Inspecting Air Conditioner Flow And Quality Failures

As an air conditioner ages, its standard air quality can deteriorate. Without regular maintenance beyond standard cleaning (or in many cases, no cleaning at all), the system itself can suffer physical damage and fail to cool (or heat, in some advanced systems) efficiently. Take a look at a few inspection points to find the core problem causing weak airflow or poor quality in your air conditioner.

Evaporator Coil And Distribution Fan Troubleshooting

The evaporator coil is a unique component in many cooling and refrigeration devices. It is one of the most important parts in the air conditioner, since it's responsible for heating up cold liquid at such a high temperature that it evaporates into a fine mist and flows from the system as cool air.

Evaporator coils can burn out, but such failures are either due to long term wear and tear or poor air quality. If the condenser--the device that collects moisture from the air--is pulling in heavily polluted air or if dirt and debris is in the system after the water collects, a dirty film can collect against the evaporator coil.

When poor quality liquid drops onto the evaporator coil, the residue is often left behind on the coil. Over time, the coil can begin to burn and erode, lowering its potential temperature or even breaking the coil in specific weak points due to constant heating and cooling of damaged materials.

If the evaporator coil seems to be brittle or broken in places, consider replacing it. If it looks like the coil can be cleaned, use spray or foam air conditioner evaporator coil cleaning solution, which can be found at any hardware store. Unless specified, you only need to spray the cleaner and wait for around an hour. Some cleaner types require brush removal, but such steps will be listed on the brand's instructions.

Filter Inspection Beyond Basic Cleaning

Air filters are easily cleaned with a brush or vacuum cleaner, but you need to look closer to see the deeper, potential damage.

Through either many years of use without cleaning or with rough cleaning techniques, the mesh of the filter can become stretched or damaged to the point of forming holes. When the gaps of a filter mesh are too wide, debris can get in and damage the system, as well as affect your indoor air quality.

Inspect every inch of the filter for gaps that seem out of order with the rest of the mesh. Look for damage around the border as well, since frame damage can create gaps along the border for debris to get through. Replace the filter if you notice any damage.

Contact an air conditioner parts and units professional like one at for site-specific help with troubleshooting air conditioners.