeats. You'll need to have the system professionally inspected by an air conditioning repair contractor, have the leak fixed, and recharge the system with more refrigerant.